Meet the 2020 CIOY Judges

Robert E. Kress
Managing Director, Accenture Security, co-Chief Operating Officer and Global Quality & Risk officer
Accenture Security

As the Accenture Security co-COO and Global Quality & Risk officer, Bob is responsible for identifying, assessing and managing risk in Accenture’s Security business, and managing the quality of Security services delivered to clients.

In his 38 years at Accenture, Bob has served in a variety of senior roles. He has extensive experience in IT strategy, IT planning, IT governance, technology operations, application development, product and service management, service planning and program management. He has also developed business strategy and marketing campaigns for Accenture’s software products.

Prior roles included Managing Director, Global IT, Financial & Operational Audit and COO, Internal Audit

Bob has served for many years as one of the Co-Chairs of The Executives Club of Chicago’s Technology Committee.


Mark Lafferty
Director, Data Center Solutions

Mark has been with CDW for the past 19 years and has served as the Director, Data Center Solutions for 9 years.

He leads a 6,000-plus-member team of dedicated account managers, solution architects and engineers that help customers choose the right technology products and services to best meet their unique needs. His group also offer customized solutions, implementation and long-term management of those solutions such as virtualization, collaboration, security, mobility, data center optimization and cloud computing. CDW is currently ranked 38th on Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies.

Mark is also responsible for a team of enterprise server, storage, power and cooling solution architects within the Central Region of the US and directs CDW’s IBM Practice team that architects and sells software, system X, P, I, Z and storage across the US.

Mark has served with Bob Kress as one of the Co-Chairs of The Executives’ Club of Chicago’s Technology Committee.


Rick Merrick
Chief Information Officer
TCS Education System

In addition to serving as TCS’s CIO for the past 7+ years, Rick has extensive experience in a variety of education related organizations such as K12 and the Cardean Learning Group. He has a proven track record of organizational transformation through developing a technology vision that achieves results.

Rick stresses the importance of communications and creating a positive environment and culture. High performing teams have cultures that are results oriented, focused on problem solving, and are not afraid to fail.

Rick is currently serving as the President Elect of SIM Chicago, the leading association for CIOs.

Robert Sarkis
Chief Information Officer
American Hospital Association


Rob’s 25 year leadership experience spans multiple industries in manufacturing, distribution, and retail, in addition to healthcare and technology. He has delivered a number of technology turnaround/transformation initiatives, focused on innovative and advanced solutions, that drove global collaboration, cost savings, and sales growth, in support of businesses’ strategic objectives.

Rob is currently serving as CIO and member of the executive team at the American Hospital Association, recruited in 2017 to help lead a major business/technology transformation plan. Prior to the AHA he served as the Global CIO at Fellowes Brands, a manufacturer and distributor of business and consumer products, and CIO at The Pampered Chef, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Other roles include CIO at CompuSystems Inc., Vice President of Enterprise Application Development at Solo Cup; and vice president at UK-based distributor Premier Farnell.


Jill Rhodes
Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer
Options Care Health

Jill is a Senior Information Security Leader and attorney adept at bringing disparate facets of an organization together to solve complex information security, data, and privacy related challenges. She leverages her integrated business, legal, and government experience to provide an in-depth understanding of information security risk issues at all levels. She is also the 2019 Chicago CISO of the Year.

Jill is a former U.S. Intelligence Officer, having worked in several major U.S. Intelligence Community Agencies. Prior to this, she was Foreign Service Officer and who lived and traveled extensively overseas. She has published and spoken extensively about cyber and national security topics.

Specialties include:

  • InfoSec Strategy, Risk Management, Data Management and Data Protection
  • Communication with Board of Directors
  • Privacy and Information Security Integration, Education and Training
  • Information Security Governance including HITRUST, NIST Cyber Security Framework, SOC2
  • National Security Risks and Events


Scott Jessee
Vice President, Data and Information Technology
Delta Dental Plans Association



Scott Jessee has over 17 years’ experience in the financial services and healthcare industries. He joined Delta Dental Plans Association (DDPA) in 2012 and is currently serving as the Vice President of Data and Information Technology where he oversees technology strategy, product and application management, security, infrastructure, architecture, data strategy and data operations.

Prior to DDPA, Scott worked for 10 years as Director of Information Technology at CNA Insurance, a Fortune 500 property and casualty B2B insurance carrier, primarily focusing on delivery, application development and support of CNA’s policy administration, claims, underwriting, sales & distribution and specialty systems.

As a seasoned executive, Scott has extensive expertise in building cross-functional strategies, analyzing complex business situations, enabling digital capabilities, developing innovative options and elevating collaboration to value.

Scott earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Indiana University Kelley’s School of Business, followed by an M.B.A. in finance from DePaul University.


James MacLennan
Founder and Managing Director
Maker Turtle


Jim is the Founder and Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, providing strategic vision and tactical guidance for the digital transformation of your organization. At Maker Turtle, we believe people can build sustainable, scalable businesses that unlock tremendous value for customers, employees, and stakeholders “and for the community at large.”

Jim has 25+ years of experience, including multiple CIO roles, in a variety of business models and markets, translating strategic drivers into tactical plans and tangible results. His career spans multiple industries, including manufacturing, real estate / property management, pharmaceuticals, consumer durables, industrial products, and consumer package goods. Jim started his career in software development and consulting, which gives him unique insight into the role of Digital and how it creates value.

Jim’s latest book, Don’t Think So Much, lays out his vision for leading and accelerating digital business initiatives. He regularly speaks publicly on digital and leadership topics, and publishes his observations and insights at


Patrick Moroney
Chief Information Office
Central States Funds

Currently Pat is serving as the CIO at Central States Funds, a Taft-Hartley Multi-Employer pension fund and managed care health insurance fund.

Pat has 25 Years of large and mid-cap CIO Experience leading organizations with staffs from 20 to 2,200 and budgets up to $600MM at Monsanto, ServiceMaster, Health Care Service Corp (Five BCBS Plans), PE firm New Mountain Capital Portfolio companies and Kantar Market Research. His is the President of Technology Leaders Association (TLA) a networking organization for senior IT execs and serves with honor on the board of


John Fisher
rethinking IT, Inc.


A multi-time CIO and nationally recognized IT Executive with global experience, John has successfully led IT functions in Fortune 500 and SMB organizations. He uses his experience in applying technology solutions to critical business problems to help organizations make more informed decisions regarding technology. He has served on the Boards of both SIM Chicago and AITP Chicago and has been on the Adjunct Faculty of DePaul University for over 20 years.

Specialties: Financial Services (Banking and Insurance), Outsourcing, Selection of IT Solutions (Software, Hardware, and Services), Strategic Planning, Outsourcing, Non-Profit, Executive Management, Team Development, Culture Change, Business-Technology Relationships, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Negotiation, Vendor Lifecycle Management


Dean Haacker
Global Technology Executive


Dean was the runner up for the CIO of the Year Award in both 2018 and 2019 as the CIO of CIBC USA.

Dean has experience as a Global CIO that delivered more than $3 billion in business value for leading companies in the high tech, consumer goods and financial services sectors. An expert team builder, change agent and negotiator with a successful track record in large-scale programs, transformations, turnarounds, mergers, sourcing and operations excellence. Managed $300 million budgets, led global teams of 500 people, closed strategic deals with global technology partners and successfully implemented Agile, ITIL and Lean Six Sigma.