School of Information Technology alumnus Mark Cyphert ’81 was honored with induction into the CAST Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Each year, the College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) recognizes some of its most successful alumni by induction into the CAST Hall of Fame. Nominations can be based on outstanding performance in one’s profession; demonstrated leadership in one’s profession or the community; outstanding service to the institution; and statewide, national, or international recognition.
Mark Cyphert grew up in Central Illinois and the Chicago suburbs. His interest in technology began in high school where he was given the opportunity to attend programming classes through a partnership with a local junior college. Cyphert graduated from Illinois State University in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in applied computer science and a minor in business.
Cyphert started his career as a mainframe programmer with Square D Co. and then joined Official Airlines Guide, a subsidiary of Dun & Bradstreet. Over the next six years, he learned the technical aspects of the airline scheduling and fare calculations as a programmer analyst; the importance of quality, emphasized while “on call” on nights and weekends; and through excellent mentorship, the value of continuous learning. During that period, Cyphert earned an MBA at Loyola University, and through his MBA network, became aware of opportunities in the management consulting profession.
In 1988 Cyphert joined Touche Ross, now known as Deloitte. Deloitte provided him with countless opportunities to learn: new industries and business models, large-scale systems and operational transformations, mergers and acquisitions, change management, and process and organizational design. In 1998, he was admitted into the Deloitte partnership, and over the next 11 years, he served clients in the financial services industry.
In 2008 Cyphert joined one of his client’s organizations, Protective Life, as chief information officer. Three years later, he was promoted to chief information and operations officer. His current responsibilities span an employee base of 1,800 where he is responsible for enterprise technology and shared services, and business operations for the life and annuity division, including customer onboarding, policyholder services, and claims. He also plays a key role in the organization’s mergers and acquisitions business.
Cyphert currently serves on the board for ProEquities Inc., and the audit committee for United Way of Central Alabama, and previously served on the Illinois State University’s School of Information Technology’s Business and Industry Advisory Council, and as president of a private elementary school board. He resides in Naperville, Illinois, and Birmingham, Alabama. Cyphert and his wife, Judy, have two daughters, Michelle and Elizabeth.