Is this the coolest IT job in the world?

Rick Cano has recently been promoted to IT Director at Virgin Hotels. We caught up with him to find out more about how he landed one of the best IT jobs in the world.

Well done on your promotion, Rick. How did you get here?

Thank you kindly. It all started during the cold winter of 2014, when I walked into the pre-opening offices of Virgin Hotels Chicago. I met with the General Manager and Vice President of Operations to find out how Virgin was going to disrupt the hospitality market. As the conversation went on, I knew that I could use my talents to create something special here.

My view has always been focused on brand growth and the proper development of our technology structure. After a busy time in Chicago, I was offered the chance to join the corporate team and to continue driving our work at brand level.

What one thing has inspired you most to keep working for Virgin?

It’s definitely not just one single thing. I look forward to going to work every day, knowing that I’m part of an innovative team building the Virgin Hotels brand.

If you hadn’t got this job, did you have a back-up plan?

I would be a superhero – perhaps Iron Man? Just kidding. Maybe…

My back-up plan would have been to delve into software programming and data analytics with a focus on hospitality solutions. In my previous job with a different company, I built a software tool that performed root-cause analysis on key issues. A team was built around developing this tool and we were in the planning stage of creating an in-house app. This, along with a few other IT-related endeavours, were tucked up my sleeve.

If you didn’t have to work for a living, how would you spend your days?

I would learn more about renewable-energy solutions. I could see myself joining a team of people who have the same passion and sense of responsibility to drive the future of our planet towards a healthy environment.

What were you like in high school? Nerd? Jock? Joker? None of these…

In high school, I was all over the place, and I had friends who fell into each of those categories. I wouldn’t say I was ever truly just one of those because I dabbled in them all. I played on the high-school soccer team, I was active in the after-school programs, and I was in advanced math and science classes!

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Why do you love your job?

There are many reasons, but one in particular is the culture that Virgin creates. I recently went back to visit the hotel in Chicago after I had moved to Florida for my new position. When I entered my room, I discovered a shower filled with 400 Snoozys – a cute little foam sheep that is placed in each bathroom of all the guest rooms. They were hilariously piled on top of each other!

If we were to give you $100,000 to start a business (we’re not, by the way!), what would you create?

The Hoverboard. We really need to get this done and finally make Marty proud.

What’s your favourite meal?

As a Chicago native, I would choose deep-dish pizza on any single day!

Where will you be in 10 years’ time?

I want to be as happy as I am now. My career is important and I want to become a CIO within an innovative company. But work or money is less important than a happy life filled with family and friends.

Anything else you’d like to share?

You will never ever have a problem-free moment in life. So how do you move forward? You’ve got to work on yourself, and spend more time on developing you. Don’t go where the path may lead, but go where there’s no path. And leave a trail. You have power; you are fearless. Surround yourself with positive energy. Invest in yourself each day and keep your focus strong. You can make all the difference in the world if you focus on your world first.


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