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100 Best Places to Work in IT 2007

A sense of commitment, and connection, keeps IT staffers at these top companies jazzed up about work.

By Mary Brandel
June 18, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - In 2004, when Ed Martinez became CIO at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, Fla., the facility's IT staff was struggling with morale. The institute had grown rapidly since it opened in 1986, but within IT, that phenomenal growth was causing problems. The group had seen three CIOs come and go within the same number of years. Half of the 100 staffers didn't know the other half, and roles were as ill-defined as the mission of the group itself. "There was an overall spirit of 'Do the work; get the check,'" Martinez says.

As with any turnaround, Martinez found himself making some unpopular decisions, including layoffs and title changes. But in the past two and a half years, he has also expanded the staff, promoted some people, increased some salaries by $5,000 to $20,000, broken down the wall between the hospital and research IT groups, and sponsored events to build camaraderie, including off-site retreats and social events. He was also able to add professional development opportunities and work/life benefits such as flexible schedules and elderly care, thanks to Moffitt's overall drive to become an employer of choice in the Tampa region.

But the biggest change  and one that helped propel the organization to the No. 68 spot on Computerworld's 100 Best Places to Work in IT list  was the effort made to link the IT group for the first time to the organization's mission, which is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. This was vastly aided by Moffitt's launch of an ambitious program to build a data repository that integrates genetic information with clinical records, with the goal of someday creating personalized cancer treatments.

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute IT employees
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute IT employees (from left) Fausto Gonzalez, Julius Miyawa, Veronica Cruz, Zachariah Johnson and Ed Martinez.
"One of our mottos is, 'This is the place where we're going to cure cancer,'" Martinez says, "and if we don't have the right people working for us, we won't get there."

Today, his staffers seem to feel the same way. "The technology I provide touches every patient every day," says Zachariah Johnson, manager of IT clinical systems at Moffitt. And he should know, thanks to time spent shadowing doctors, meeting with physicians, nurses, pharmacy personnel and patient advisory groups, and even visiting patients at their bedsides.

"It's fun to open a box with a new computer in it and see what it can do. But that gets old real quick," Johnson says. "It's much more satisfying to know hundreds of patients a day can have a more pleasant experience because of something you did."

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