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Industry Hotshots

 

Brian Garavuso

Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer   -   Diamond Resorts International®

 

What are some of your responsibilities?
The textbook answer is that I am responsible for global IT operations and projects that are focused on driving revenue, enhancing customer service or maximizing efficiency. On a day-to-day basis I stay focused on the top IT initiatives being delivered to the organization. My team loves getting emails from me asking, “Where are we with project x?” A good portion of my time is spent maintaining the partnership/relationship with each business leader to understand their future goals and objects to ensure IT is aligned with their needs. Another important factor is managing the business of IT to make sure we have the proper resources and funding for all of the projects.

What do you like most about your job?
We do a lot of in-house development and support all of our own systems. I really enjoy watching a project move from concept, to design, to development and then to delivery. It’s kind of like watching your children grow up, and for those that know me I have plenty of both (projects and children).

What do you like least about your job?
I am not a big fan of the 100-plus emails I receive each day from someone trying to sell me the latest buzzword product. I’m pretty tired of hearing about how this new company or product is going to solve my Big Data, in the cloud, business analytics or MDM (master data management or mobile device management) needs.  

Where did you go to school? What was your major?
I graduated from University of South Florida. I have a BA degree in accounting and an AA degree in hospitality management.  

What is your favorite movie?
This is a tough one but I typically answer "Top Gun" or "Ghostbusters." 

What is your favorite song?
I definitely don’t have one favorite song. I have a few favorite bands; I’m a big fan of Dave Matthews Band, Green Day and 3 Doors Down. I have different favorite songs for different reasons.

What is your favorite line from a movie or song?
“I saw the shot, I saw no danger, so I took it.” - Tom Cruise in "Top Gun."

What was your first job?
My first real job was a bellman at Sundial Beach Resort on Sanibel Island, Fla. I ended up staying with that company for 20 years through a series of changes and acquisitions. Ultimately it is how I became CIO for Interstate Hotels and Resorts.

What was your most interesting day at work?
My most interesting/memorable day at work would be the day we went public and getting to be on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for the opening bell.

What would you do if you won the lottery?
That would depend on the amount of money I won. If it was a crazy amount I would work a bit longer and then retire, probably buy or build some type of company.

When you are not working, what do you enjoy doing?
Going to my kids' sporting events and watching them play. Tinkering around the house and cooking a big meal.

What is the next technology to impact the hospitality industry?
We need to continue to stay focused on the ever-increasing number of mobile devices and features and functionality. While I don’t think the Apple Watch™ as it is now will be a game changer, I do think that wearable and more transparent technologies such as iBeacon™ will shape the future of guest service and expecations.