Inside EI: A Conversation with...

Enterprise Iron Financial Industry Solutions, Inc.

Mark: John, you are a senior guy with 30+ years in the corporate world and a ton of experience in so many aspects of Financial Services. To start, how does it feel to be a part of the other side of life, the consulting world, or as we know it – the ‘right’ side now that you’ve joined Enterprise Iron as a Delivery Partner?

John: Appreciate the introduction. So, I’ve worked at Irving Trust, Dean Witter/Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo for over 37 years. I was a consultant for about a year and a half at Wells before they converted me to an employee. I’ve been with Enterprise Iron now for 3 months, but this type of consulting is different than what I had done before. At EI, the primary focus is getting the job done right, but then also generating new business. This is where the main difference lies. I can get any project or task done, but generating business is a new challenge for me that I am excited to take on.

Mark: I know you had many opportunities when you were ready to make the move career move, so I’m wondering what made you choose to join EI?

John: There are 3 main reasons: my relationship with John Polito was the first. From my time at Dean Witter/Morgan Stanley, we built trust with each other and worked closely together. I was also intrigued by the exciting partnerships EI has in Modernization and No-Code Development. For most of my career, I have worked in huge corporations, and being part of a more niche and client-focused operation felt like the right fit for me. I look forward to helping EI continue to grow as a company.

Mark Kalafsky
SVP, Solutions & Delivery
Mark is an accomplished EI Partner in the Financial Services sector with 30+ years of experience as a Consultant. His expertise spans comprehensive program and project management, innovative strategy analysis and articulation, business plan development, solution integration and implementation support. Mark optimizes operation processes including the development of sophisticated integration and BPO/BPM procedures and implementation of continuous improvement programs.
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John McDermott
Managing Director, Solutions & Technology
John has over 30 years of extensive development and managerial experience driving systems development, application migrations, and systems infrastructure/support including business continuity planning. His expertise includes a myriad of front and back office applications in the Financial Services industry. John has a passion for implementing new technologies and is currently focused on developing Agile approaches to Application Modernization and No Code Development.
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Mark: EI is focusing on modernization strategies in the FS world, on both the business and IT sides of the business. Does that follow what you saw in the corporate world or were there other priorities?

John: In the corporate world, moving to the Cloud is a huge priority. Corporations want to move off the mainframe and into the Cloud as soon as possible. With COBOL resources becoming scarcer, the older systems have become a risk to maintain. My previous employers are investing a lot of resources to modernize.

Mark: With regrad to management styles, EI maintains a flat organizational style, unlike the typical corporate pyramid. How did you find moving from the pyramid to working directly for the CEO?

John: This was a surprise to me. John and I had a great working relationship at Morgan Stanley. I expected that we would have conversations as opportunities come up, but I did not initially expect to be part of the business development team. In large corporations, you do your work and hope to make a difference. In this environment, I can make a difference. It gives me more energy and makes my work more meaningful.

Mark: What are some skills that you brought over that work well as a consultant? What skills do you need to sharpen? I know direct selling to EI clients is new for you, how have you found that aspect of the job so far?

John: One of my strengths is talking to technical people and understanding what is being said to then translate this to non-technical people effectively. I have always maintained excellent relationships with my clients and technical teams and these skills translate well to life as a consultant. Two things I want to improve on are growing new business and my presentation skills (something I have always been working on).  

Mark: From all feedback everyone in the EI community has received, your transition has been as smooth as anyone could have expected. Do you feel like you are now a fully incorporated member of the EI family? Because we do.

John: Thanks. One thing that has helped is that I’ve known John for a long time, and he introduced me to Pete roughly 3 years ago and you maybe a year and a half ago. Through various other opportunities, I’ve met many members of the team so the transition has been a lot easier than normal since I was already familiar with EI. I’m amazed at how accepting everyone has been of me, encouraging me to make my voice heard in meetings. I appreciate that. So, yes – I do feel like a member of the team already and am excited about the work we’re doing together.