Keith McInish

Occupation: Vice President of Professional Services; Seagull Software

First Car: 1972 Fiat Sport Coupe

Favorite Restaurant: Joe's Stone Crab - Miami, FL

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

a).  I’m 6th of 7 children in my family, and all of us paid our own way through college to earn at least a bachelor’s degree
b) . My first job was as a dishwasher at the Ole South Barbeque at age 13, working for the princely sum of $1.50/hr!
c).  I can cross my eyes, and then move each one independently.

What's been your greatest adventure in life?

When I was 21, I hitchhiked 1,000 miles by myself to go visit a brother in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.  It took two days each way, and I met lots of interesting people along the way!

What's your best childhood memory?

The Christmas holidays when I was in grade school.  Seven of us (four of my siblings and my parents) would pile into the family car and drive five hours to see our grandparents and relatives in Birmingham, Alabama.  Both of my parents are also from large families, so there would be dozens of relatives to play with.  It really made the Christmas spirit come alive for us.

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

Michelangelo; I’m amazed at the perfection in his creations, whether painting, sculpture or architecture.

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

I paid for two of my years in college by working in the summer selling educational books door-to-door.  You would relocate to another part of the country with other students for the whole summer (in my case, the farmland of Illinois and Kentucky), and work alone 80 hours each week from the first day of summer until returning to school in the fall.  Very tough work, but you’d be amazed how many life lessons you can experience on the “bookfield”.

Tell us about your favorite hobby.

I love to travel and see new places (which of course comes in handy for a consultant).  I also enjoy scuba diving when I am able.

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

Currently reading “The Singularity is Near” by Ray Kurzweil.

I have lots of favorites, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be “Up from Slavery” by Booker T. Washington.  Written by a freed slave just over 100 years ago, I found it quite interesting how the turn of the century was seen through contemporary eyes, and was also inspired by the optimism and insight from this man who came from such humble beginnings.

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

Having just visited Rome, Italy for the first time last summer, I now would love to visit the Acropolis in Athens and walk in the steps of the founders of modern democracy and philosophy.

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

Habitat for Humanity.  Based on the simple principle that everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live and raise their family, they positively impact not only the new and first-time homeowners, but the entire community in which we all live.

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

Commercial airline pilot.

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

I was fascinated by technology all the way back in high school (when it was still known as data processing).  When I learned that you could actually make a living working with computers to solve complex equations and issues, my course was set.  Keep in mind that this was at a time when most computers still filled buildings, and the term “personal computer” hadn’t even been coined…

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

Always be learning.  Today’s expert is tomorrow’s dinosaur.  Technology is moving at an exponentially increasing pace, so you have to make it your mission to be hungry for new knowledge and experiences.  One thing that never changes though is the importance for integrity in what you do.  Always make it a point to deliver what you promise, when you promise.