Paul J. Major

Building customer loyalty through tech-enabled convenience on the cutting edge

The season's first runs at Aspen's Snowmass or Buttermilk ski areas are something to be savored. So even though the mountains are at his feet, Paul J. Major, 49, managing director of IT at Aspen Skiing Co. and an avid skier, won't hit the slopes until he's sure that his team has done everything it can to create a flawless experience for guests.

The time people spend at Aspen's resorts is made both convenient and seamless thanks in part to an IT-led RFID system that lets visitors with season passes or daily lift tickets use a single card to access lifts and pay for food, lessons, rentals and retail goods. In fact, Aspen Skiing, which boasts four hotels and four ski areas, plus dozens of restaurants, shops and rental operations, is the largest ski resort in North America to be 100% RFID-enabled. Major led that effort, which started at the turnstiles and then expanded to point-of-sale systems.

"Guests simply walk through a turnstile to gain access while their RFID card remains in their pocket," says Major. They appreciate the reduced wait times on the slopes and the ease of renting skis or buying a burger, he adds. The next phase will tie the ski school enrollment and instructor scheduling systems into the RFID setup.

Major's supervisor, Chief Financial Officer Matt Jones, says he's not sure the RFID project would have worked with anyone else at the helm. "Paul is an interesting and rare amalgam of tech savvy meets great communicator. People listen to him and trust him," says Jones.

Major's plate is full with upcoming projects: a $2 million energy-efficient data center that's coming online in the spring, and new mobile and Web apps. Here's hoping he finds time to do a little skiing, too.

Next: Return to the full list of 2011 honorees

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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