Occupation: VP Professional Services, ProjectLocker / One Percent Software
First Car: 1996 Dodge Stratus Sedan
Favorite Restaurant: Garrison's - Atlanta, GA - it's just a consistently strong restaurant with great steaks, pleasant atmosphere, and good service.
What are three things most people don't know about you?
a). I love to sing (which I didn’t know either until a few years ago)
b). I love skiing
c). I almost never watch a movie twice
What's been your greatest adventure in life?
Probably stepping out on my own and starting this company.
What's your best childhood memory?
The day my dad let me skip school and spend the day with him at Road Atlanta. We watched the cars and talked about everything.
If you could have a conversation with a person of your choice, past, present or future, who would that person be and why?
To be honest, probably the current Dalai Lama. He seems to be very accessible but has deep insights into the nature of human interaction.
What's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life?
It’s difficult to say. I can think of a couple of particularly difficult times during my college career or particularly difficult clients I’ve had that were coupled with towns or cities I would rather not have lived in, but I can’t think of one thing that stands out above all others.
Tell us about your favorite hobby.
Skiing is rapidly becoming my favorite hobby. It takes me out of my head and really helps realign my mind and body. Also, it’s just a lot of fun! The bonding with friends at apres ski or the lodge or cabin is equally exciting, bonding with good friends or soon-to-be-good friends over beverages, movies, and games is a wonderful way to spend a vacation evening.
What are you currently reading? What is your favorite book?
I just finished “Trouble on Triton” by Samuel Delany.
I’m currently reading “The Years of Rice and Salt” by Kim Stanley Robinson.
I’m also doing some comparative reading of the first four books of the New Testament at the moment. I don’t know if I have a single favorite, but I loved “Perdido Street Station” by China Mieville and I usually cite it if asked to pick one.
Is there a particular place or thing you want to see?
I’ve never been to Brazil or India and I’d like to go to both of those places. Seeing Israel and Dubai would also be interesting.
If you could give $10,000 to a charity, what would that charity be and why?
Duke University Talent Identification Program. It helps gifted kids get additional education that most schools don’t provide and provides a social setting where they can engage each other as equals and forge friendships that the social pecking orders of most schools may make more difficult. I encourage everyone to donate to the program, or if they have kids of age to attend, to look into it for their children.
If you weren't on the professional services career track, what would you be doing?
I’d probably have ended up in a software engineering group somewhere, or possibly doing research at a scientific facility.
What is the path that led you to Professional Services/Consulting?
I wanted to be an astrophysicist until 11th grade. I went to college thinking that I would become an aerospace engineer, but with the looming study of thermodynamics and differential equations, I realized that I enjoyed computers more and switched my major freshman year to Computer Science. I did an internship with Bell Labs where I analyzed a customer problem, devised a technical solution in conjunction with the customer, and presented the results. When I found out that there was a job where that was all you did for a living, I jumped on it. I’ve been a consultant my entire post-collegiate career.
What advice would you give to a recent graduate who just took a job in professional services?
Keep the customer informed, even when the situation is starting to not look so great. Most customers are willing to deal with any problems as long as their expectations are managed and they feel you’re honest with them. Managing expectations and keeping a spirit of transparency are the best things you can do for a customer relationship.