Q&A with Boom’s Chief Information Officer, Charles Valentine

“I can’t think of a single strategic objective at Boom that IT does not empower, and possibly enable in some way.”

As the Chief Information Officer, Charles Valentine has more than 20 years of experience in strategic planning, enterprise architecture, information security, infrastructure design, and cloud computing, serving as a business solution for making technology work in alignment with organizational objectives.

“To stay competitive in today’s business landscape, you must be innovative. Markets change almost overnight, and it is imperative that technology solutions can adapt and scale to changing business needs quickly.”

Before joining Boom, Valentine spent over 10 years at Indeed as the Head of IT (CIO) and VIce President, Head of Security (CSO). He was recognized with the Austin IT Executive of the Year Award in 2016 and was more recently nominated as a finalist for the Colorado CIO of the year Orbie award.

We sat down with Valentine to learn more about his background, what role IT plays in building the supersonic future, and the future of IT at Boom.

Explain your career journey. How have previous roles supported your role now at Boom?

My career started young. As a child, I built and flew RC airplanes, and at some point, I realized I could fly REAL airplanes! That led to lots of lawn mowing and ultimately getting my pilot’s license before I got my driver’s license. The freedom, sensation of speed, and ability to go anywhere I wanted much faster than I could on my bicycle had me hooked from an early age.

One thing I learned to love at that young age is that there are some things that you can learn to do quickly but then you will spend the rest of your life getting good at them. For me, those things are: flying, sailing, team building, and IT technologies.

Prior to Boom I spent more than 10 years at Indeed, joining when Indeed had just a few hundred employees. I was responsible for hyperscaling the corporate systems and infrastructure to support growth to more than 12,000 employees. I was also responsible for rapidly expanding the data centers, points of presence, data systems, and website systems from just a handful of servers to 100,000+, all to support 300+ million unique monthly visitors across more than dozen data centers located around the world with 100% availability.

I took many lessons away from that experience, but the top lesson I learned was that building high-performance teams, composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, enables quantum leaps in capability for the business.

Focusing on care for the humans I work with has helped me to anticipate and remove roadblocks, paving the way for people to perform at their best in high intensity, high demand environments. All of these experiences led me here, to Boom.

Looking back on your first year, what have you learned from working at Boom?

Over the course of my career, I have started or scaled several companies, so I am no stranger to solving hard problems or putting in the effort required. Over the past year I have been consistently amazed by the team at Boom. They constantly find new ways to achieve goals by making continuous gains in efficiency and capability. According to Albert Einstein “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” At Boom, I see a number of simple solutions to complex problems, which is particularly impressive when you’re taking on a mission this audacious.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

In my first few months at Boom, the team and I successfully completed a NIST 800-171 security assessment as well as selection and implementation of SAP, a significant project that required supersonic efficiency. I love focusing on getting things done! No politics, just progress.

What role does IT play in building the supersonic future?

My job is to empower everyone at Boom to do their best work; to ensure that they can stay focused on our mission: making the world dramatically more accessible. Every second that people are worried about a critical system being down or working inefficiently, or whether or not they have the right tools to get their job done is a second wasted. My responsibility is to empower everyone at Boom to do their best work.

What is next for Boom when it comes to IT?

One of these objectives is to make a MES! MES stands for Manufacturing Execution System, this is the system we will rely on to manufacture Overture aircraft. The IT trinity for Aerospace and Defense industry companies is a first-level ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning – finance), a great PLM (Product Lifecycle Management – where we build and manage our engineering CAD [Computer Aided Design] models), and a topnotch MES (Manufacturing Execution System – how we will build Overtures). Getting these systems implemented properly, integrated, and working together is key to the success and scalability of Boom. We have an incredible team that is highly engaged with hands-on and experienced leaders, which gives me high confidence that we will get it right.

What excites you about supersonic flight? Where’s the first place you’d fly supersonic?

There is this myth that technology always improves; it doesn’t. Well not on its own anyway. We have to put in the effort to improve it. The thing that excites me about supersonic flight is working to make it possible again. Supersonic flight should be in our present, not our past.

The first place I would fly supersonic is Sydney. My family and I loved our time in Australia and getting to spend time there again is something we would love to do. I am looking forward to watching the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race again!


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