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S.C.-Based Technology Consortium Names Interim Executive Director and Board

COLUMBIA, S.C., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Consortium for Enterprise Systems Management, a recently formed collaboration of business, academic and economic development organizations intended to build information technology (IT) opportunities, has configured its board and named Lonnie Emard as the interim executive director.

Previously director of staff resource management for information systems at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Emard was instrumental in building the coalition that was launched in a public announcement last month. Emard spent the past 18 months carrying forward a vision originated by Stephen K. Wiggins, executive vice president and chief information officer of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

The coalition was set up by BlueCross, IBM (NYSE: IBM), and the University of South Carolina (USC) as a collaboration to grow IT talent, nurture IT management expertise and cultivate related business and organizational relationships. It now includes 14 member organizations.

"This is a unique collaboration that converges business, academia and economic development to foster growth in education in the Palmetto State and across the nation," said Emard. "I'm honored to be at the helm of a new endeavor that has such a huge potential for success for South Carolina and the Southeast."

Emard's background is diverse and positions him well as the initial choice for this position. While his bachelor's degree is in computer science, his experience leading and managing business and educational organizations will be of value equal to his understanding of the IT industry. His most recent observations of hiring needs and talent development issues faced by IT companies is integral to the direction of the consortium.

Emard will be responsible for the strategic and tactical operations of the consortium. He will have an events coordinator as well as three half-time associate directors from USC responsible for academic programs and curriculum recommendations. He also will be accountable for financial management and Innovista facility planning.

"In the consortium's first year, the most important element of strategy is marketing and promotion," said Emard. To that end, the consortium will look for help from such organizations as New Carolina and Jute Networks.

In addition to Emard's appointment, the consortium's board has been configured. Stephen K. Wiggins is the chairman. Other members are Ravi Ravindra, BlueCross chief technology architect; Dr. Christine Curtis, USC vice provost for faculty development; Dr. Sheryl Kline, USC interim dean of the College of Hospitality, Retail & Sport Management; Andy Bernardin, IBM client director; Mark Anzani, IBM vice president of System z client technical support.

The consortium will address growing IT hiring challenges, such as attracting students to consider technology careers in insurance, banking, retail, airlines, petroleum and other industries dependent on high volume transaction processing. It also will dedicate efforts to directing students to companies that are hiring IT professionals.

The consortium will be housed in Horizon II, to be constructed in the University of South Carolina's Innovista research campus in Columbia, S.C. It will use this facility to house meeting rooms and classrooms for all types of academic preparation in the business of IT, including post graduate training of business and academic professionals as well as activities for secondary school students such as computer camps. It also will host incubator opportunities and space for applied business research. Participating companies and universities, as well as interested students will have opportunities to engage in experiential learning using the data center and business-like environment provided by IBM.

Groups interested in joining may call 877-214-3513 for more information.

SOURCE The Consortium for Enterprise Systems Management
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