TechMan Alum Catapults Career to New Heights
David Gagliano, MS in Technology Management ’02, has made a career of leveraging new and disruptive technologies to transform business and take customers to productivity levels they didn’t realize were possible.
Although his focus on rapidly changing technology led to a solid career as a technologist at a leading professional services company, he realized in 2000 he had a problem: he had plateaued professionally and would need entirely new skills to take his career to the next level. Although the technology part came to him easily, it seemed executive management spoke an entirely new language—requiring insight across finance, program management, risk analysis, marketing and communications, business development, legal, and strategic planning.
“At the time I was under pressure at home (with two kids in diapers and another on the way), and under pressure at work as key in a series of highly visible, aggressively scheduled customer projects. I realized I had to learn to work smarter, not harder, but I didn’t know how to find the time to lead at work, raise a family, and build new skills,” remembers Gagliano. That’s when he learned about George Mason University’s Masters in Technology Management program.
“The flexibility of the Mason Technology Management Program made it possible for me to advance my career and build the skills I needed to excel, bringing entirely new career opportunities within my reach,” says Gagliano.
Designed explicitly to support the working professional, the MS in Technology Management program holds classes on Saturdays and coursework is woven into evenings and free time. The program brings world-class professionals into the classroom as teachers who share their practical experience and fill the gaps between theory and real-world practice.
“The synergy is fantastic,” says Gagliano, “and as a result the students are engaged and the staff is passionate about your success. Every day I spent at Mason turned into insight and strength the very next day at the office, as I suddenly found myself able to understand and add value to areas of work that had previously been inaccessible to me. The breadth of understanding across program management, execution, financials, strategy, and people skills gave me the ability to contribute meaningfully at a higher level. I found my insight, recommendations, and burgeoning leadership appreciated, recognized and rewarded,” says Gagliano.
Now deputy to Acentia’s chief technology officer, Gagliano serves as chief architect to Acentia’s healthcare sector, where he has helped establish Acentia’s Centers of Excellence as a corporate-wide, thought-leadership organization. His responsibilities include creating IT solutions for their customer’s toughest challenges and steering the company’s strategy for near-term success and long-term growth, amongst many other tasks.
Gagliano says his biggest goal at Acentia is to grow the Centers of Excellence into a sustainable corporate structure that delivers ongoing innovation, guiding talent growth within the company, helping their operations teams leverage new solutions on behalf of their customers, and making a transformational impact on systems of vital national importance.
“Being able to look at an entire system of operations and visualize a better future is part science, part best practice, part business, part art, and 90 percent communications,” says Gagliano. “Finding that right balance brings into play the solid skills foundation I established at Mason.
“Mason has created an environment where you have the chance to dramatically change your life and the lives of the people you touch at work, at home, and in your community. I feel Mason—and the great people of the Technology Management program—have given me so much that I continue to look for ways to give back.”
Gagliano has found multiple ways to stay engaged, serving in the past as a student and cohort mentor, Industry Chairman of the Technology Management Capstone Board, and most recently as a member of the Board of Directors. “For me, Mason was a turning point professionally,” says Gagliano. “I found that with a higher level of performance, came new opportunities, tougher challenges, and greater rewards.”