BPO December 11, 2019

trying to figure out novel ways to push things like robotics and machines. WHAT DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE THE PRIORITY OF THE JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT TO BE READY FOR THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION? ES: We can’t be everything, and we can’t do everything, so we need to focus our country on developing the critical skills that we need for the future. We can focus on developing global competence in a few key Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, or we can focus on industry and seek to solve the challenges with new technology. The Government can also help to invest by providing more funding for innovative ideas and solutions that would propel our country forward. We also have to be willing to commit to this over a period of time and not throw it out because we have different political parties in power. We have to stay the course and be laser-focused on the outcome which we want to achieve. WHAT WAS YOUR CAREER CHOICE AS A STUDENT? ES: I was a very curious student. I know, I wanted to have knowledge about a lot of things. So I had very vast and varied interests. I worked a lot with my father, so I was exposed to a lot of business strate- gies, but my mother was a nurse and cared for people. I ended up studying social sciences in school and ended up with a degree in sociology because I always loved people and had an affinity for helping the underdog. But when I left college, I went into the high-tech industry in the USA and stayed there for 25 years. I learnt so much over those years and got to travel all over the world and meet people. It inspired me to see how we could use technology to change people’s lives. Then, 10 years ago, I was introduced to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and I knew immediately I had to take this back to my people in Jamaica and the region. It took me eight years to retire from my career in the global industry and come back to Jamaica. WHO OR WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR INSPIRATION? ES: I am inspired by a lot of people and continue to take a lifelong-learning approach to my life. I believe I can get inspiration from anyone, and everyone has some knowledge that I can learn from. But, of course, my parents provided me with big inspiration. They were both professionals, my father an engineer and my mother a nurse. They taught me that I could do anything and be anything that I wanted to be. My first real boss recognised that I had potential and gave me the opportunity to run projects and grow. My team that I achieved patents with inspired me be- cause although we were from Israel, USA, Russia, Netherlands, we put any differ- ences we had aside to work towards. And I will share a little something, too: I was the only non-classically trained Engineer on the team, but that didn’t stop me from being the team leader. HOW IS JAMAICA VIEWED ON THE WORLD STAGE? WOW, Jamaica is LOVED. When I travelled all over the world, I would tell people that I was born in Jamaica, and immediately, I would get welcomed with open arms. In Germany, the people loved Bob Marley; in India, they loved the big cricket competitions from the ’70s and ’80s; in the USA, they reference our fast runners, both male and female. Our culture is held up with love and admiration. Now for me, I want them to know us for our Fourth Industrial Revolution prowess to turn the perception of us just being athletes, entertainers, and creatives on its head and add a new dimension to Jamaica with technology. WHAT IS YOUR PROJECTION FOR THE GLOBAL SERVICES SECTOR IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS? If we invest and focus ourselves, I predict that we will have a very flourishing global services sector, one in which we are executing high-value services to global clients, including creating and deploying Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as computer programming, robotics, cyber-security, etc. I predict that the lower-wage jobs will be obsolete in Jamaica and moved to other countries in the world that still need to rely on these jobs to build their economy. I see this future very clearly; I see us there. I am going to always believe in Jamaica even when we don’t believe in ourselves. esimmons@cmu.edu.jm 8 BPO JAMAICA: BPO JAMAICA WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2019 BPO JAMAICA PROFILE: 9 WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2019 A GLOBAL busi- ness strategy, sales, and marketing execu- tive with Fortune 100 experience in American, European, Asian, and African Markets, Erica Simmons has had a career that included strategic roles for Siemens AG, Oracle Corporation, and Expedia. Her experience as a master relationship builder with executives, management, colleagues, and partners also led her to explore many interesting business ventures in the manufacturing, technology, and philanthropy industries. While at Siemens AG, she accomplished patents for using software to simulate radiation in nuclear environments and for simulating multi-echelon industrial manufacturing processes. In addition, she has led strategy, business development, and marketing of product life cycle-management technology globally in the high tech and energy and utilities industries. She is a leader in diversity and inclusion and gender-equality strategies, and while at Siemens, she founded the Women’s Network and went on to co-chair the Global Diversity Council at Siemens Digital Factory. She is an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers senior fellow and a frequent speaker on the future of work and skills needed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In September of 2017, she joined the Caribbean Maritime University as the executive director of the Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of North Texas and lives in Kingston, Jamaica, with her husband and two children. AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRE FOR DIGITAL INNOVATION AND ADVANCED MANUFACTURING, WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES? ES: I am responsible for running the most advanced research- and-development centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, such as computer-aided design, comput- er-aided manufactur- ing (CAM), additive manufacturing, augmented/virtual reality, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, in Jamaica and the region. I have three focus areas for my work at the centre: contributing to the university, industry, and society. WHO IS LIKELY TO BENEFIT THE MOST FROM THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION? ES: Well, it has been widely forecast that nations who have yet to benefit from the Third Industrial Revolution will be the big- gest beneficiaries of the wealth created in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. That means developing nations like Jamaica have a huge advantage because we were never fully invested in the Third Industrial Revolution. So it is a great opportunity for us and other developing nations in our region and around the world to seize the day and focus on the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. IS JAMAICA DOING ENOUGH TO BE READY FOR THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION? ES: Jamaica is doing the best she can right now, but we need all stakeholders contributing to our success, though. This includes the education sector, our industry, our Government, and our families. The education sector has already started to deploy some of these technologies at the tertiary level and Global services sector Personality of the Month ERICA SIMMONS Erica Simmons, executive director for the Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing CMU. BPO JAMAICA

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