Courtesy of Toyota

Transportation

Meet The Dallas 500: Zack Hicks

The CIO of Toyota North America on the role of new technology influencing the future of the auto industry.

Education: University of California, Irvine (MBA); Pepperdine University, Malibu (BS-Business Management)

Why Tech: “I’ve always been fascinated by the intersection of technology and what it can enable. We’re creating a future that can anticipate customers’ needs before they’ve expressed it, and offer solutions and recommendations right when they need it.”

Toughest Challenge: “Soon after I became CIO for our sales company, Toyota went through a tough period involving the recall of millions of vehicles. The high volume of transactions was devastating to our systems, and also impacted our customers and dealers. Fortunately, we have amazing talent and were able to turn the situation around. The teams not only fixed the systems, but made them better than they were before the crisis.”

Lesson Learned: “One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my career is to empower yourself. People come to work every day and see opportunities but often see these opportunities as somebody else’s responsibility. They’re often waiting for their manager to recognize the same issues and ask for their help. Don’t wait! These are yours for the taking and why you were hired.”

Looking Ahead: “This is an unprecedented time in the auto industry with technology playing a critical role. Car sharing, ridesharing, autonomous driving, machine learning, and data-driven services are transforming the auto industry. It’s incredibly exciting to be working on projects that will make our customers surprised and delighted about the new capabilities in their vehicle and help save them from dangerous accidents.”

What Keeps Me Up At Night: “Honestly, time zone changes usually keep me up at night, as I’ve been taking frequent trips to Japan. But what really keeps me up at night are the amazing amount of opportunities that exist right now.”

What I’d Tell An 18-Year-Old Me: “Relax and be yourself. I spent way too much time worrying about what other people thought of me. Only when you become your true self can you connect with others in a more authentic way and accomplish great things.”

First Job: “Dishwasher at a diner”

Hobby/Passion: “Prior to moving to Texas, it was surfing. Since the move, I now love bicycling around this great city.”

Favorite Movie: “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”

Who’d Play Me In A Bio-Pic: “Leonardo DiCaprio”

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