Experience polishes one’s natural born skills, and true leaders continuously evolve and improve not only the businesses in which they operate but their own careers as well. One such leader is Steve Dertien, a Division Vice President for PTC’s office of the CTO. He is the man behind creating and evangelizing PTC’s technology strategy and advising customers on how to best deploy PTC’s solutions against the backdrop of increasing demand, globalization, IT infrastructure, security, scalability, and performance. He joined the organization in 2000, and since then has elevated his career from a solution architect to the chief architect in this world-class company with a market cap exceeding $10 billion USD.
During the course of his career at PTC, Dertien has led projects around customer implementations, product quality, competitive analysis, and research and development. Witnessing Steve’s success in each area, a brilliant mind, and a commitment to excellence, PTC’s CEO Jim Heppelmann promoted Dertien to lead the Office of the CTO in 2018.
Technology with Value; Research with Promise
PTC’s product portfolio consists of its market leading CAD and PLM solutions and newer high-growth offerings in IoT and Augmented Reality (AR). The company counts over 35,000 customers using its solutions. PTC is constantly prioritizing and balancing investments, innovations, solutions, features, industries, and geographies – and Steve is central to those discussions.
Steve also founded the PTC Reality Lab, a research and innovation lab at PTC that focuses on exploring and developing technologies that support the convergence of the physical and digital worlds, a concept key to PTC’s vision and represented in the company’s logo. The PTC Reality Lab, built in the spirit and likeness of the MIT Media Lab, researches the new, the uncharted, the world’s next technologies that enable the future of industrial innovation.
Steve approaches the challenges of his position with thoughtfulness and wisdom, yet intrinsically understands the need for speed and flexibility. “Not to sound too cliché, but good leaders can bring agility into what may seemingly be an impossible set of constraints or organizational challenges and guide the organization through those challenges,” says Steve.
Learning Never Stops
Steve believes that one must always be learning. He suggests an individual should observe what trends are forming in direct, adjacent, or macro environments. Personally, he consumes both technical and business news in myriad forms, as well as embraces one or two personal research projects a quarter to keep his awareness sharp. He also reviews the trends – business, financial/economic, technical, operational, and more – that are impacting other industry verticals and peer groups. Steve exemplifies the true professional by guiding, mentoring, and nurturing his team members so that they thrive, and innovate, and help take the company to its next growth level.
He is excited to be leading a team that is focused on the world’s latest technology, such as augmented reality, the internet of things, additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and GPU-based computing. He is also thrilled to be driving the renaissance in CAD technology. Steve feels that there’s an incredible intersection of technologies that are coming together in amazing new ways that will help shape the future ways that people work and the products that they deliver and service.
An Advice for New Buds
Steve suggests new employees must confidently advocate for transformational initiatives in their respective organizations. “Be bold, ambitious and driven in your pursuits,” says Steve. He also states that every first-mover technology advantage has a far shorter life today than it did a decade ago. It goes without question that having customers engaged in the work that one is involved with validates and bolsters the value drivers and the outcomes to which a market leading company should aspire.
On a personal level, Steve is actively involved with STEM programs, and his own kids are also engaged. And professionally, he looks forward to expanding his experience beyond technology in both operational and financial processes.
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