Adam Duquaine goes from Eau Claire Alumnus to CIO

Duquaine shares his journey to how he become CIO of Menards

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Duquaine said the key to success if perseverance and to have a realistic career goal

Adam Duquaine, a member of the UW-Eau Claire class of 2001 was named Chief Information Officer of Menards in May.

Tony Keys, chair of the information systems department, said he’s only met Duquaine recently, but is proud of Duquaine’s accomplishments.

“We’re very proud of our alumni and are delighted to hear of Adam’s success,” Keys said. 

Duquaine started at UW-Eau Claire undeclared, but was interested in a career in computer sciences.

“As much as I enjoyed 1’s and 0’s, I found I really enjoyed the business impact computers could have,” Duquaine said. “After I went down the path of the management information systems major, I found what I was looking for and really got to apply both.”

Keys said this major has been offered at UW-Eau Claire since 1980, though it was renamed from management information systems to information systems in 2006.

“The major has a mix of business and information systems courses and prepares students for a wide variety of contemporary professional roles,” Keys said.

Duquaine said he got a summer job at Menards after a girl he’d met on a blind date — his future wife — convinced him to stay in Eau Claire for the summer.

He worked in the distribution center that summer, then later in receiving throughout his time in Eau Claire, also getting a part-time computer operating position.

After his graduation in 2001, Duquaine was able to get a programming position which he said really started his career.

“Once I really learned how vast IS was at Menards I was pretty hooked. I quickly found I could work with a variety of diverse systems all within the same company,” Duquaine said. “That leads to opportunities to grow into management roles and to keep finding new ways for IS to help Menards grow.”

Over the next two decades, Duquaine received several promotions in different IS departments, before becoming the CIO.

As CIO, Duquaine is responsible for all planning, organizing, implementation and execution of all IS functions at Menards.

“My main focus for our IS team is to deliver business value quickly and efficiently through collaboration and technology while continuing to drive an IS culture that can create, scale and transform as fast as our retail, manufacturing and logistics needs demand,” Duquaine said.

When offering advice to UW-Eau Claire students, Duquaine said the key to success is perseverance.

“The only time anything is a true failure is if you don’t learn something from it, pick yourself back up, and move forward. True, lasting success takes time…a lot of time,” Duquaine said. “Build a strong career foundation and don’t sacrifice long-term goals for short-term gains.”

He also said it’s important to keep an open mind. Knowledge gained throughout a person’s education can be applied to many different careers.

“Find a passion for your career but make sure it has a realistic career path that can support your desired lifestyle,” Duquaine said. “In the words of George Burns: ‘It is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.’”

Stein can be reached at [email protected]