Lucas Kuhlmann
Chief Technology Officer
ACT

Chief Technology/Information/Security Officer of the Year

Nominated by Julie Divoky, Senior Program Manager

 

The work of Lucas Kuhlmann, chief technology officer at ACT, is a testament to the important role that information technology can play in transforming an organization.

As one of the world’s largest assessment organizations, ACT has had to move quickly as the world of higher education and the ways it interacts with students has undergone sweeping changes.

As Mr. Kuhlmann was arriving at ACT five years ago, the educational assessment nonprofit was beginning a transformation that was dependent on improving its technological capabilities. Many of the organization’s goals have been accomplished during Mr. Kuhlmann’s three and a half years as ACT’s chief technology officer by leveraging and migrating to modern technologies and solutions.

Mr. Kuhlmann has played a key role in the transformation of ACT’s Enterprise Information System and has helped ACT make its internal and external applications and services more nimble, flexible and capable of responding to market changes. His efforts included leadership in a data migration from provider hosting to managed Amazon Web Services. The change caused trepidation because of the issues and delays that had arisen in the earlier change to provider hosting. However, the move was done with such transparency that expectations were clear throughout the project and it was completed in only four months.

The goals have been achieved while lowering ACT’s overall costs and increasing the organization’s investment in its people. One of the biggest challenges of the process has been enabling team members with the skills needed for success in new technologies, a new agile way of working, and in ACT’s business processes.

“While the technology transition has been impressive, I’m most pleased by the growth of our team members,” Mr. Kuhlmann told the CBJ. “They are what makes it all possible.”

In fact, Mr. Kuhlmann said it is his fellow team members who are his biggest inspiration in his current role.

“We’re all in it together and if you have a great team – which I do – it’s easy to get excited about what you’re doing,” Mr. Kuhlmann said. “I have a real passion for ACT’s mission. What we do impacts people’s lives and I want my team to do the absolute best we can to support them in their life-long journey.”

To others who might consider his career path, Mr. Kuhlmann has simple advice.

“Continue to be curious and always be learning,” Mr. Kuhlmann said. “In technology, it’s easy to be presented with something new – whether it’s a new language, a new platform, a new service, etc. It can be hard to keep up sometimes, but that’s also what makes it so exciting.”

– Dave DeWitte