CEILING CRASHER – ABIZ ARTICLE
Anne Pyle, owner, Business Informatics Group
Photo by Robin May
Anne Pyle puts a bow on a stellar, expectations-defying career with her latest venture.
She was always a ground-breaker. In the ’70s, she majored in mathematics, shattering the myth that only boys excelled in left-brained activities. At 21, she landed a high-security clearance IT job. She later attained a high-level job at the über accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Now, she has her own high-tech company with a human element – Business Informatics Group.
Before Business Informatics’ kickoff breakfast in June, Anne Pyle had already signed a high-profile client, Enersciences. “The owner called me a week before the kickoff and said, Do you want to make money before or after breakfast?’ I said, I’ll be there on Monday.'”
From an early age, Pyle was a self-starter. After graduating cum laude from USL (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette) with a math major and a physics minor, Anne moved with her husband, Bill Pyle, to Colorado Springs, where he pursued his degree in geophysics and geology at the University of Colorado. “He put me through college, then I put him through college,” she says.
Pyle landed a job as a programmer analyst at Ford Aerospace and Communications Corporation – a high-security position working with NORAD (North American Air Defense) – without a computer science degree. Stuck in a little corner in Man Machine Interface, she quickly became bored. After attending a major presentation describing the complex system, she boldly approached one of the team leaders and asked to be reassigned to System Failover and Recovery, the core of the system. During the day, she did her coding and programming. At testing time, she drove up to Cheyenne Mountain, showed her security badge and walked a quarter mile into a tunnel to get to the computer facility. “Here I was, this 21-year-old young woman driving by myself in the middle of the night to this facility that was manned by these military guys with machine guns,” she says with a laugh. “I would put on my big green backpack with my computer listings in it, put my hiking boots on, pass two sets of blast doors and go into a facility that felt like a vacuum. It was really unusual, but it was really exciting because it was a big deal.”
When Bill graduated, the couple moved to New Orleans where Anne nabbed a consulting position with PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the big four auditors. “I just cold-called and asked to speak to the partner in charge of consulting, and he ended up hiring me,” she says.
Before long, she was sent to a work on a prestigious project designing the database for the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services. After finishing that project, she went to Denver to work on an oil and gas company’s large-scale design.
In 1984 the couple returned and Anne launched ADP (Anne Dupuis Pyle) Consulting, a software development and training company. At the time, Lafayette was going through an oil bust. “Even though it was a depression around here by 1987, I did pretty well,” Pyle recalls.
She attributes ADP’s success to her mentor, Dr. James Oliver, a USL computer science professor who introduced her to the BITS (Business & Industry Training Services) program. For 10 years, Pyle taught evening classes through BITS. “It got me in the door with people who thought, How can this young woman know anything about computers?'” she says.
In the ’80s, Pyle joined the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce – the beginning of Pyle’s many firsts in Acadiana. In the mid-80s she became the first president of Connections Professional Women’s Networking Organization. In 1999, Pyle was named as Lafayette General Medical Center’s first chief information officer. During her tenure, she put an electronic medical records system in place – long before the federal government’s mandate. By then, the Pyles’ daughter, Lucie, had one year of middle school left. “I was missing everything, and I wanted to be part of her life,” she explains.
In June, she launched Business Informatics. “When I go into a company, I want to know about the company and the people,” Pyle explains. “So, I want to know, What are your goals? What are your challenges?'”
Her goal is to have a good relationship with her clients and provide good service. “I want to help companies make a difference,” she says. “I just want to seek out good relationships with companies that I can really help.”
Article originally featured in A-Biz Top 50 Privately Held Businesses issue on July 22, 2014.