Get to Know: Mike Martin, CEO, CAI 

Get to Know: Mike Martin, CEO, CAI 

On the lighter side of things, we ask Mike Martin, CEO, CAI, what makes him tick.

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

I had the opportunity to move my family to Puerto Rico (twice), China and Ireland as a part of my career assignments. These opportunities provided some of the most challenging, but also most rewarding experiences.

For instance, I led the team that constructed and started a manufacturing plant in China that held a safety performance record with over five million hours without serious injury. I led a site engineering leadership team for an insulin manufacturing facility in Puerto Rico and supported and led many other operations and projects across the US and in Ireland.

These experiences helped shape who I am as a professional and how I approach leadership in a non-native country. No matter the place, everyone has similar experiences, problems and dreams. I prioritise cultural integration and localisation. It’s not about coming in and taking over, but instead being humble in your approach to helping.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

Technology as a whole is a fast-growing industry – changing the world we live in constantly. It’s also a very exciting career path, brimming with opportunities for growth – and for me, it has been a fascinating and fulfilling one. I chose a career that I felt would help people and improve human experiences. For these reasons, I pursued a career in this field and have not looked back since.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

The understanding that people are important was instilled in me early on and is still at the core of my focus today. I live and lead in a manner that displays respect and understanding and I aim to amplify the best in people.

Consider Stephen Covey’s Habit #5 in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is ‘Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.’ This habit strikes at influencing others by developing a deep understanding of their needs and perspectives first.

Humans have a lot of commonalities – we’re basically the same, and where we differ adds value and diversity of thoughts and ideas. By first knowing more about the people you work with, you can inspire them to achieve by having fun while you’re doing something hard.

Encouraging people to stretch, to reach and to aim high for their goals is deeply connected to my own personal brand belief.

What do you think has emerged as the technology trend of 2022 and why?

There’s no doubt that technological connection is more in demand than ever, fueled by global cloud adoption and a rise in data consumption. Data centres are shouldering the burden of this growing demand.

The world needs more data management systems ranging from simple meeting solutions to complex computational solutions with cloud servers and CAI has a special responsibility to protect the world’s information.

The data centre industry has done much to ‘design-in’ excellent levels of availability and uptime and, provided the design intent is achieved, those facilities should operate quite seamlessly.

However, don’t forget the impact of humans, as history will tell us that human error can bring a system to its knees. In this regard, it’s critical that the industry embraces operational readiness and operational excellence to enable the successful delivery and operation of the forecasted data centre growth projections for the next five years.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

CAI is committed to helping people and improving the human experience. At the heart of this is our focus on the life sciences, particularly the pharmaceutical industry. Bringing vaccines and other therapeutics to the world as well as cell and gene therapies that will revolutionise hard-to-treat diseases and deliver individualised pharmaceutical treatments is the mission of our clients – and we serve them relentlessly. Improving the human experience is at the core of our playbook.

We are also committed to our people. CAI is a global company with a very diverse workforce. We work in the spaces (offices and factories) of other companies as we serve them, so we find ourselves in many diverse places and among many diverse people. In addition, CAI is built on relationships. We serve people and the intellectual talent of our employees is our value proposition.

Our service has to be built on trusted relationships. Trust is established by knowing who we’re serving, them knowing us deeply, and then providing a high-level performance. As such, we must possess the power to integrate ourselves and our talent into varying corporate cultures and geographies and the ability to quickly adapt.

Imagine how quickly an experience with a client could deteriorate if the key learnings above aren’t applied well. And imagine how quickly an experience with a client could blossom if our global learnings are applied.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside of the office?

Family and the land. My wife and I have a house in the country on some land and I enjoy the chance to get outside with my dog and spend time in the woods.

What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in Europe?

It’s always important to remember Europe is a great collection of cultures and history. Having a location-specific approach to technology design and implementation will often signal the difference between success and failure.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry? Take risks and be present in sensing and responding to what’s going on in the market. Be bold and don’t shy away from launching into new places but be aware that once your company’s presence is larger, no one person can do it all. You can’t apply large company rules to a medium-size company – and vice versa. Spread out decision-making to the right people at the right time. This is crucial. Ask for input, listen and make decisions based on the collective input.

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