As Indiana’s tech community continues to grow and mature, it’s getting harder and harder to narrow down the winners for our annual Tech 25 Awards program. Clearly there is a wealth of tech talent in the Hoosier state, and they are making incredible moves. Join us in celebrating the Tech 25 class of 2020 through this profile series and learn a bit more about each winner.

Dr. John F. Matlik currently serves as engineering digital transformation lead at Rolls-Royce Corporation, championing the development and implementation of customer- and business-prioritized digital capability across the Rolls-Royce Defense organization. He joined Rolls-Royce in January 2005 after graduating from Purdue University. Outside of Rolls-Royce, Dr. Matlik collaborates with US Federal and State government leadership to integrate digital engineering capability into product life cycle development systems for increasing US national security and competitiveness. He lives with his wife and three children in Danville.

What led you to get into tech and this occupation? What was your first job in tech?

Growing up, my father modeled a passion for physical sciences as a way to better understand and grow in awe of the world around us. His example, coupled with my interest in the practical application of physical sciences, led me to my career as an aerospace engineer. My first job in tech was as an undergraduate research assistant at the Purdue School of Aeronautics & Astronautics. In this role, I developed and coded analytical and numerical models to predict material failure observed in gas turbine engine alloys.

When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?

Today, I lead a global team toward identification, development, validation, & integration of business critical digital (e.g., data analytics and physics based modeling & simulation) technologies into business processes that deliver significant cost reduction of legacy products as well as higher performing, lower cost “right first time” solutions for new product development.

Which resources, people, books, websites, etc. would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?

To realize successful digital transformation within a large company requires a variety of skill sets, not just technical skills but experience in business processes, teamwork, leadership, and psychology. A strong domain knowledge and technical grounding in your business focus area is required, but additional skill sets that are critical include value mapping, business agility, change management, and systems (business and engineering). There are MANY references, but some on top of my list include: XLR8 (John Kotter), Innovator’s Dilemma (Christensen), The Servant (Hunter), The Startup Way (Ries), and Cloud Native Transformation (Reznik, Dobson, Gienow) to name a few.

Dr. John F. Matlik is a Tech 25 winner who is helping to grow and improve the tech landscape of Indiana. He was nominated by his Chief of Cyber Technology, Defense, Mike Gahn. To learn more about the Tech 25 Awards, click here. 

Visit the Indianapolis Business Journal website to see the full listing and celebration of the 2020 Tech 25 honorees in the joint CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards supplement. You can also watch a video of the livestream from the CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards virtual event.