Behind the Screen of Piedmont Advantage Credit Union’s IT Department

If Piedmont Advantage Credit Union’s IT department resembled most IT departments, there’s usually no public limelight or gravitas. 

“In our view, this needs to change,” said Piedmont Advantage’s President & CEO Dion Williams, however. “If it weren’t for our IT team, as a credit union, we would be unable to achieve that needed balance of modern and traditional banking experiences our members expect and the market demands.” 

Williams went a step further and pointed out that “I” in IT is “information.”

“Information rules everything we do. No decision is made, and very little purposeful action is taken, without information to guide us. The chief caretaker of information in our organization is Senior Vice President Robert Payne, who develops and manages the plan for how information is accumulated, organized, stored, transacted, and analyzed.”

This “Behind the Screen” article is intended to shine a much- deserved spotlight on the area’s IT departments, using the financial industry as an example of the significant role this department’s leader and team plays in the credit union’s success to deliver exceptional service and relevancy in the marketplace.

Humbled by Williams’ comments, Payne and his team of four prefer flying under the radar. Knowing that they contribute to the success of the credit union and their colleagues’ ability to deliver exceptional service is rewarding in itself. 

“It’s a given if you’re in IT, you have the technical knowledge to do the job. But having this knowledge isn’t enough anymore. You need to be, above all else, a good listener and problem-solver. As a team, we strive to deliver on this each and every day,” Payne said.

Payne emphasized, as Williams alluded to in the introduction, that IT is more than technology. It’s about how technology affects people. “In reality, we’re in a unique position to implement technology strategies that make people’s lives easier,” he said. 

Network Administrator Jack Larkins agreed. “I really enjoy taking an idea and figuring out how best to automate it so that it improves productivity and overall effectiveness of others in our workplace.”

When Payne had to step away from the interview briefly, his team praised his leadership and management style. They all agreed he has a proactive mindset. He has the ability to foresee problems before they actually arise, which is a necessity in the financial industry, where regulation and security are more intense concerns than in most other industries.

For example, years before the pandemic, Payne had formidable remote management capabilities in place. The IT department diagnosed, configured, troubleshot and updated PCs, as well as installed new software remotely on a regular basis. Not only did this remote infrastructure improve IT system management and help reduce IT support costs, but it also minimized corporate-wide downtime. Scaling these remote management capabilities across the credit union in a secure manner so that employees could work from home was efficient and relatively easy and quick to do.

The team also mentioned that Payne is a good listener within the team. “He knows our strengths and gives us opportunities to use our strengths to grow professionally,” said IT Technician Tony Dyer.

According to Network Administrator Garrett LaRue, he loves what he does, because every day is different and being a life-long learner is essential. Agreeing with LaRue, IT Technician Anthony Rodgers added, “I’m fortunate to work with a talented group of people, each of whom brings a different level of expertise and skill to the conversation.”

The moral of this article, as Piedmont Advantage’s IT team demonstrated, is that today’s IT departments don’t merely focus on technology. They have leaders who are versatile, sensitive and strategic, enabling organizations to be more creative and responsive. As new issues come to light, valued leaders of IT teams, as with Piedmont Advantage, put forth more creative solutions to get ahead of where the technology needs to go. They solve problems that the organization may not even know they have.

Piedmont Advantage seeks caring, highly motivated individuals who want simply to serve. Go to PACU.com/Career to view current job vacancies.

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