A CEO shares AI-driven strategy and insights—Schmidt Lecture Jan. 31

Bob Higgins, president and CEO of Barge Design Solutions, Inc., says the absence of a peer as an organization’s CEO is a void felt most often in tough decision-making and strategic planning.

Bob Higgins

“The development of LLMs is changing this dynamic. LLMs offer CEOs something unprecedented—a personal advisor and thought partner that can provide strategic insights and very important data-driven analysis,” Higgins said.

A large language model (LLM) is a specialized type of artificial intelligence that has been trained on vast amounts of text to understand existing content and generate original content. From marketing insights to human resources advice, the impacts of LLMs can equip small to mid-size businesses with the insights they need to excel in a competitive environment.

“This technology leap is akin to having an expert in the room, one that can shape its context to fit your unique situation and provide strategic insights across any C-suite role,” he said.

Higgins will deliver the School of Engineering’s 2024 Schmidt Family Digital Technologies Lecture – “LLMs: Empowering the C-Suite with an AI Driven Strategy and Insights” – on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 4 p.m. in Jacobs Believed in Me Auditorium (134 Featheringill Hall). A reception will follow in Adams Atrium, Featheringill Hall. The lecture is open to the public.

“As we look forward to the integration of LLMs into AI-assisted leadership, it comes with its own set of opportunities, risks and ethical considerations,” Higgins said. “Drawing from my own experience in leadership and embracing new technology, I envision a future where LLMs are integral to the strategic toolkit of every C-suite executive, empowering them to lead with greater insight, efficiency and foresight.”

Higgins, BE’97, has been with the firm since 1996 when he started as an intern following graduation from the Vanderbilt School of Engineering with a degree in civil engineering. He was named president and CEO in 2009. He is a member of the Vanderbilt School of Engineering’s Board of Visitors and has been named one of the Nashville Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs three times in a row. Higgins is a member of the National and Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE) as well as the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The focus of the Schmidt Family Digital Technologies Lectureship is to explore advances in digital learning and their applicability to innovation and practice in the Vanderbilt University School of Engineering. Douglas C. Schmidt, associate chair for computer science and professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and his parents, retired Navy Capt. Raymond P. Schmidt and Roberta R. Schmidt, created the lectureship.

Contact: brenda.ellis@Vanderbilt.edu