APRO associate member High Touch Technologies announced its new President and CEO, Derrick Nielsen, last week. The news comes off the heels of President and CEO Wayne Chambers‘ retirement announcement APRO reported on March 14 after his 15 years at the helm.
Nielsen is no stranger to High Touch or the many on the company’s leadership team. High Touch was a long-term client during his sixteen-year consulting career. He designed and led the company’s strategic planning process from 2009-2014, helping the organization create a vision and strategy to grow and diversify its business. He worked closely with Chambers and the company’s senior leaders as the organization transformed itself into a diversified technology solutions provider.
Nielsen arrives at High Touch following four years as Vice President of People Operations and a member of the executive team at Charles Machine Works, a leading equipment and solutions provider to the underground construction industry. Before joining the company, he also designed and led their strategic planning process for nine years as an outside consultant. “My passion has always been
Nielsen’s consulting work with High Touch and Charles Machine Works came during his ten years as Vice President of Organizational Development at Allen, Gibbs and Houlik [AGH] in Wichita. His practice focused primarily on strategic planning and leadership development, working with organizations from a broad range of industries, including telecommunications, manufacturing, construction, banking, technology, not-for-profits, and various trade and industry associations. Nielsen already enjoys strong relationships with some of High Touch’s key customers and community partners from his consulting days.
Nielsen also serves on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas and Harper Industries, a growing diversified manufacturer in Harper, Kansas. He has been an active member of the Wichita Chamber, including facilitating past planning efforts. He is also a past chair, trustee, facilitator and participant of Leadership Wichita. Prior to starting his business career, Nielsen served on Bishop Desmond Tutu’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, worked in the Washington office of former U.S. Representative Dan Glickman and spent a year as a volunteer teacher in a rural South African high school.
“We’ve been working on this transition plan for years,” states Chambers. “Derrick will fit with the team and continue to be a community supporter which is meaningful to High Touch and its employees.”
Nielsen will work with Chambers through a month-long transition period, meeting with High Touch’s market teams in Corpus Christi, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, and San Antonio. Chambers will also introduce Nielsen to many High Touch clients and important stakeholders. Chambers believes working alongside Nielsen will help align his outside perspective with the strategic initiatives already being implemented by the company’s strong leadership team. Following Nielsen’s onboarding, Chambers will continue to serve on High Touch’s board of directors.