Director of Architecture & Engineering, David, explains the job functions of his team and emphasizes the massive talent and expertise it takes to accomplish what they have.
David is a huge asset to GFI Digital. He manages the Advanced Technology Services (ATS) organization. The size and talent of this team are unmatched. They are essential in this business. Networking, data center, security, backup and disaster recover, & cloud services, are just some of the solutions they provide.
When asked about his team, David explains, “We not only do the design work for our customers, but also a ton of project management for some. The sales teams, architects, and project managers all work together to make the process as smooth as possible.” He says the ATS team is more than capable of building an efficient project plan and managing it throughout its lifespan.
The core team of engineers are tasked with designing, implementing, and maintaining systems for customers. “When you look at it from an architectural standpoint, what we do is take the information from the customer and design a solution to fit their needs. We even propose 2 or 3 different options, if they prefer. The architects bring multiple possibilities to the table whether it involves HPE, Dell, Cisco, or any other manufacturers,” David explains.
The range and flexibility of this team is quite impressive. “We have customers where we bring a whole project team to the table to manage everything,” David says. The team has big project plans for 2022 and the project management team will be essential in accomplishing everything.
The ATS team spends a lot of time with GFI Digital’s customers. The relationship continues well after the design and sale are complete. “We are in constant contact with our customers. They know if they have a need, they can reach out at any time,” David adds. After the solutions deployment team installs the designs made by the architects, some locations we service still have engineers on site on a weekly basis, if necessary.
When asked about his role in all this, David explains that he tries to act not only as a manager, but as a mentor. He says, “A lot of my job is being the go-to person to help remove any roadblocks. I am there to provide the tools, resources, and information needed to get the job done.”
David emphasizes the importance of retaining good talent and making efforts to ensure every employee is enjoying what they are doing. “We try to keep the environment light, fun, and energized. We love to see our engineers excited about the technologies they get to work with every day,” he says. Keeping everyone engaged and maintaining comradery is how he runs his department. With over 30 years in the technology industry, David has the knowledge and skills to manage this team extremely well.
David talks about how the technology industry is constantly changing and it’s important to keep up. He says “Every day brings something new to the table and life is a never-ending learning process. If you stop learning, you stop living. I want to be learning something new every day and mentor my team to do the same.” David emphasizes that there are so many new things to learn every day and there’s no reason for anyone to get stagnant.
David recognizes that his team has an abundance of talent. He makes it a point to constantly reach out for feedback and really make everyone feel part of the team. At the end of the day, it’s important that they are satisfied in what they are doing and feel like they are given opportunities to grow. He says “My success is derivative of their success. I can’t be successful in my position if the team is not able to get their jobs done.”
This mindset is especially important when the team has to tackle a complicated project. When David was asked to provide an example of this, he thought of a project the ATS team implemented at several of a customer’s Ohio locations. He says, “Engineers were on site for a week and 12 engineers were involved. They put in a lot of hours, but the project was exciting. They implemented an entire system overhaul for a company in 3 days. Accomplishing projects like this and seeing a satisfied customer is a huge win for this team.”
This project involved replacing the company’s entire computer infrastructure, network, server infrastructure, and every end-user device associated with these locations. Everything was pre-staged and prepared to best streamline the project and be efficient enough to accomplish all this over one 3-day weekend so the employees of the company could be back to work on Monday. Everything was done quickly to minimize the downtime of the business. This took dedication from the project managers, deployment engineers, and solutions architects and engineers. “Everyone was working together to prepare for this project and it was great seeing it all come together. Even with all the preparation, things always have to be changed on the fly and they did a great job handling this,” David adds.