Brad Cowles is president of Core & Main, a leading distributor of waterworks and fire protection infrastructure products in the U.S, with net sales of $5.0 billion in fiscal 2021. Cowles leads several areas for the Company, including fire protection, water and wastewater supply, smart meters and geosynthetics and erosion control. Cowles was named chief operating officer of HD Supply Waterworks and Fire Protection in 2017 and helped carve out the division to become its own company, in partnership with private equity. Rebranded as Core & Main in late 2017, the company has experienced tremendous growth and became a publicly traded company (NYSE: CNM) in July 2021. Core & Main now employs 4,100 associates in 300 locations. Cowles has more than 25 years of leadership experience in growth-focused organizations. He joined HD Supply in 2005 to lead the information technology integration of more than 30 acquired companies, followed by a divestiture carve-out of the entire business from The Home Depot, and an eventual IPO. He progressed through a series of leadership roles including divisional chief information officer (CIO) for three business units, and ultimately, CIO of HD Supply. In 2016, Brad was recognized with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Year Award from the Georgia CIO Leadership Association. Prior to joining HD Supply, Cowles spent 10 years with Michelin in the U.S. and France where he gained experiences in research and development, quality and manufacturing.
Neal Sample was most recently EVP & Chief Information Officer and leads the Technology function at Northwestern Mutual. His key areas of accountability include technology strategy; data and analytics; enterprise information risk and cybersecurity; digital workplace solutions; and the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute. Prior to acquisition by Cigna, Sample was executive vice president, chief operating officer at Express Scripts where he was responsible for operations, technology, and enterprise transformation. He aligned overall information technology strategy and performance with pharmacy processing and fulfillment in order to create synergies that drove improvements to the member and client experiences