Russ Hester, CTO, Francis Tuttle Technology Center

Rarely do you see an IT leader and an organization as committed to embracing mobile computing as Russ Hester and Francis Tuttle Technology Center.

"Computer mobility is key and critical to our future," says Hester, who has served as chief technology officer at the Oklahoma City-based career training center for seven years. "We spend time here looking at ways to get people [access] to learning content, no matter where they are."

Hester, 49, works with his IT group and the school's faculty to develop three to four pilot programs each year and is currently evaluating e-readers, smartphones and mini-laptops. The goal is to adopt new technologies to give students easier access to textbooks, class assignments and curricula.

In one pilot project, nursing students were given older handhelds loaded up with textbooks and reference guides. But replacing those devices with newer ones would have been costly. So students are now allowed to use their own devices and load them with textbooks purchased at a discount, says Renee Lewis, director of the practical nursing program.

Lewis credits Hester with the idea. "The students absolutely loved it," she says. "They didn't need a heavy backpack and could consult a medical reference at the bedside or the nursing station in the hall."

Hester, who heads a staff of 27 IT employees, is preparing the school for the day when everyone will have a mobile computing device.

"Why do I have to buy desktops?" he says. "Let them learn with their [own] technology."

Return to the full list of 2010 honorees


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon