Who: Gordon Ballinger
Company: MapInfo Corp.
Has held title for: One year
Previous title: Director of integration programs
We all have bad days, but Gordon Ballinger's best days are disasters. When distress calls beckon at MapInfo Corp., Ballinger slips on his superhero suit (sports jacket and map-patterned tie), grabs a power drink (coffee, high-test), and helps federal, state, and local authorities access the information they need to recover quickly from calamities.
What's the biggest disaster you've ever mastered?
A serious ice storm that hit upstate New York. Thousands of people were without power. I helped the authorities obtain detailed maps of specific areas, and then I overlaid them with power-grid information from the electric company to determine who was in greatest need of electricity. I actually got to work in an underground bunker. It was very exciting.
Are you a superhero?
Yes! Let me get my cape! Actually, I can't wave a magic wand and suddenly make things right. My title relates more to my organizational skills. I help people visualize what needs to be done.
Are you always in control?
Sometimes I knock things over at work, and once I even kicked the phone wire out of the wall in the middle of an important conference call. So I have the reputation of being a walking disaster. I also tend to be a very animated speaker. I walk around and wave my arms a lot.
A version of this article appeared in the October 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine.