Job description: President & COO, Cinesite

Breakthrough: Becoming the company’s prexy in a field mostly dominated by male technophiles

In the works: Creating an environment aiming for the next level creatively, technically and financially, while working on such films as “Mothman Prophecies,” “Time Machine” and “Road to Perdition.”

Rewind about 25 years and you would find this highly experienced, high-powered executive asking for your money as a toll-taker on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. That’s because Ruth Scovill couldn’t find a job as an art teacher after college. Now she wants your f/x and post business at Hollywood-based Cinesite, a subsidiary of Kodak.

She’s been getting a lot of business since taking over in March 2000, after running tech for DreamWorks animation. This year, Scovill has overseen effects for 18 films including “Ocean’s 11,” “Ali,” “Rush Hour 2” and “Training Day.” In a ravaged economy, sales at Cinesite are up 20% this year.

Scovill’s philosophy of success involves surrounding herself with great people with good instincts and letting them do their jobs. She’s done just that as VP of Emerging Production Technologies for Viacom’s MTV Networks, where she developed and ran a computer graphics division that brought real-time 3D animation and virtual sets to MTV shows. That was after stints as VP of Digital and Studio Operations for Digital Domain and as a producer for Time/Life video. She started off her career in scheduling at a Bay Area video production company, after hanging up her toll-taker’s uniform.

Cinesite lured her from DreamWorks with the Holy Grail of melding technology, creativity and her business sense. “I was given the opportunity to try out ideas I’ve had for years on how to run a company,” she says.