Interview with Chad Mead, COO - May 2023


Chad MeadWe are excited to announce that Chad Mead has rejoined Acuative as our new Chief Operating Officer. Chad is an experienced Executive with over 30 years of global, diverse, leadership experience within multiple industries. Chad has chosen to return to Acuative because he feels passionately about Acuative’s mission and we are delighted to have him return as part of our Executive team. Discover more about Chad’s background, influences and plans in a recent Q&A with our marketing team.  

You can connect directly with Chad through LinkedIn here 



Please tell us a little about your background and work history

I am a Midwesterner by birth, although I lived in multiple states as my father was in the construction industry which meant a couple of moves growing up.  I attended Connecticut College and the Ohio State University, majoring in Political Science and Sociology.  I started my career at CompuServe.  At the time everyone joining the company, whether you were a lawyer or an engineer started in customer service.  That approach is what started to establish my view of the customer first mentality.  I eventually ended up leading R&D before the “Worldcom” debacle.  I went to TekSystems and ran their Microsoft consulting practice before eventually working at BankOne (Eventually JPMorgan).  As part of the team that insourced AT&T and IBM I helped create and run the Operations team, eventually integrating the JPMC and BankONe operations teams.  After that I moved into the security team, finally being the head of Global Infrastructure Security.  I was eventually asked to join Cargill as their first CISO, and after a brief time was asked to run Infrastructure and eventually all of IT.  After Cargill I had the first opportunity to join Acuative.  Then I became the CTO, and head of professional services at SuperValu.  After SuperValu I became the Chief Administrative Officer at a Global Produce provider where I was responsible for Food Safety, Real Estate, Construction, IT, Purchasing, EMEA, Legal and Packaging.  After a brief “retirement” I became the global head of Mainframe and Security consulting at Ensono, acquiring and integrating a company to provide modernization capabilities for Mainframe customers.  Now the opportunity came up to return to the Acuative Family and I’m excited to be here.

Who was the biggest influence on your career and why?

That’s hard to pinpoint.  If I had to put a foundational influence it would be my father.  I saw how he ran his business, focusing on quality and the customer.  Since he ran the business he also focused on his people, ensuring they always came first and there was no role that was insignificant.  Everyone’s contribution was valid.  And no job was beneath any other.  He had no issues digging ditches on a construction site if they needed help, or swinging a hammer.  At the end of the day it was about a team.  Those tenets really formed a foundation that has been built on in different ways throughout my career.  I’ve had people ask me in the past who’s “philosophy” do you follow in management style, Jack Welch, etc and I always say “mine”.  Because I think each person has to make their style their own and take pieces from everyone they’ve worked with and for.  There’s no one simple answer for anyone since everyone is different.  But, it all starts, in my opinion, with value your team - always remember to equip, enable and empower them and never forget they are what makes you successful, value your customers – even when they’re mad or unreasonable, appreciate that you have them because they are why you and your company is in business, value yourself – because if you don’t and you forget that you are a human, which are fallable, then you will suffer mentally and physically.  And finally celebrate the wins, whether its yours, your teams or your customers.  Too often we focus on the bad things, the failures.  And the reality is in meetings that’s where we spend the time, when we need to spend more time focusing on why we’re successful when we are, and how to replicate that.

What are some of the key challenges for the IT industry at the moment?

Now more than ever there are three key challenges that the IT industry, and departments within companies face:

  1. Costs – with the rising concerns about the global economy, increasing costs from hardware and software providers, increased labor force pressures, the cost pressures are increasing across every axis of measure within the industry
  2. Agility – It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in end clients for B2C companies, or B2B companies, the ability to respond to market dynamics, offerings, expectations, how we work and others is not slowing down, if anything the pace is increasing.  That means that IT organizations and industries have to change how they operate to be able to be more responsive and faster to adopt and implement change
  3. Risk/Security – With the ever increasing threat, increased spend by hackers and quantity of information that companies possess, there has to be improved security solutions

How can C-suite Executives rise to these challenges?

In many ways its either rise to embrace them or ignore them at peril.  But this comes down, ultimately to being able to lead through change. Leading through change doesn’t always mean spending more money.  IN some cases it may, but it doesn’t always.  The biggest thing is to be visible, standup and be at the forefront and prioritize the efforts to address.

What plans do you have for Acuative for the rest of the year?

In many ways the plans are to capitalize on the strengths of our team members.  We have incredibly talented, hard working and passionate members across every part of the organization that serve our customers every day and night.  The focus will be “honing” the edge that we have and making us better by looking at how best to leverage the teams skills and talents.  That will also mean working on improving throughput in key areas like innovation, process, tools and technology.  Identifying ways to be more efficient in how we do things, not what we do.