When Atlantic Mutual Cos. moved its back-office operations from New York to Roanoke, Va., in 1977, David Mitchell was working on school redistricting as a programmer for the Roanoke City schools.Tipped off by IBM Corp.'s local representative about Atlantic Mutual's plans, Mitchell jumped at the opportunity and was hired by the New York-based insurer as a senior programmer.

Fast forward to 2001. Mitchell, now 47 years old, has risen through Atlantic Mutual's ranks to become a senior vice president and head of information systems.

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