Wichita, Kan.—(March 22, 2019)—High Touch Technologies is excited to introduce its new President and CEO, Derrick Nielsen. This news comes off the heels of President and CEO Wayne Chambers’ retirement announcement on March 8, 2019 after 15 years at the helm.
Nielsen’s official start date is scheduled for April 15, 2019. Chambers will continue his role alongside Nielsen through the end of April to ensure a smooth and effective transition.
Selecting the Next Leader for High Touch
It may seem like a quick decision following Chambers’ retirement announcement, but High Touch’s board of directors have been working with Chambers on a succession plan for the past couple of years.
Nielsen is no stranger to High Touch or many on the company’s leadership team. High Touch was a long-term client during his sixteen-year consulting career. He designed and led the company’s strategic planning process from 2009-2014, helping the organization create a vision and strategy to grow and diversify its business. He worked closely with Chambers and the company’s senior leaders as the organization transformed itself into a diversified technology solutions provider.
According to board Chairman and former High Touch President and CEO Lyle Jones, “It’s an exciting time for High Touch. The company has grown so much. I’m excited to see how Derrick’s leadership drives High Touch’s growth into the future.”
Introducing Derrick Nielsen
Nielsen arrives at High Touch following four years as Vice President of People Operations and a member of the executive team at Charles Machine Works, a leading equipment and solutions provider to the underground construction industry. Prior to joining the company as a full-time employee, he also designed and led their strategic planning process for nine years as an outside consultant. During this time, Charles Machine Works has experienced tremendous growth and diversification, expanding well beyond it largest and most well-known brand Ditch Witch to become a family of seven strategically-aligned companies.
“My passion has always been strategy,” Nielsen says. “I love the process of getting people behind a clear, shared and compelling vision of the future. I believe employees don’t just want a paycheck, they want to believe that their hard work makes a difference in their company, and ultimately, in the world. I’m honored and excited to have a chance to work alongside High Touch’s 170 employee-owners to do just that.”
Nielsen’s consulting work with High Touch and Charles Machine Works came during his ten years as Vice President of Organizational Development at Allen, Gibbs and Houlik (AGH) in Wichita. His practice focused primarily on strategic planning and leadership development, working with organizations from a broad range of industries, including telecommunications, manufacturing, construction, banking, technology, not-for-profits and various trade and industry associations. In fact, Nielsen already enjoys strong relationships with some of High Touch’s key customers and community partners from his consulting days.
“Derrick seems like a great fit for High Touch,” says Michael Monteferrante, Board Chair of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce and President and CEO of Envision, a key High Touch customer, as well as a former client of Nielsen’s. “He’s a great strategist, as well as a respected leader in the Wichita business community. He aligns well with High Touch’s customer-focused approach and their commitment to be a great corporate citizen.”
Nielsen also serves on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas and Harper Industries, a growing diversified manufacturer in Harper, Kansas. He has been an active member of the Wichita Chamber, including facilitating past planning efforts. He is also a past chair, trustee, facilitator and participant of Leadership Wichita. Prior to starting his business career, Nielsen served on Bishop Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, worked in the Washington office of former U.S. Representative Dan Glickman and spent a year as a volunteer teacher in a rural South African high school.
“We’ve been working on this transition plan for years,” states Chambers. “Derrick will fit with the team and continue to be a community supporter which is meaningful to High Touch and its employees.”
Nielsen will work with Chambers through a month-long transition period, meeting with High Touch’s market teams in Corpus Christi, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and San Antonio. Chambers will also introduce Nielsen to many High Touch clients and important stakeholders. Chambers believes working alongside Nielsen will help align his outside perspective with the strategic initiatives already being implemented by the company’s strong leadership team. Following Nielsen’s onboarding, Chambers will continue to serve on High Touch’s board of directors.
“As a business executive and a consultant to a wide variety of companies, I’ve seen how technology is transforming value creation in all industries. Technology isn’t simply an expensive infrastructure investment anymore,” explains Nielsen. “It’s not just desktops and servers. Technology is increasingly central to product design, solutions delivery and effective operations. High Touch is uniquely positioned to be a trusted partner to its customers as they navigate the digital revolution. We can help them identify and implement the software, technology and communication solutions that reinvent their business strategies. I can’t think of a more rewarding or exciting opportunity.”
About High Touch Technologies
High Touch delivers client-tailored software, technology and business communication solutions that solve unique challenges in any industry. With key strengths in rent-to-own, healthcare, manufacturing, non-profit, professional services and utilities, High Touch helps businesses grow by expanding their technology and communications capabilities.
High Touch brings the human touch to technology, serving business clients with IT solutions, software solutions, security solutions, business communications and website services. Based in Wichita, Kan., High Touch has offices in Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Corpus Christi and San Antonio.
For additional information on High Touch Technologies, visit www.hightouchtechnologies.com.