A 50-year veteran of the IT workforce, Fernando Gonzalez brings a plethora of experience to his position as CIO at Byer California. Though he started out sorting IBM 5081 cards at night after school, Gonzalez, 66, remains focused on the future and the technology he needs to move his company forward.
To do that, he and his IT staff of 25 develop ideas alongside business teams so they can determine what tools can make an impact in both driving the clothing company's growth and saving money.
"He has a good business knowledge and a good understanding of the technology and where it is going to go, so he can see what's going to happen," says Karan Yaramada, who, as president and CEO of IT services firm Jade Global, has worked with Gonzalez.
He says Gonzalez's ability to run a very lean yet effective and innovative IT shop is impressive.
During his tenure, Gonzalez modernized Byer's ERP system, customizing it to handle the company's processes. He also virtualized servers and implemented a high-definition videoconferencing system that lets users zoom in on product details.
Gonzalez says the IT group's insight into the business is critical, especially now as Byer plans to expand. The family-owned San Francisco-based company designs and manufacturers girls' and women's clothing for retailers but is planning to open its own stores and an e-commerce site.