HDI Honors Top IT Individuals and Teams for Excellence

Colorado Springs, CO – May 10, 2012 – HDI, a global association for IT service and technical support professionals and the premier certification body for the industry, today announced the successful wrap-up of the twenty-second HDI Annual Conference & Expo, which took place April 24–27, 2012, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, FL. The HDI 2013 Conference & Expo will be held April 16–19, 2012, at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV.

"This year's lineup of keynote speakers, conference speakers, and exhibitors at the HDI 2012 Conference & Expo was amazing! The success of this year’s event demonstrates the critical importance of our industry," said Michelle Frilow, director of conferences and events at HDI. Targeted to meet the needs of the entire IT service and technical support industry, the event attracted more than 2,200 individuals from thirty-three countries, including Brazil, Japan, Poland, Australia, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, India, Canada, Ireland, and the United States.

"Each year, HDI has the difficult task of choosing the 'best of the best' of the IT industry professionals from the list of award nominees. This year proved to be no exception, and we are incredibly proud of our award recipients. Congratulations to all of our winners! We wish you much continued success," said Craig Baxter, HDI's global brand director.

HDI’s industry awards, presented each year at the HDI Annual Conference & Expo, reward individuals and teams for excellence. HDI’s award lineup includes the HDI Analyst of the Year and Manager of the Year Awards, sponsored by Robert Half Technology; the HDI Team Excellence Award, honoring internal and external teams; and the Ron Muns Lifetime Achievement Award. This year, HDI was proud to add the HDI Desktop Support Technician of the Year Award to list of awards.

The 2012 HDI award winners include:

  • HDI Analyst of the Year – Tiffany Mills, Emblem Health
    At Emblem Health, Tiffany is the team lead and senior support center analyst, supporting approximately 6,000 users daily and handling password resets, VPN connectivity, printers, wireless, website, BlackBerrys, various application issues, and more. Tiffany's greatest passion is in making people laugh; outside of work, she writes her own comedy sketches and participates in other people's comedy shows, in addition to performing her own standup routine at various venues. She strongly believes in relieving the stress with the customer first so she can tackle the issues at hand thereafter. One of Tiffany's key phrases when ending a call with a customer is, "When in doubt, boot it out!"

    Tiffany represented the New York City local chapter and the Northeast region. Award nominees compete at the local and regional levels, sitting for final interviews and evaluations at the annual conference. To qualify for the award, candidates must demonstrate a commitment to excellence in a range of key competencies.

  • HDI Desktop Support Technician of the Year – Susan Lawrence, Baker Hughes
    Susan Lawrence joined the Baker Hughes IT Support Team in 2004, bringing to the mix more than fifteen years of experience in the IT industry. Susan is a valued leader on her team and is a SME on the IT Project FAST Team. She is currently pursuing her BA in business management, and is expected to graduate this year.

    Susan represented the Houston local chapter and the Central region. Award nominees compete at the local and regional levels, sitting for final interviews and evaluations at the annual conference. To qualify for the award, candidates must demonstrate a commitment to excellence in a range of key competencies.

  • HDI Manager of the Year – Mike Mercer, Southwest Airlines
    Mike began his involvement in the call center/support industry when he joined Southwest Airlines in 1975. Mike has held a number of positions in reservations, including reservations agent and the Reservations Center's assistant manager and manager. In 1996, Mike was instrumental in establishing a central technical support desk for Southwest Airlines. The support desk provides technical support to both Southwest and AirTran, totaling over 45,000 employees and contractors.

    In addition to Mike's involvement with reservations and the central support desk, Mike managed the projects, asset management, and shipping and receiving teams. Mike has been in leadership at Southwest Airlines since 1981.

Award nominees undergo a rigorous evaluation process and are judged on a number of criteria, including innovation, customer focus, leadership, communication, ethics, and professionalism.

The HDI Team Excellence Award honors world-class support organizations that have enhanced the image of the industry by achieving the highest standards of excellence in customer support and service delivery. Both the internal and external categories are judged on people, process, procedures, technology, and resources.


  • Team Excellence Award, External – Eze Castle Integration
    Eze Castle Integration is the leading provider of technology, IT services, and consulting in the hedge fund and alternative investment industries. Since its founding in 1995, Eze Castle has built a differentiated business by focusing exclusively on the growing hedge fund market. Today, the company has over 350 employees located in twelve offices across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Eze Castle offers a broad portfolio of technology and IT services focused on servicing its 600+ investment firm clients.

    The company has developed vertical-specific IT solutions, including infrastructure design and management (both in Eze Private Cloud and on-premises), telecommunications, business continuity planning and disaster recovery, archiving, storage, and Internet services. These solutions are complemented by a service organization that delivers outsourced IT support, including a 24x7x365 help desk, project and technology management services, consulting services, and more.

  • Team Excellence Award, Internal – PepsiCo
    PepsiCo is the world's second largest food and beverage business, and the largest in North America, with a wide portfolio of enjoyable, convenient, and affordable products and billion-dollar brands, including Pepsi, Lay's, Tropicana, Quaker, and Gatorade.

    The PepsiCo Support Center team consistently exceeds the 75–80 percent first call resolution rate by leveraging administrative rights in the environment, keeping the knowledge base up to date, using the latest in remote-control software, and ensuring that all staff members have sufficient technical expertise. The group attributes much of its success to the people and the culture.

The Ron Muns Lifetime Achievement Award, which was created in honor of HDI's founder, recognizes individuals for their contributions, enthusiasm, and tireless efforts to advance the service and technical support industry. This award, in its fifth year, honors a great leader who has made lasting contributions to the IT service and technical support industry.

  • Ron Muns Lifetime Achievement Award – George Spalding, Pink Elephant Throughout his career, George Spalding has brought strategic vision and leadership to the IT service and technical support industry. Most people who know him, know him as the King of All Things ITIL and one of the authors of ITIL v3, but his commitment to improving the IT service management industry has made him a sought-after speaker throughout the IT world.

    A self-proclaimed ubër-geek, he has a deep understanding of the nerd side of the industry. In fact, he has trained more than 10,000 IT professionals on the inner workings and profound mysteries of Microsoft Windows, in addition to Novell and Cisco. And his irreverent blend of quick wit and high-tech humor make him a joy to listen to, even when he’s making fun of the world he lives in. He’s never at a loss for words and he shares his knowledge with anyone that will listen. Today, he is doing just that as an executive vice president at Pink Elephant.

For more information about HDI, visit www.ThinkHDI.com, call 800.248.5667, or email us at [email protected].

About HDI
HDI is the leading professional association and certification body for technical service and support professionals. Facilitating collaboration and networking, HDI hosts industry conferences and events, produces comprehensive publications and research, connects solution providers with practitioners, while certifying and training thousands of professionals each year. HDI serves a community of over 110,000 members, followers, customers, solution providers, and contributors throughout the service industry, supporting sixty local chapters across North America. Guided by an international panel of industry experts and practitioners, HDI is the community’s premiere resource for best practices and emerging trends. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO, HDI offers training in multiple languages and countries. For more information, visit www.ThinkHDI.com or call +1 719.268.0174. HDI is a part of UBM TechWeb.

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