David Muskatel

Occupation: Managing Director US Technology Practice, Pitney Bowes Software

First Car: Saab 900. I loved that car, but it was in the shop a lot. I'm a Toyota fan now.

Favorite Restaurant: Tia Queta, Bethesda, MD. Great small local Mexican restaurant.

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

a). My first job in high school was working in a flea market on Long Island selling women’s clothing
b). I sold timeshares on the beach in Florida during college summer breaks
c). For 3 years I was a teaching assistant for a psychology course during college

What's been your greatest adventure in life?

Learning to surf in Hawaii.

What's your best childhood memory?

Driving to Florida for winter vacations. It was the best family time and always a sense of adventure. We loved the beach. Going on vacation with our children is the best memories I have over recent years.

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

It would be to spend another hour with my Dad who died suddenly 10 years ago.  I’d love to be able to tell him about my family. For famous people, it would be Ben Franklin.  He invented so many things while helping shape politics, it would be fascinating to see what he was like.

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

Being a parent.  It’s the most fun and rewarding thing I’ve ever done, but also the decisions can be much tougher than work.  At work there is more time to learn and handle the situation better the 2nd time around.  I’ve been working 20 years and still learning. With parenting the runway is much shorter and you want to get it right the first time.

Tell us about your favorite hobby.

I love to exercise, running a few times a week.  I never exercised until my late 30’s.  I figured this was the best way to stay healthy as I get older.  The most valuable thing you have is your health and that of your family, no amount of money can buy it back if you lose it.  Once I started for the health benefits, I got the bug for running and now enjoy it so much that I’m a big grumpy if I don’t get my run in to clear the mind.  It’s probably the only area where I consistently make time for myself.

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

Favorite book is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  I’m currently reading The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I frequently download audio books to my Ipod and listen while running, it’s a time saver and the only way I get through a full book these days.

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

I’d love to see the Middle East.  Seeing the Pyramids in Egypt, and archaeology in Israel would be fascinating.

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

I’d probably be closer to academics and teaching.  I’d also love to volunteer on the local ambulance squad and get more involved in political campaigns.  I think down the road these will all be good early retirement or pre-retirement activities, just not things that fit where I want to focus today.

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

In high school I signed up for programming classes during the usual morning ‘homeroom’ period to fit them into my schedule.  For college, the typical computer science or electrical engineering degree didn’t seem to fit what I wanted.  I found that Carnegie Mellon University had one of the first Information Systems degrees where previously Computer Science was typically the only option. In the 80’s, Oracle was doing heavy recruiting on campus and I was on a customer site a couple months after graduation.  Oracle was a great place to start in the 80’s as the company was growing so quickly, anyone who went the extra mile got additional responsibility very quickly.

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

First: Find a mentor.  Having a project manager or senior staff member who takes an interest in you to show you the ropes can be worth a lot.  Project leaders are grateful for those who go the extra mile to get a project done.  Hard work and dedication on your first projects is a great way to find such a mentor, they will often find you as they seek you out on their future projects.

Second: Remember that consulting is as much about the people as the technology.  You need to be a good communicator and build relationships with customers and peers in order to turn the technology into something valuable for the client.