Herman Miller Player Roster

By David F. Carr  |  Posted 2003-01-17 Print this article Print

If it's possible for an office chair to create buzz, Herman Miller's Aeron did. But it's still counting on 3-D technology to juice sales.

The Player Roster


Michael A. Volkema, President, Chairman and CEO
It wasn't long ago that Volkema said, "No one is going to lead this industry without leading in technology." But today, Herman Miller is cutting technology spending. When Volkema pulled the plug last year on Herman Miller's RED e-commerce site, he admitted he had probably become too infatuated with dreams of new-economy wealth.

Elizabeth A. Nickels, EVP and CFO
Nickels supported the launch of the RED site, based on an analysis that short-term costs would lead to long-term profits. Now the course she is charting back to profitability means that RED had to go, along with a lot of people and projects that suddenly look too expensive.

Brian Walker, President, Herman Miller North America
Walker was one of the big cheerleaders for new economy "value net" achievements at Herman Miller. But as a former CFO of the company, he is also hard-nosed about financial discipline.

Gary VanSpronsen, EVP, eBusiness, and CIO
As CIO, he's had to scale back some of the information technology department's most ambitious plans, while seeking out relatively low-cost projects. VanSpronsen previously ran the technically innovative Miller SQA division.

Fred Guss, Director of Information Systems
Considered by some who know the company to be "the real CIO," Guss is the top tech manager reporting to VanSpronsen. He's charged with ensuring continued improvements to core production and supply-chain systems.

Richard Russell, Director of Business Systems
A former Deloitte & Touche systems consultant who came to Herman Miller as part of a Baan IV implementation contract, Russell was later hired to help complete that project and supervise related systems.


Bix Norman, Former Herman Miller CIO (1998-2001), retired
Norman is best known for his role as president of Miller SQA, the division where many of Herman Miller's technology, supply-chain and business innovations originated. As CIO, he gave system development projects a focus on matching the high level of on-time, complete shipment of orders achieved by SQA.

Jim Von Ins Jr., Former SQA information technology director
Von Ins led the systems development team that created a custom factory planning and scheduling system for SQA, along with the ERP and supply-chain infrastructure for the division. He later cofounded a supply-chain technology business called 2Think (www.2think.biz).


Uli Chi, Cofounder of Computer Human Interaction, LLC
Chi heads the software development firm that makes the z-Axis visualization and specification tool under an exclusive contract with Herman Miller. The original idea: help Weyerhaeuser sell more lumber by helping consumers to design home improvements, such as decks.

Scott A. Moses, Former i2 Technologies project manager, now teaching at the University of Oklahoma
While at i2, Moses wrote a case study praising Herman Miller as the first company to successfully apply an incremental development methodology i2 had created, the Business Release Methodology.

Brian Kloostra, Managing executive for CRM, Crowe Chizek
A frequent advisor on strategy and technology implementation, including an internally developed Customer Relationship Management application based on Lotus Notes.

To protect privacy, roster members' e-mail addresses are omitted. Write them at BASELINE@ZIFFDAVIS.COM. Mail will be forwarded.

David F. Carr David F. Carr is the Technology Editor for Baseline Magazine, a Ziff Davis publication focused on information technology and its management, with an emphasis on measurable, bottom-line results. He wrote two of Baseline's cover stories focused on the role of technology in disaster recovery, one focused on the response to the tsunami in Indonesia and another on the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.David has been the author or co-author of many Baseline Case Dissections on corporate technology successes and failures (such as the role of Kmart's inept supply chain implementation in its decline versus Wal-Mart or the successful use of technology to create new market opportunities for office furniture maker Herman Miller). He has also written about the FAA's halting attempts to modernize air traffic control, and in 2003 he traveled to Sierra Leone and Liberia to report on the role of technology in United Nations peacekeeping.David joined Baseline prior to the launch of the magazine in 2001 and helped define popular elements of the magazine such as Gotcha!, which offers cautionary tales about technology pitfalls and how to avoid them.

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