Chief Officer Awards Finalist James Benton: ‘Realize That There is No Official Blueprint’

James Benton, PAE

Editor’s note: The winner of the Chief Officer Awards Public Company CIO Award announced June 17 is Chris Bjornson of Accenture Federal Services.

On June 17, WashingtonExec will be virtually celebrating the most impactful and innovative C-suite executives in government and industry. These chief officers work in technology, security, data, operations, finance, business and more, excelling on both sides of the government contracting sector. Our team of judges have chosen the finalists for the inaugural Chief Officer Awards, so before we announce the winners during the event, we wanted to get to know the finalists a bit better. This Q&A series highlights their careers, successes, proud professional moments and notable risks.

James Benton is chief information officer of PAE and a finalist in the Public Company CIO Award category.

What has made you successful in your current role?

Collaboration with our organization’s key business leaders enables me to fully understand the needs of our customers, and identify opportunities to leverage the proper technologies to automate manual processes to improve business efficiencies. This has also allowed me to redefine the role of the IT organization to better support the business and identify those technologies better suited to meet their needs.

What are your primary focus areas going forward, and why are those so important to the future of the nation?

Continued data-driven technology transformation and modernization efforts are areas of primary focus. They provide the more predictive, proactive, responsive and agile infrastructure and services needed to continue innovations as the technology landscape changes.

It is extremely important to increase nimbleness and agility to constantly adapt, improve operational efficiency and drive innovation in order to respond quickly to meet the ever-changing needs of the nation. Moving from a reactive to more predictive information and technology services will require changes to what we develop, what we deploy and how we provide these services to our customers. This will ensure we continue to remain relevant by continuing to provide innovative services to our customers that will ensure the nation maintains our military advantage and advance capabilities faster than our adversaries.

What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?

The best career advice is to realize that there is no official blueprint! The CIO journey will vary based on the opportunities you seek and accept; therefore, don’t place limits on yourself. Don’t be afraid to take risks especially when presented with challenging career opportunities; get out of your comfort zone and look for opportunities that will provide both personal and professional growth and you will be amazed at what you are capable of achieving.

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