Sidebar: Roots

RSI founder and President Kathy Brittain White is no stranger to the community of big-company CIOs. That's perhaps the biggest reason why Mattel CIO Joe Eckroth was willing to take a chance on White's new rural IT services venture.

"Kathy is a smart businesswoman, and she has put a tremendous amount of passion behind rural sourcing. As a former CIO, she also has been there, done that, so she gets it. She knows what it's going to take," he says.

White says she has had no problem attracting skilled and experienced technology professionals to RSI's comparatively remote rural locations. "When we ran our first ad, we got over 100 resumes in a week from people in 20 different states and Australia, and they all had ties to Arkansas," she says.

As RSI grows from its current base of 50 employees to hundreds in several locations, White plans to establish business process centers of excellence in certain locations. The Jonesboro, Ark., site, for example, will specialize in IT related to supply chain activities "because I have people here who worked at Wal-Mart," she notes.

White's approach is a practical blend of idealism and realism. "We need to be profitable to be able to expand," she says. "But I'm not in this to do an IPO. My goal is to be in many locations and be a catalyst for economic development in many rural areas, and hopefully, to change people's lives."

RSI founder and President Kathy Brittain White
RSI founder and President Kathy Brittain White

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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