Don Imholz Senior Vice President and CIO
Centene Corporation
B.S.B.A.

Don Imholz has over 30 years of experience in information technology (IT), the majority at the executive level. He has also worked outside of IT with executive positions in finance, manufacturing, and supplier management among others.

Don Imholz has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the Centene Corporation since September 2008. His current focus is on implementing several major strategic information system projects and extending the use of the Internet to support Centene's growth.

From January 2008 to September 2008, Imholz was an independent consultant working for clients across a variety of industries. From January 1975 to January 2008, Imholz was with the Boeing Company and served as Vice President of Information Technology from 2002 to January 2008. Assignments during that period included being Chief Information Office for all of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. At the time of his retirement from Boeing, Imholz was responsible for all application development and support worldwide.

Don Imholz holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, and was recently honored with the UMSL College of Business Administration Distinguished Alumni Award. He also holds a master's degree in information systems management and an executive master's degree in business administration, both from Washington University in St. Louis. He has also attended executive training at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

Don Imholz is currently on the Information Systems Advisory Board for the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He is also on the board and is past chairman of the board of directors for the Center for the Application of Information Technology, and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Masters of Information Management Program for Washington University. He taught extensively as part of the adjunct faculty at Webster University and developed its information systems curriculum. Imholz has also been keynote speaker at the Business Analyst Symposium Series and for a variety of other organizations. Imholz is also on the board of directors for the Family Resource Center, a non-profit organization providing a broad range of social services in the St. Louis area.

We sat down with Don and asked him some questions.
  • Why did you decide to come to UM-St. Louis?
           In a word, value. As I was putting myself through school, I wanted a quality education at a price I could afford. UMSL provided that. It was near where I lived, had the courses I was interested in, and all the activities I wanted.
  • Why did you pursue a career in information systems?
           I was looking for, and found, opportunities to solve problems. I grew up enjoying math and was briefly a math major. I found out that what I liked about math wasn't the theory, but the joy of solving tough problems. Information Systems is all about applying technology to tough, complex business problems.
  • What college classes did you find most useful to your career?
           The most useful classes were actually general business courses such as macroeconomics, business strategy, and managerial accounting.
  • If you were in college today, what courses would you take?
           I probably would take similar ones to those I took years ago, starting with general studies, plenty of business courses, and then as many courses I could in my major.
  • How did you continue your education after your first degree?
           Within a year of graduation as an undergraduate I entered the Masters of Information Systems program at Washington University, receiving that degree two years later. Then, at mid point of my career I was sponsored by my company in the Executive Masters of Business Administration, also at Washington University. This continued education was very valuable.
  • How did you find your first job?
           I was lucky to be part of a cooperative education program at McDonnell Douglas during college. And I worked part-time for a couple other companies while I went to college. So when I graduated I was fortunate enough to get three offers. I chose McDonnell Douglas as the work was interesting and the opportunity for more education and training the best.
  • In what non-academic activities did you participate in college that you would recommend to others (and why)?
           Since I worked extensively I was not as involved in activities as I would have liked. But I did play intramural sports and was part of a couple clubs.
  • How would you change your career if you had it to do all over again?
           I'm not sure I would change anything. If I had to pick one it would be to focus on relationships and building people skills earlier than I did.
  • What advice would you give to someone just starting in the field?
           Never stop learning, have fun, and be patient with others. Learning is not only continued education but reading -- about technology advances, business, and the company and industry where you work or are interested in working.
  • Look into your crystal ball. What do you see changing in the IS field in the future?
           Technology advancement and specialization will continue. The next generation of the internet will mean that most data storage will be on in the cloud, and PCs will sport I-Phone like interfaces or better. The critical skills within non-IT companies will be around understanding and improving processes and working with a mix of suppliers to get a solution. Today we are seeing federated data and software, we may see that happen to IT organizations with more of the experts in other functional areas. We're just beginning to see the future with social network applications and mashups.
  • If you would like to ask Don a question, you can email him at dimholz at centene.com.