Stephanie Erwin Dedmon credits a Tennessee Tech education, inspiring professors, and campus and community involvement with preparing her to become Tennessee’s top technology official.
As the chief information officer (CIO) for the State of Tennessee, Dedmon is focused on customer needs and solving problems to help support state agencies in providing services to the citizens of Tennessee through information technology (IT). Dedmon is responsible for all operational areas of the state’s central IT organization, Strategic Technology Solutions (STS). This includes managing the team’s IT service delivery, technical infrastructure development and maintenance, support of the consolidated state network and two state-owned data centers, business application development, customer service management, and the support of a workforce of more than 1,300 IT professionals.
“I am so fortunate to be the CIO for the State of Tennessee,” said Dedmon. “I am blessed to work with a great team, a supportive administration, and with great customers and partners. Two things are most important to me as a CIO. One is to continue building a supportive culture that gives our workforce meaning and reason to love what they do. The second is to foster a relentless focus on our customers (the state agencies) and deliver great customer service in all that we do.”
Dedmon graduated from Tech in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and earned a Master of Business Administration Degree in 1989 from Tech as well.
Dedmon’s professional career began at Accenture (then Andersen Consulting) in Nashville where she served as project manager on many public sector software implementations. After a 15-year career with the company, she joined the State of Tennessee in 2005 to lead the state’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation and in 2012, she became the director of business solutions delivery (BSD) within the Department of Finance and Administration. BSD was created to build a team of experienced senior project directors, project managers, and business analysts to help lead the state’s most complex IT/business solution implementations and improve project delivery success rates. In 2015, Dedmon was named deputy CIO where she was responsible for the Enterprise IT Transformation (EIT) initiative to further build the state’s enterprise IT organization by transitioning more than 800 executive branch department IT employees to STS. In October 2018, Dedmon was named CIO for the State of Tennessee.
“My Tech education and my campus involvement had a huge impact on preparing for my career,” said Dedmon. “The wonderful professors, administrators, and staff taught me to care about others, to work hard, to be a leader, and to be confident. I’ve always felt Tech is somewhat of a hidden gem, often overlooked as a premier university. My education provided me with important skills such as how to think creatively and solve problems, how to write well, how to be a strong presenter, how to work in teams, when to be a leader and when to be a follower, and the importance of helping others.”
Dedmon says some of her favorite professors were Donald Weinrauch, Stuart Wells, Joy Henshall, Jon Booker, and Whewon Cho.
“They were great professors who truly cared about us as students, as future professionals, and as future Tech alumni,” she said. “One of my fondest memories is when Dr. Bob Bell [then dean of the College of Business who later became Tech’s eighth president] gave me a small scholarship for books and told me he would love for me to become an MBA student.”
Dedmon encourages students to participate in clubs and campus or community activities, participate in internships, leverage informal and formal mentors, and ask alumni and professionals for help with networking, resume writing, and preparing for interviews.
“Hiring organizations look for candidates who have excelled in both the classroom and in other activities,” she said.
Additionally, Dedmon says students and alumni with an interest in the cybersecurity field should attend conferences to hear from experts in the industry and to network, take as many cybersecurity classes as possible, and seek advice from professors and Tech alumni who work in the cybersecurity field.
“I love my job, and I also love to brag on how Tennessee Tech helped shape who I am today.”