Growing up in the 1970s, Chad Fitz has fond childhood memories of visiting the planetarium at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. It’s one of the things that got him interested in science as a child.
“As a child, I would love to go to UA Little Rock to visit the planetarium,” Fitz said. “It was quite the school trip. The planetarium was always a way for kids to connect the dots to science.”
Fitz, now a senior client relationship and delivery manager for FIS, is giving back to his alma mater and helping encourage math and science education through his work on the Dean’s Science Council.
Council members advocate on behalf of the UA Little Rock College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences and garner community support for science programs. Their efforts include raising funds for faculty and undergraduate research, the Fribourgh Award receptions, and the Science Olympiad.
Fitz has been volunteering with UA Little Rock since 2010, when he worked at Acxiom, which had a committee that partnered with the university.
“I am in an industry where it is really important for us to have close working relationships with the local universities, particularly in the area of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics),” Fitz said. “I have always had an interest to work closely with UA Little Rock, to work for opportunities for interns, to provide feedback in terms of what we are looking for in graduates. The Dean’s Science Council really fits in well with that.”
Fitz attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1990 and later earned a Master of Arts in Technical and Expository Writing in 1992. At UA Little Rock, his mentors were Pat Moore, associate professor of English, and Sally Crisp, assistant professor of social work.
Fitz feels that his UA Little Rock education, which provided a strong basis in both liberal arts and science and technology, helped him go far in his career. Thanks to the encouragement from his professors, he had good internships and graduated with a great portfolio.
“I would tell students to really think about where they want to end up in terms of a job and try to shape their curriculum to point them in that direction,” he said. “I would also recommend good internships. There is potential to turn an internship into a job, and for me that is an obvious progression. You’ve got something to put on a resume and you have built some contacts.”
He got his first full-time job at Biotechnical Services, Inc. in North Little Rock through an internship program at UA Little Rock and worked there while earning his master’s degree.
“I clearly remember that I liked writing and I liked technology. I wondered how I could put it all together,” Fitz said. “It was this connection to the notion of technical writing. All of a sudden there was a track of people who made a living by understanding complex things and writing about them. Pat Moore helped me tie these things together. Pat had applied experience in the field and created a curriculum based on industry knowledge and real-world examples that allowed me to develop and hone my skills to step into a commercial role and contribute right out of college.”
Fitz worked as a technical writer at Alltel Information Services, which later became FIS, and soon found himself immersed in the world of software development.
“I liked writing, but I was open to stepping into other roles,” Fitz said. “Then I started documenting systems but ultimately got involved in other areas of software development, such as project management, business analysis, and quality assurance. That’s where I got started. My background is in liberal arts, but most of my career has been in the sciences and technology. Coming into that field back then, the aspect of being able to communicate effectively, it was a good time to transition.”
In 2000, Fitz joined Acxiom, a global marketing technology and services company, as a business unit leader in software development, where he led development of a real-time marketing solution and successfully implemented it at key customer sites for the financial services industry.
He left Acxiom in 2012 as a vice president of product management and now works at FIS, where he is responsible for delivering digital banking services and operations for retail banking clients.
Fitz lives in Little Rock with his wife, Julie, and their children, Sullivan and Josie.