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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: December 9, 2002
Volume 38, Number 11


COE professor doubles as CEO

By Laurie Mellas-Ramirez

Mark SalisburyCapturing and leveraging intellectual capital using information management systems may sound like a scholastic exploit, but the man behind the effort is more than an academic.

Mark Salisbury, an associate professor of multimedia/instructional technologies in the College of Education and coordinator of the

Organizational Learning and Instructional Technologies (OLIT) Program, leveraged his skills to found a local business.

Salisbury practices what he teaches as CEO of Vitel, a knowledge management company developing web-based technologies that allow members of an organization to share data such as expert knowledge, training materials and internal documents.

Salisbury takes the same systematic approach to life as he does work.

“I liken it to a practicing heart surgeon,” he said. “I do heart surgery in the morning and then I teach in the afternoon. That helps me to be the teacher I want to be. I think that system is of value to the students, too.”

Managing and sharing the different kinds of information organizations have at hand is key to their success, he says. “It makes more sense to look at all the knowledge an organization possesses, not just documents. Sharing best practices, for example.”

Vitel employs 16, several whom are UNM graduates. The company has several major contracts, including some with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Sandia National Laboratories.

The company recently completed a three-year, $1 million plus Department of Energy (DOE) and LANL training project. Vitel developed a common product realization process that could be shared and adopted by DOE’s some 4,000 employees.

LANL also directly approached Vitel about two years ago to develop a management information system for its Directed Research and Development Program. “The system will manage information from the pre-proposal process to the reporting results stage. This is substantial because the program manages more than 250 projects a year at a cost of about $100 million,” he said.

Before coming to UNM in 1996, Salisbury worked at The Boeing Company for 11 years helping to make the company’s computers more intelligent. He worked on the Triple Seven project, the world’s first airplane to be completely computer designed.

As a professor, he puts his background to work in the classroom teaching and developing courses in management knowledge systems and instructional system design. In 1997, Salisbury initiated discussions with Boeing to identify ways OLIT could collaborate on programs and projects.

Graduate students blend OLIT courses with those offered through Anderson schools and communication.

“Just coming up with a computer system isn’t going to solve problems. The system has to help facilitate solving those problems and the computer is merely the tool,” Salisbury said. “We train people to go out and help organizations work more effectively. Developing information management systems is a new and emerging profession.”