Uriah Hakala

Occupation: Director - Worldwide Professional Services and Support, Kapow Technologies

First Car: Dodge Colt. A 4-dr sedan in a pasty beige color, with a powerful 68hp engine!

Favorite Restaurant: Chicago Chop House - Chicago, IL. and SW Steakhouse at the Wynn - Las Vegas, NV.

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

a). My middle name is ‘Motek’, it’s a family name passed down.  It means ‘Sweetie’ in Hebrew (keep the laughter to yourself!) Also, my surname is Finnish, which should be evident when you look at my picture.  Over the phone, however, I’ve had people assume I was everything from Hawaiian to Indian, with various other nationalities in between.

b). I used to run a computer BBS system, back in the days of 2400 baud modems.  I can’t believe how many hours I wasted on that.

c). I survived a head-on car accident when I was 16, and luckily managed to escape with just a 1.5” scar between my eyes, where my head hit the steering wheel.  No airbags, of course, but the Dodge Colt (same one as above) was totaled.  If they say everyone has one near-death experience in their life, I’m glad to have gotten mine out of the way early!

What's been your greatest adventure in life?

I’d consider myself lucky to be able to have taken advantage of the ‘side benefits’ of a career revolving around travel.  All of the places I’ve been were great, but I think the most unique has been Bali.

What's your best childhood memory?

Playing baseball with my dad.  We had a diamond a block from our house, so we’d go over there and he’d pitch to me for a couple of hours.  I never could hit one all the way out, but I came close.

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

Leonardo da Vinci.  I don’t think there was ever someone so versatile in their abilities. I would love to get insight into how he looked at the world.

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

I think this is all relative, as I feel I’ve had a pretty lucky upbringing and haven’t really had to face any ‘real’ challenges.  Maybe the biggest will be upcoming… having to raise children.

Tell us about your favorite hobby.

Most of my free time seems to revolve around computers or video games, although I do try to go to the gym 4-5 times a week to help clear my head.

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

I’ve had it sitting around for a couple of years, but I just finished reading “The Wal-Mart Effect” by Charles Fishman.

However, since you offered the opportunity for a shameless plug, my favorite book is…

“Mona and Uriah’s Guide to Planning a Destination Wedding“

You can find it on Amazon.com.

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

I’d love to go on a safari in Africa to see the Big 5.

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

One that would allow underprivileged children the ability to go to college.  I think education is really the strongest driver for success in our country, and many qualified people just can’t go because of the economics of it.

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

I could never see myself holding a ‘regular’ 9-5 job.  Being a bartender on an island in the South Pacific would suit me just fine!

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

I started with PeopleSoft Consulting right out of college.  I definitely wasn’t really sure what exactly I was getting into, but ended up getting hooked immediately.

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

Try to look into what the customer is saying and truly understand the business problems they are trying to solve.  Most of the time they don’t really know exactly what they need either, and your challenge is to figure that out.  Also, remember that technology always changes but the core competencies of a good consultant have stayed the same for a long time.