David Olivencia, director of IT strategy and planning at Verizon Communications, strives to inspire the next generation to follow in his footsteps.
“If I can touch one or two people to take a career in technology then I think I have done my part,” said the Gary native who grew up in the Hammond/Whiting area. “When I look at our country and the jobs of the future, our country is in a predicament. We require more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. Other countries are aggressively moving in this direction.
“When you look at the Hispanic community, the numbers are even starker there. I founded an organization that is very involved in mentoring and giving back. The Hispanic IT Executive Council is a group of senior (information technology) leaders who are role models for the next generation of Hispanic youth.”
Olivencia’s efforts and career accomplishments were recently spotlighted when he was recognized by Great Minds in STEM with the 2012 Executive Excellence in Technology Award.
“I want to do a phenomenal job for this company that I have a passion for. When you are given an opportunity, you have to seize it and execute it and that’s where I am focused,” said Olivencia, who now lives in Basking Ridge, N.J. “I am very fortunate to have had this journey and be in this place right now.”
Olivencia’s path was launched from his region roots after his family came to the U.S. from Puerto Rico. He graduated from Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond, earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and his master's of business administration from the University of Notre Dame.
“I had phenomenal teachers and coaches. My parents’ support and pushing me to be involved in sports and being state champions helped me understand what hard work and goal setting are,” he said. “My friends had fun, but were also very focused on education and learning. I was the first in my family to go to college. Being the first, there is more responsibility and opportunities — that was important.”
Olivencia started his career at Accenture and worked at Oracle before taking his position with Verizon.
“I took my last test on Friday and starting working on Monday and have been working ever since,” he said. “I have been very fortunate to travel the world and see how technology has impacted it.”
Through his position at Verizon, Olivencia helps define and execute the company’s IT strategy as well as assists with internal and external communications.
“When you look at the future and where we are going with social media, the amount of data getting created is not slowing down anytime soon. Where this data is going to be stored — cloud computing — Verizon is right at the center of all that execution today and in the future,” he said. “It’s very exciting to see how people are going to live, work and play in the future and help make that a reality. It’s a great place to be.”