Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hello, My Name is Wes Royer

According to my colleagues and various random business personality tests, I am both a dreamer and an analyst, both creative and logical. I think this blend of conceptual curiosity and systematic thinking is what fuels my passion for product development. But early in my career, I had no idea what product management was nor expected the path that would lead me here today.
Wes Royer
Wes Royer

I grew up just outside Washington, DC. Knowing one day I wanted to be a small business owner, I attended business school at George Mason University. Being a writer and editor for the student newspaper would feed my desire for research and investigation, with the goal of telling a story. Little did I know then that minoring in linguistics would lead me to experiment with programming languages.

My first job out of college was in communications at the NRA. Being the person in my department that was excited to work with web technologies to publish our press releases and newsletters, I was brought onto a management team working with a vendor to bring the NRA’s website into a modern multimedia format. I was officially hooked on web development.

I jumped deeper into a technology career as a web consultant for the USPS, but my next two jobs at American Type Culture Collection and McCord Travel Solution placed me in the unique role of being both a technologist and the product manager, running ecommerce, biotech, and travel platforms.  I had no idea what it meant to be a product manager, and only later in my career would I realize that many successful product managers took this indirect path to being the business owner of a product line or platform, and that was natural. At this point, I was finding my passion.

After short stints in sales and then on Naval contracts at Northrop Grumman, I ended up at Affinion and Connexions Loyalty. I started in a BSA role supporting clients, but was quickly plucked from the team to focus on product development, a new concept for the company at the time. After reshaping the role and placing several solid resources on the team, I made the switch from IT to Product Marketing, becoming the platform product owner and developing roadmaps and strategy. This is where I met Sam, and where we started sharing our thoughts, ideas, experiences, disciplines, and lessons learned.

Whether I was the senior manager of Loyalty Platform & Product Solutions on the business side or managing the solutions analyst product development team in IT, I had found my home. I was taking products from concepts and visions full cycle into software that was being sold and implemented at the major financial institutions, airlines, and hotel chains.

Now I have taken my skills and experience to GE Healthcare. I have never worked in healthcare before, developing software for hospital management and clinicians to more efficiently and safely manage their capital assets, patients, and staff. But my entire career has been about researching and investigating things that are new to me. My career has been about systematically and logically thinking about what the norm is today and conceptualizing what users and customers wish the norm was tomorrow. And my goal (and Sam’s) is to help other professionals and companies live and breathe in this space with not just a certain comfort level, but with an excitement for the possibility of seeing ideas and dreams become real-world products that customers need and want to use as a normal part of their lives.

Wes Royer's wordle

[the end.]

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