Video profiles: Tech leaders on and off the clock

In this occasional series of video portraits, Computerworld explores how top tech leaders offset the demands of the office with a rich and varied personal life. Enjoy this profile of Accuride CIO Paul Wright on his farm, and check back soon as we add footage with other top tech leaders.

Paul Wright, Accuride

Paul Wright, a 2016 Premier 100 Technology Leader, has always liked to make things. His father and grandfather both had careers in manufacturing, and back in his college years, Wright had an internship at a steel mill. It's a passion that's reflected in his home life, where he tends chickens and collects sap for maple syrup. And it's also evident in the work he chose, diving headfirst into a challenging career in information technology.

Wright is vice president of IT and CIO at Accuride Corp., a global supplier of wheels and wheel components to the commercial vehicle industry. The company is based in Evansville, Ind., with locations in North America and recently expanding into Europe.

As Wright describes it, Accuride is in the business of transforming raw materials into the car parts people can see rolling by them on the road every day. "Being able to say, ‘Yeah, I made that.' That's cool," he says.

A recent implementation of a cloud ERP system, known as Plex, eliminated seven ERP systems across the organization and created one common standard. The system has also driven an upgrade to networking and infrastructure to a standard that communicates effectively with the cloud.

"When you're moving to the cloud as an organization, you have to change your mindset, you have to understand that people are going to want to access data wherever they are in the world, whenever the time," says Wright. "So we've had to build really robust systems that allow for that. Now we've got real-time manufacturing data that people can see wherever they are."

"When you have facilities that are running 24/7 around the world, then you're always available for [the business]. Both the IT side and the business side are important for a successful project. And I think we've done that."

Building things and making systems work -- it's the right mix of career challenges for this IT leader.

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