Careers: Interviews
Stacey Cerniuk, founder, President and CEO of Annex Consulting Group Inc, Top-Ranking Executive and IT/Business Leader

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., DF/NPA, MVP, CNP has an exclusive interview with Stacey Cerniuk.

Stacey CernuikStacey Cerniuk is the founder, President and CEO of Annex Consulting Group Inc., a project-based IT services company specializing in applications development, project management, network infrastructure and management consulting. Annex is recognized nationally on the PROFIT 100 list of fastest growing companies in Canada, Branham300 list of largest IT companies in Canada, and CDN Top 100 IT solution providers in Canada. Annex is recognized locally in current lists from Business In Vancouver, including the fastest growing companies in BC, fastest growing technology companies in BC, and largest technology companies in BC. Using its resource pool of 3,500 consultants in British Columbia, Annex has completed over 900 IT projects since 1998 with a 97% customer satisfaction rating. Stacey is also a partner in The Annex Learning Centre, the only education company in British Columbia that specializes only in project management training.

Stacey is a member of the Advisory Board for CIPS Vancouver after serving as President and board member for six years. CIPS is the largest IT association in Canada for individual practitioners. Stacey is also a member of the Project Management Institute and the Society of PMPs of Greater Vancouver. He has been a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) since year 2000. Stacey is an advisor to the University of British Columbia's Project Management Certificate Program which recently won the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE) Award of Excellence. Stacey is also an advisor to UBC's Business Analysis Certificate Program. He is a mentor for S.U.C.C.E.S.S., helping new immigrants to Canada find work in the IT industry. Stacey was a Forty Under Forty winner recognizing the top business people in British Columbia under the age of 40.

Stacey has 20 years of IT industry experience as a practicing project manager, business analyst, management consultant and entrepreneur. He often speaks on a variety of topics including project management, starting a technology business, and business development best practices for consultants. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computing Science from Simon Fraser University and a Computer Science diploma from Kwantlen University College. Away from the office, he coaches a select youth soccer team and a championship little league baseball team.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

00:034: Stacey can you tell us more about your "Forty Under Forty" award recognizing the top business people in British Columbia under the age of 40?
"...The award (from Business in Vancouver magazine) recognizes the top 40 business leaders in British Columbia under the age of 40...."

01:30: Please overview Annex Consulting?
"...Most of our work is contract services...(applications development, project management, technology infrastructure, and management consulting).....We staff our projects using the Annex Alliance which is our consortium of about 3500 independent IT and business consultants in BC....We also have a division which does permanent staffing recruitment and this past summer we launched a new business called the Annex Learning Center..."

04:42: Can you describe your major challenges and solutions as President of Annex?
"....Our number one challenge is managing growth....A second challenge is the availability of great consultants.....(enrollment is down, in computer science, across Canada by 40 to 50%)...Challenge three is expansion for Annex...."

11:28: Can you provide a picture of what kinds of skills are in greatest demand and how you see this changing?
"....The number one request we are getting from our customers is for senior business analysts...In general we are seeing strong demand across all areas of IT...I've been in the business for 20 years and this is the busiest I have ever seen the market. I think we will look back on these days as the glory days in IT...."

14:18: What are your key lessons from your projects that you wish to share with IT and business managers?
"....The lesson for IT managers is it is going to become more challenging to retain great people over the next two to three years....
The lesson for (individual) IT practitioners is to remember that their soft skills are just as important as any technical skill they have..."

16:49: What are the 5 most important challenges and solutions for managers in 2008?
"....Recruiting....Retention....Systems integration....Security....Making the work environment fun...."

23:38: The Industry is changing. What advice would you give to IT professionals to stay on top of what is happening in the industry in order to position them and their organization to benefit from these trends?
"....Creating a personal development plan each year....Executing your plan....Networking....Volunteering....Reading about technology and personal development....Consider speaking at industry conference. etc....Writing and contributing articles...."

28:50: What key lessons can you provide taken from your management experience?
"....Attitude is everything....Integrity....Everyone in IT should feel that they are in the relationships business not the IT business....Adding value....Life Balance....Lead by example...."

33:38: Stacey shares three stories from his work.

37:18: Provide your predictions of future IT/Business trends and their implications/opportunities?
"....Trend 1: continuing to do more with less....
Trend 2: customers are becoming more and more sophisticated....
Trend 3: the discipline of business analysis is about to explode in terms of its maturity....
Trend 4: collaboration process and tools will continue to become valuable and mature....
Trend 5: independent consulting will continue to grow in popularity ...."

42:21: Which are your top recommended resources and why?
"....Local business publications.....National business publications.... Trade publications....Industry analyst organizations....Books on living the life of greatness, such as books by Robin Sharma...."

44:06: Can your profile CIPS and your past and current roles within the organization?
"....CIPS is one the the largest IT organizations in Canada for individual practitioners....I joined the board in the Vancouver section in the year 2000 and held various board positions over the years...Now I am a member of the local advisory board for CIPS Vancouver.... "

45:14: What are the values inherent in belonging to this organization?
"....CIPS is doing a great job with formalizing the industry and setting guidelines for professionalism and ethics and making the industry in Canada more standardized...."

46:22: Stacey shares some of his passions.


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