Chuck D'Antonio

Occupation: Head Concierge (Senior Director, Professional Services) Acquia, Inc.

First Car: 1978 Buick LeSabre. "It was only a two door, but it was 17 feet long!"

Favorite Restaurant: Arrows, Ogunquit, ME

What are three things most people don't know about you?

a). I’m a fire buff
b).  I wrote nearly 200 pages of a novel in junior high school.  I have no idea what happened to my handwritten manuscript.
c). On the morning of my wedding, my best man and I waited in line to buy U2 tickets

What's been your greatest adventure in life?

Parenthood continues to be the greatest adventure of my life, from the first stressful weekend while my wife was in labor to the time I spent getting the kids out of the house this morning.  I’m excited every day to see what my kids are thinking and learning.

What's your best childhood memory?

The night my sister was born.  I was fourteen years old and had been an only child to that point.  My parents had left for the hospital only 45 minutes earlier, and the call waiting rang with my father on the other end.  He told me I had a new baby sister and I ran downstairs to tell my grandmother.
Since it had been so little time and she hadn’t heard the phone, she didn’t believe me.

My mother had had a crash C-section but both of them were all right.  I’ll never forget the tone of my father’s voice, elated that everything turned out OK.

If you could have a conversation with a person of your choice, past, present or future, who would that person be and why?

My maternal grandfather.  Knowing what he most valued in life, I think we would have some great conversations today and I’d learn a lot from getting to know him as an adult.

What's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life?

Held my grandmother’s hand while she died.

Tell us about your favorite hobby.

I love to cook, and to share what I prepare with others.  Even cooking a simple every day dinner can reduce my stress.  I try to use local and seasonal ingredients, and have the most fun when I stretch myself with new recipes and techniques.  I believe in doing everything from scratch, and have even tried my hand at making my own butter, cheese, and other basic ingredients.

What are you currently reading? What is your favorite book?

I’ve gotten into a terrible habit of starting several books at once.  I’m currently reading the following:

    * Getting Real by 37signals
    * Empire Falls by Richard Russo
    * Papal Sin by Garry Wills
    * The Ruby Programming Language by David Flanagan & Yukihiro Matsumoto
    * Pro Drupal Development by John VanDyk and Matt Westgate
    * What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

I’m focusing mostly on finishing Empire Falls.

My favorite book is The Godfather.  It’s not all “made him an offer he couldn’t refuse” there are a lot of lessons about life and relationships behind the mafia imagery.

Is there a particular place or thing you want to see?

I haven’t been to Italy, in spite of my heritage.  We have roots in Sicily and Abruzzo, and I’d love to see both with my father and son.  No one in our family has any contact with “old-country” relatives, and very few have made the trip.

If you could give $10,000 to a charity, what would that charity be and why?

The Make-A-Wish Foundation.  When I was in high school my girlfriend’s little sister was a Wish Kid.  They went to Disney World, and the effect it had on the entire family was amazing.

If you weren't on the professional services career track, what would you be doing?

There’s the “dream” answer and the practical answer.

Practically, I’d be in another sort of IT role, most likely at a University.

In my dreams, I’d have a small restaurant with twenty-five or fewer seats.  I’d establish relationships with local farmers to serve a small menu of seasonal, regionally-sourced dishes.

What is the path that led you to Professional Services/Consulting?

I originally got into PS because I noticed that consultants were working on all of the coolest projects at my employer.  I thought I’d do it for two or three years and then “settle down” into another full-time IT role.  On my first few projects, we implemented Internet capabilities and project methodologies for clients that had neither.  Watching them “get it” made the long hours and client challenges worth it.  That’s why I’m consulting, and I’ve become a manager to get that same feeling everyday with my team.

What advice would you give to a recent graduate who just took a job in professional services?

View every project as a chance to learn new things.  It may be your tenth implementation of the same basic use cases for you company’s product, but there’s always new things to learn if you look for them.  It might be new technical tricks, or techniques for dealing with clients, or, if you’re lucky, lessons about yourself.  If you can come out of every project just a little bit smarter than when you went in, you’ll have great success.