A Way to Unwind

SAS's Russ Cary enjoys the perks of overseas travel and a swanky fitness facility.

When Russ Cary, a senior IT manager at SAS Institute Inc., joined the Cary, N.C.-based software maker 24 years ago, there were 250 employees, and everyone knew one another by name. Now there are 10,000 workers at SAS in 522 offices around the world, and things are a bit different.

But the part that hasnt changed is the challenge, says Cary, 48, who started at SAS as a data center operator while studying computer science at North Carolina State University. Im a technology geek, and I love a challenge, whether its debugging something or new work. SAS managers keep track of my boredom scale, and they have always done well at finding new things for me to do.

Russ Cary

Russ CaryIt seems unlikely that Cary will suffer from boredom anytime soon. Heres what he and his staff of 27 oversee: wide-area networking worldwide; support for IT at overseas offices; global multimedia technologies; telecommunications worldwide, including VoIP; support for IT at research and development centers in China and India; and worldwide remote access to SAS.

Best Places for Benefits

1. H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

2. SAS Institute Inc.

3. PricewaterhouseCoopers

4. University of Pennsylvania

5. Comerica Bank

6. Quicken Loans Inc.

7. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.

8. Sharp Health Care

9. General Mills Inc.

10. Aflac Inc.

To determine this top 10 list, we considered the following factors: A range of benefits, including sabbaticals, health and vision benefits (percentage paid for by the company) and long-term care.

Cary acknowledges that all these responsibilities bring considerable stress to the job. But, he says, SAS does a good job of trying to cope with the stress by offering benefits like the gym, the day care center, the on-site health care and the freedom of flex hours. His staff has round-the-clock responsibility for global communications on a rotating basis and receives supplemental pay for being on call, Cary says. And he says he enjoys a great deal of freedom. I have a pretty autonomous ability to do my job, to set the budget and choose the technology, Cary notes. Theres the freedom to explore, the freedom to be creative.

SAS has had an international presence for years but has recently beefed up its overseas activities, Cary says. Just back from a month in India, he says he likes traveling abroad and enjoys supporting SAS activities outside the U.S.

Its appealing to be able to work with new technology, and now we have the opportunity to do it globally, he explains. How do you communicate globally? How do you solve performance issues globally? Its introduced a whole new world into the IT organization and kind of rejuvenated it. Its a lot of work and a lot of stress, but we feed off of that.

Asked what he likes best about working at SAS, Cary says, Its the total package the mentality of the company, the challenge of the work, the flexibility of the job.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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