The research into new technologies, its application into classroom instruction, and business and group leadership skills were precisely what I needed to excel at IBM.
John P. McDonald
Computer and Information Technology '95
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John P. McDonald

Computer and Information Technology '95
Rational Brand Technical Executive for IBM Corporation

Thanks to a Commodore 64 computer, John McDonald has had an extremely successful career at IBM Corporation. Since that fateful purchase in 1984, John has been interested in a career that involves computers, and Purdue’s College of Technology offered the right mixture of business and technology to help him set a trajectory for success.

John started at IBM while he was still a Purdue student in 1989 and began his full-time employment in March 1995 as a local software marketing leader. He has held positions as a technical specialist for OS/2 and technical leader for Windows NT software sales. John managed the first Software Architect team, helping it to grow to more than 500 practitioners worldwide.

He then turned his attention to building a network of facilities and support for more than 3,500 software technical salespeople in the Americas. He leads all of the Americas technical sales team for IBM’s Rational software brand, which focuses on development and software lifecycle management tools.

He has been honored by IBM three times as a top leader from around the world. IBM has been a leader in giving to Purdue. John’s favorite experience as an alumnus was the announcement of IBM’s gift of hardware, software, and educational tools to Purdue and the College of Technology.

History is his main side interest. He wrote the book Lost Indianapolis in 2002 and is working on a detailed history of the defunct Indianapolis-based restaurant chain Burger Chef.

He and his wife, Tamara, reside in Fishers, Indiana, with their three children.

This was originally written for the Distinguished Technology Alumni Awards in 2007.