Premier 100 IT Leader: Tom Amrhein

An industry slowdown brings an opportunity to create efficiencies and refine strategy.

In the challenging economic environment that the construction industry faced over the past five years, Tom Amrhein, CIO at Rockville, Md.-based Forrester Construction, put his focus on reducing costs, driving value and seizing opportunities.

"I look for the chance to make a difference. It's really about helping our team to get the jobs done as efficiently as possible," says the 43-year-old executive, who left Forrester Construction on Dec. 31.

Tom Amrhein

To do this, Amrhein says he started using virtual construction technology, moving to the cloud and deploying other business-enabling tools.

Case in point: He deployed custom-built software for the company's estimating group, which provides actual dollar quotes to owners.

Working with the company's founder and the estimating group, the IT staff focused on the functions that could make the team more efficient. Amrhein says he decided to develop the estimating software in-house when he couldn't find any commercial products that would meet Forrester's needs.

Although he can't discuss actual costs, Amrhein says the project will pay for itself within 27 months. By reducing time spent on nonstrategic tasks by 35%, the company is bidding on 10% more projects with the same number of estimators.

Senior IT manager Eric Impraim says such projects show how Amrhein uses IT to drive business growth. "[Amrhein] carefully applies the technology that brings value to the business," says Impraim.

Next: Return to the full list of 2014 honorees

Pratt is a Computerworld contributing writer in Waltham, Mass. You can contact her at

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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