In high school, Dean Henry was fairly certain he wanted to work in the business field, possibly accounting. Through rotations at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia as a work-study student and classes at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he found an area that intrigued him: the intersection of business and technology. That intersection eventually led him to Vanguard, where he is an IT Security Office Project Manager, and to his being honored by La Salle University with its Information Technology Leadership Award.
“Dean’s career includes disaster recovery planning and information security for many different industries, including finance, insurance, aerospace, and health care. This background enables him to provide sound IT leadership for developing and maintaining the security initiatives at Vanguard,” said Margaret McCoey, assistant professor of computer science at La Salle and Director of La Salle’s Master’s programs in Information Technology Leadership and Computer Information Sciences.
Henry, who received an MBA from La Salle in 1986, described his current work at Vanguard as “Chief of Staff” for the IT Security Office, said he completes duties as assigned.
After 12 years as a Principal at Vanguard with department head responsibilities for several IT departments, Henry requested a change in role in anticipation of increased care of his aging parents. Vanguard allowed him to tailor his role, which includes supporting IT security budgeting planning for 2013, facilitating security vendor visits and presentations for some of Vanguard’s strategic vendors, and providing project management office support for the IT Security Office.
“As the rate of technological change increases, so do the risks associated with that technology change,” Henry said. “Dependency on personal and company-issued mobile devices and ‘advanced persistent threats’ are just two of the current trends that are challenging the field to step up. We are so dependent on technology, that any disruption to that highly available and reliable technology can become a big deal real fast. ‘Bad actors,’ such as hacktivists, organized crime, nation-state sponsored adversaries, realize this, and companies, universities, governmental agencies, etc., are increasingly under attack.
“I’m reading everyday about some sort of attack or privacy breach and also about calls for increased communication and cooperation among all stakeholders to prepare for this new world. This will require that many more students learn about computer technology in general, and information security in particular, and that security education and awareness be readily available for everybody.”
Henry said a classroom exercise at La Salle showed him just how fast the intersection of business and technology was taking place–and sometimes one facet was travelling faster than the other.
Henry took a Financial Management class at La Salle in 1986, in which the professor said, “You can crunch the numbers by hand every week for ‘The Finance Game’ and get one shot at seeing results, or you can spend the time up front programming a spreadsheet once and just enter your decisions to see their effect on the bottom line as many times as you want. You choose.” That comment, Henry said, forced him to learn how to use spreadsheets early on, and when it was a relatively new tool at work.
“I like technology that makes me much more productive, so I like gadgets and electronics,” he said. “For example, the ability to retrieve information at a moment’s notice on any topic, right from my smart phone, or connect via video call with someone in another part of the world, is so neat. I went to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last year for the first time and was like a kid in a candy store. From a business standpoint, big companies get more productive by leveraging technology and, I would contend, can’t survive long without leveraging it well.”