emYOU! Alumni Spotlight: Allen D. Fazio

Mar 22 2011 in emYOU! by Tim Adkins (admin)

by Ryan M. Place

"My life’s trajectory was changed dramatically by EMU professors, faculty and staff"

Some EMU grads stay in Michigan. Others, like 1989 EMU Homecoming King Allen Fazio, head west to fulfill their dreams. Born in 1966 in Ann Arbor, Fazio grew up in Westland, Mich. and graduated from EMU in December 1989 with a B.A. in Accounting Information Systems. Fazio is now vice president of global business technology strategy for Disneyland resort in Anaheim, California, but fondly recalls his EMU days.

“I was Resident Advisor for four years at Best Hall. We trained in crisis-management, negotiations and dealt with kids from different backgrounds.  I loved being in the dorms and living on campus. It really immerses you in the full college experience,” he says.

Fazio received many scholarship offers but didn’t want to be just another face in the crowd at a bigger university. “I liked the size of EMU’s campus. They have the right balance of students to professors. My life’s trajectory was changed dramatically by EMU professors, faculty and staff—especially Professor Kruse. You really get to know your professors at EMU. She taught accounting and helped me switch majors and get hired with a public accounting firm. I graduated December 22 and was hired for work January 7,” he says.

On getting hired into Disney, Fazio explains, “Disney was looking for internal systems auditors in Florida, and they have a great reputation for advancing auditors, so, in 1993, I jumped at the chance and have been thrilled to work for Disney ever since.”

“Management Audit is the best way to learn the inner-workings of a company, and the great thing about Disney is that it’s many businesses rolled into one. I went from logistics to retail, […] to food and beverage.”

Fazio then became IT Director for Disney Cruise Line.

“In 1999, I was the brand new IT Director for Disney Cruise Line and, while on a celebrity cruise, found out, thanks to Hurricane Floyd, that saltwater and computers are not a good combination. Disney owns its own private island in the Bahamas called Castaway Cay, [which is] reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise guests, and our executive leadership team had to rebuild the cruise ship’s entire technology on the small, deserted island,” he says.

In 2005, Fazio started working for Disneyland Resort and became VP of Global Business Technology Strategy, which is his current role. He is responsible for overseeing the application of emerging global technologies to the theme park business.

Fazio loves his job, saying, “Disney is loaded with talented people who love to be here, which makes it fun to come into work every day. Disney has five locations: Anaheim, Orland, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo, so our perspective is global, and we focus on strategy across the world.”

Disneyland Resort in Anaheim encompasses two theme parks (Disneyland and Disney California Adventure), three hotels (Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian and Spa and Paradise Pier Hotel) and the Downtown Disney retail, entertainment and dining district.

Fazio says that the next new attractions on the horizon for Disney are a new vacation club property in Hawaii and a forth cruise ship, the Disney Fantasy.

“Millions of people have visited Disneyland annually since Walt Disney opened it in 1955 as a safe, clean place where families can spend time together and create lasting memories, and the best part about my job is the ability to see what we do come to life,” says Fazio. “I build systems in the IT industry, and getting to see them deployed and impacting the business, manifesting themselves in an amazing environment, makes it very worthwhile.”

In his rare leisure hours, Fazio enjoys outdoor activities such as mountain biking, jet skiing, snow skiing and golfing. He is married with three kids and loves spending time with the family outdoors.

Sky Dive Tecumseh