Edwin Cole joined Honor Credit Union in Berrien Springs, Mich., in 2015 and has been the “technology ‘wizard behind the curtain’” ever since, says Ed Freed, vice president of information technology (IT) at the $1.3 billion asset credit union.
As assistant vice president of IT, Cole oversees IT infrastructure and cybersecurity. He’s responsible for the overall IT environment, including security, capital budget planning, and long-term strategic planning.
Cole ensures that Honor’s technology environment is secure and compliant, and meets members’ needs, Freed says. “Eddy’s wealth of knowledge and experience has allowed Honor to stay ahead of today’s ever-changing threat landscape. He has also run the IT Steering Committee meetings for the past few years and single-handedly owned all IT audits.”
Cole worked in multiple IT roles before Honor hired him as systems administrator. He later advanced to infrastructure assistant manager, where he oversaw the help desk and infrastructure teams.
He was promoted to infrastructure manager in 2016 and became assistant vice president of IT in 2019.
In 2021, Cole embarked on his journey toward becoming a certified information systems security professional.
“Earning this certification was a rewarding experience,” he says. “It pushed me to expand my understanding of cybersecurity and how it’s critical for making informed business decisions.”
He has also been a key participant in three mergers and the opening of 11 new branch locations.
“Each of these projects had unique challenges,” Cole says. “For example, we migrated six locations to Honor’s infrastructure in one weekend, which required phenomenal teamwork across the organization.”
Cole is grateful for the trust Honor’s leadership team showed in promoting him into a management role.
“This isn’t always a natural transition for technical folks,” he says. “Fortunately, I was surrounded by great mentors who guided me through the transition. Honor also invested in me through leadership programs and professional coaching. Looking back, I better understand the difference between thinking like a technician and thinking like a manager.”
Leadership also requires intentional relationship building, especially in hybrid or remote work environments.
“Connecting with your peers and your team is critical,” says Cole. “Just like a PC needs monthly patching, peer relationships need a maintenance schedule as well.”
“Eddy goes above and beyond to make sure the technology works,” says Chief Operations Officer Megan Hendrix. “Most of our members don’t realize how much work is being done because everything just works, and the technology keeps getting better.”