SDI Employee Spotlight – Sunil Thomas

Welcome to another installment of SDI’s Employee Spotlight. With a knack for hitting IT challenges out of the park, we have the privilege of spotlighting Sunil Thomas, our Senior Vice President for SLED East. With a wealth of experience, Sunil brings a dynamic perspective to his role, shaping the landscape of State, Local, Education, and Government business within SDI. Join us as we round the bases through Sunil’s career path and gain insights into the ever-evolving IT industry. 

Sunil, please tell us about your current role. 

In my current role as the SVP for SLED East, I lead the State and Local business unit (Sales, Business Development, and Delivery) East of the Rockies for SDI. In this role, I’m responsible for P&L for this business unit. In addition, I am working with the CEO and our Chief of Staff to achieve top-line growth. 

Tell us about your career path, and how it led you to joining SDI.  

My career path is standard in the IT Industry. I started off as a programmer working on the Oracle technology stack in the early 1990s. After several years I took an interest in Project Management and Oracle, working for Oracle, joining their PM practice for the public sector. In 2010, I took the role of Deputy CIO at the City of Chicago and was responsible for multiple initiatives, including licensing & Permitting, Cashiering, and Business Licensing solutions. I had an opportunity to join the leadership team at the State of Illinois, where I started as Agency CIO and, in 2016, assumed the role of Group CIO for IT service delivery for nine Business and Workforce agencies. These experiences translated well into my role at SDI, starting in 2022 as VP of Business Development and later in 2023 into my current role. 

What is your perspective on the IT industry and its future? Care to make any predictions?   

Prediction is hard, even for the best of minds. In 1889, Thomas Edison stated, “Fooling around with alternating current (AC) is just a waste of time.  Nobody will use it, ever.” So, no predictions. 

In the State and Local market, I continue to see cybersecurity and risk management, digital citizen services, and data management be the key drivers for decision-makers. Like every other industry, the impact of AI technology in IT is a chapter we are just starting. This is going to be a great time to be associated with IT. 

What have been your most significant accomplishments at SDI?   

I believe my most significant accomplishments are going to be achieved in 2024. In the past 7 months, I have fully transitioned into my role and taken charge of this significant business unit for SDI. There are several key wins ahead, so keep listening for SDI announcements! 

Tell us about some exciting things happening in SLED East.   

Working through our strong team of Delivery Executives, we will continue to engrain ourselves with our key customers. In 2024, we will continue to focus on growth in our ServiceNow, Cloud, and AI business with all our existing customers. We are working on expanding our footprint at the State level, working directly and with our key partners. 

What strategic goals or initiatives are you most excited about? 

I’m really excited about our partnership in bringing AI-based solutions to our current and future customers. AI-based solutions provide our SLED customers with an opportunity to modernize their services at a pace that has never been seen before.  

When it comes to leadership, do you draw inspiration from any particular figures, whether they are in the tech industry or from other walks of life? Or do you have any inspirational quotes? 

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” -Babe Ruth.  

In baseball, if you strike out 6 out of 10 times as a batter at the plate, he is considered a great player. We all fear failure at some level in our professional and personal pursuits. This quote reminds me that it is part of playing the game. When I hit roadblocks or face failures, this quote reminds me that the next time I’m up there, I am going apply what I learned and not repeat the same mistake. 

How do you foster collaboration and teamwork among your team members to ensure the success of projects and initiatives? 

To develop a successful team, it is essential to create an open, creative, and inclusive environment. In the hybrid environment we operate in, I encourage clear and open communication among team members using all the channels that are available to us. Working with a high-performing team requires giving greater autonomy to the team. 

Do you have any personal resolutions or goals, as we move further into February? 

I have continued to be interested in financial investing (not trading). One of my personal goals is to read every letter that Warren Buffet wrote to his shareholders since 1977. I would say that is not very exciting for most people. 

What are some of your favorite hobbies or activities that help you unwind and recharge? 

I have been playing tennis for the past 8 years, and since I live in Chicago, I make the most out of the limited time we have playing outside. During winter and early spring, I enjoy taking tennis lessons and playing indoors from time to time. 

Contact us now to explore how you can collaborate with Sunil and the dynamic team at SDI to unlock new possibilities and create positive and impactful change within your organization. 

We celebrate diversity; the views expressed above are those of the interviewed individual, not SDI.