David S. Tufts

Seeking opportunities in the Grand Rapids area as VP or Director of Information Services


I am a driven leader who builds strong teams, invests in individuals, implements bulletproof processes, takes down walls, and enjoys getting things done. I lead teams of highly skilled professionals that are proficient in multiple information technology systems. I have a solid track record of architecting solutions that facilitate user engagement, communication, collaboration, and productivity. I have several years of experience in leading teams in the areas of Internet system’s security/information management, project management, agile processes, web and mobile application development, Internet infrastructure management, APIs and microservices, data and cloud technology operations, and much more.

In my current role as Director of Information Services, my priorities have been in the areas of team leadership, developing and mentoring employees, establishing processes, implementing systems, and defining strategy.

TEAM LEADERSHIP


Leading a global team of over 20 software engineers in the US, UK, Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Co-leading the US Information Services team with over 40 employees alongside the CIO.

  • Fostering a culture of innovation on the Information Service team and throughout the organization by implementing processes and procedures that ensure cross-functional collaboration, a positive team culture, personal development, as well as open and honest communication.
  • Being a change agent in areas that are critical to innovation, by establishing empowered, cross-functional, and diverse teams, and making changes within the organization that ensure that products and services become more user focused in the execution of the organizations mission, vision, and strategic objective.
  • Establishing direction through planning, implementing, and maintaining best practices that align with the organization’s mission, vision, and strategic objectives.
  • Directing key initiatives to support business objectives and requirements including corporate strategic planning in the area of Internet technologies and digital transformation.
  • Involved in the overall direction of the global Information Services team by holding regular meetings, managing conflicts, performing team assessments and evaluations, and keeping the teams well informed of changes throughout the organization.
  • Creating a collaborative work environment for a global team of Software Engineers to work together in a creative, problem solving way.
  • Working closely with senior leadership and with individual team members in communicating the need for important changes by highlighting their benefits, as well as taking actions to minimize the negative impact that change typically introduces in organizations.
  • Providing leadership on projects from inception through to completion in the areas of definition, design, scope, technical objectives, defining deliverables, scheduling, resource allocation, development, and problem solving needs.
  • Establishing a series of employee led cross-functional teams within the IS organization around the topics of team culture, women in tech, Agile/Scrum, DevOps, software documentation, and quality assurance.
  • Effectively communicating relevant information to superiors, resolving and/or escalating issues in a timely fashion, and effectively communicating difficult and/or sensitive information tactfully.

DEVELOPING AND MENTORING EMPLOYEES


Developing a diverse global team of highly skilled software engineers.

  • Involved in hiring, training, retaining, mentoring, establishing career goals and paths, leadership development, having 1-on-1 meetings, conducting annual reviews, facilitating salary negotiation, and delivering corrective action when needed.
  • Taking a personal interest in individual team member’s professional development by encouraging individual team members to find a professional mentor, to set personal goals, to pursue additional skills through training, and to work collaboratively with other teams within the organization in order to effectively execute the organization’s mission and vision. 
  • Ensuring that the IS team has an adequate training budget that will allow for the entire IS team to stay current in their individual areas of expertise.
  • Leading the team in the development of a culture of innovation, collaboration, open and honest communication, and integrity.
  • Mentoring individual team members, through bi-weekly 1-on-1 meetings, in the areas of leadership, collaboration, open and honest communication, and accountability, to be more effective leaders and to have a positive influence within their team, as well as throughout the organization.
  • Developing an ongoing plan with human resources that supports the organization’s growth strategy. 
  • Obtaining the approval to hire the required people for the job, and participating in the hiring of new employees that have the proper skills and that will contribute to the team culture in a positive way.
  • Focusing on hiring a diverse team and on creating a path forward which ensures equal pay regardless of background, gender, or ethnicity.

ESTABLISHING PROCESSES


Establishing autonomous, empowered, cross-functional teams that value collaboration, communication, diversity, healthy conflict, and great team culture by implementing Agile, Scrum, DevOps, Lean Startup principles, and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).

  • Implemented Agile/Scrum methodologies on the IS team to increase efficiencies and reduce time-to-market of all software development initiatives.
  • Established DevOps to enable easier and more efficient deployment of software to production, including principles such as containerization, automatic deployments, unit testing, continuous integration (CI), and feature toggling.
  • Embraced the Lean Startup principle of “Fail Fast, Fail Forward” by embracing the idea of releasing Minimal Viable Products (MVP), or Minimal Lovable Products (MLP) to market to measure user engagement through data analytics. Thus, allowing for data driven decisions that lead to product and service improvements through continuous improvement and iteration, or by pivoting to a solution that resonates better with users/customers.
  • Championed the implementation of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) for the entire organization. Which has brought organizational alignment, focused decision making, and executive prioritization to projects that are being executed by cross-functional teams.

IMPLEMENTING SYSTEMS


Implementing robust, secure, and scalable systems to support the organization’s strategic goals.

  • Staying current with developing trends and techniques related to information technology and software engineering by attending conferences, conducting research and analysis, and through thorough evaluation of cutting edge Internet technologies.
  • Leading in the implementation of AWS, APIs, microservices, cloud computing, Cognito, Serverless, Lambda, React.js, etc.

DEFINING STRATEGY


Defining a technology strategy for the near future, as well as a 2 to 5 year plan for team growth.

  • Collaborating with organizational leadership in the development of long term strategies for system architecture, system infrastructure, web marketing, digital content distribution, monetization, and online membership acquisition.
  • Designing a state-of-the-art Internet infrastructure that facilitates doing business in a world of big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), user privacy, and data security.
  • Working with outside consultants on ways to improve our internal agile processes and information systems.
  • Working to create inspiring spaces for teams to collaborate in.