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Debbie Erickson

Debbie Erickson Vice President of Information Services and CIO
Metro St. Louis
MBA with an emphasis in MIS, 1981

Debbie Erickson, vice president and chief information officer of St. Louis-based Metro. She reports to Metro Chief Executive Officer Larry Salci. Erickson joined Metro after serving as a senior information technology executive at both Peabody Energy, Inc., and Ameren Corporation, Missouri's largest electric utility company, where for more than a decade she served as head of applications development in Information Technology.

Her experience also includes a stint in management consulting for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Erickson holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Lindenwood University (1978) and an MBA from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A native of Columbia, Mo., Erickson resides with her husband, Tim, and children Holly and Adam in Frontenac, Mo.

We sat down with Debbie and asked her some questions.
  • Why did you decide to come to UMSL?
           UMSL offered the classes I wanted at an affordable price.
  • Why did you pursue a career in information systems?
           Information systems offers a unique blend of creative thought and structured practices that appealed to me. The programming jobs I started out in were intellectually challenging and the work has continued to be challenging throughout my 27 year career.
  • What college classes did you find most useful to your career?
           Everything in the MBA curriculum has proved useful at one point or another. The Programming, Design, and Database classes were valuable immediately, but within a few years, I was extensively using the Accounting, Finance, and Operations Research information too.
  • If you were in college today, what courses would you take?
           If I were starting out again today, I'd take the same path I took before - splitting my emphasis between Accounting and IS. I wouldn't be taking FORTRAN or COBOL though - and I would definitely take more Database design.
  • How did you continue your education after your first degree?
           The corporations I've worked for have invested a lot of money in training me. I've had training in programming languages, design, telecommunications, project management, supervision, leadership, and so many courses that I can't even remember them all.
  • How did you find your first job?
           I interviewed on campus with multiple companies and had several offers before I graduated. I've often wondered how my life would be different, if I had taken a different first step.
  • In what non-academic activities did you participate in college that you would recommend to others (and why)?
           I didn't participate in non-academic activities and I wish I had. There's so much available to not only further your education, but just to have fun. My recommendation is to immerse yourself in the college experience - you just don't get another chance to do this.
  • How would you change your career if you had it to do all over again?
           I wouldn't change a single thing. Every experience I've had has been valuable - even the ones that weren't too fun. There's really no point in wasting time on "woulda, coulda, shoulda."
  • What advice would you give to someone just starting in the field?
           The people that are the best in this field are the ones that have started out at the bottom - programming, developing systems as one of a team - and worked their way up. So my advice would be to get a good solid education in IS, find a programming job or get your hands dirty building workstations and setting up networks.
  • Look into your crystal ball. What do you see changing in the IS field in the future?
           IS knowledge is moving rapidly out of the IS departments and into the business units. It won't be long before you won't be able to get a job in any area of a business without at least some IS knowledge.
  • If you would like to ask Debbie a question, you can email her at derickson at metrostlouis.org.



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