How I Got Here: Colin Hendricks Chief Technical Officer Rome Corp.
By ELIZABETH GARONE
Special to THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
For many executives, "arriving" involves years of planning and calculated moves. But not for Colin Hendricks. He embraced the "change your mind" approach from the very beginning and says he has "stuck" to it ever since. "There was no plan," Mr. Hendricks says. "Having one would have taken all of the surprise out of my life." That unconventional approach has taken him from an early start in mechanical engineering to a Master's degree in journalism and finally to his current position as Chief Technical Officer of Rome Corporation, a Houston-based financial software company. Elizabeth Garone spoke to Mr. Hendricks about the twist and turns in his career. Edited excerpts follow.
Full name: Colin A. Hendricks
Q: As Chief Technical Officer, what are your responsibilities?
A: I set the technical direction for our software company and lead our software development team.
Q: How did you go from mechanical engineering as an undergrad to journalism as a grad student and then make the leap to financial software?
A: I chose to study engineering because I like building things, but I've always had an interest in great stories as well. I pursued journalism in the hopes of combining the two and writing about how things came to be. At the time, I really did consider going and working in journalism as a career. I finally ended up in software because I found that I like doing the building myself rather than writing about others' achievements.
Q: In five years at the Rome Corporation, you have gone from writing code to software architect to Chief Technical Officer. To what do you attribute your success?
A: Luck and perseverance. I was lucky enough to have people around me at all levels of the company who are smart, capable, and willing to help each other. I then helped that luck along by working hard at whatever task was before me regardless of its level of difficulty or glamour.
Q: You mentioned that you never really had a career plan yet you seem to be exactly where you want to be. How did that happen and what's next?
A: Flexibility, optimism, and very little reluctance to change the definition of "where you want to be." I'm sticking to my plan of not having a plan.
Write to Elizabeth Garone at firstname.lastname@example.org