IDEXX CIO Ken Grady on Nontraditional Career Paths
Excerpt from Sync Magazine — June 2016
Ken Grady has always been an animal lover. You can find him traveling across the country to visit farmers and their cows and chickens, or with veterinarians and the puppies, cats, guinea pigs, and all sorts of beloved pets in their care. But while his work involves caring for animals of all shapes and sizes, Grady isn’t a farmer or a vet himself. His business is information technology. Still, Grady’s work is in bettering the lives of animals—and humans—every day.
As VP and CIO for IDEXX Laboratories, Grady helps develop diagnostic software and technology products for veterinary care for our furry and not-so-furry friends across the globe. But Grady isn’t your ordinary CIO; his interest in animals ensures he’s on the front lines, shaking the hands of veterinarians, vet techs, and farmers his company’s products help. Whenever he is traveling, this CIO rides along with his field reps to see, hear, and learn from vet clinics—which range from small one-veterinarian operations to large, multiclinic practices—about how he can put better tools in the hands of the people who need them…
Ken Grady has been actively involved in efforts to establish paths to technology careers for communities who don’t usually end up there—specifically for US veterans. When Grady first started at IDEXX, he got involved in a partnership program called Project>Login, which joins together efforts from the Maine university system and numerous companies to help light the way along this career path. Because of his involvement, Grady found himself invited to the White House as part of the federal government’s recognition of the state in its efforts to provide support, training programs, and awareness efforts under Project>Login.
It’s a cause that’s close to his heart, as Grady himself served as an active duty translator in the US Army for five years before finding his own way into a career in IT, working the night shift as a systems administrator.
“Someone took a chance on me and my ‘nontraditional’ path then, and I threw myself into it, learning everything I could from the role,” Grady says. “I’ve worked with Nobel Prize winners and startup technology entrepreneurs who are changing the world we live in. And I learned that capability and innovation doesn’t just emerge from the academic halls.”..