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Contract Employee Spotlight: Mike R., Release Manager

March 2018- Interview by Erica Woods, Manager of Contractor and Community Relations, Principal

What Our Clients Have to Say

Demonstrating a great work ethic, strong attention to detail, a positive attitude, extremely reliable and committed, constant helpful nature and the ultimate team player? That’s quite the mix of amazing traits in one person, but it exists in Mike, a Release Manager at an enterprise telecommunications provider. Here’s a snippet from a recent acknowledgement of Mike.

“Our Project Managers will actively seek out to be part of the workflows that Michael works on. He makes deployments fun and easy. How? First off, he works very hard before the deployment to make sure that everyone involved is on the same page. He has organized meetings, calls, and emails by the score. He also sets up the logistics. We know that we don’t need to set up SAP cancellation because we know that he already has.

But that is just the nuts and bolts side. Michael lifts our spirits and keeps them there even in the darkest and most dreary of deployments. His positive attitude shines through over the bridge and shines a light in the heart of all those involved. He brings energy to what is an otherwise draining experience, and when things get tense, his calm and positive voice soothes the rough edges. Not only is it a pleasure to work with Michael, we learn a lot from Michael. Thank you, Michael!” – Sr. Manager

We were able to do a Q&A with Mike to learn more about what has contributed to his career, his path, advice he has for others, and some additional fun facts!

  1. How do you maintain such a positive, can do attitude? I always remain focused on the solution! A positive attitude is extremely important! I have calls with 250+ people on some of them, so it’s imperative that you not only try to be your best, but you help others be their best as well. I build in some wit/jokes and do what I can to influence other people’s moods, and “lighten the load for everyone” by having a positive and optimistic attitude. I follow the mentality of “what you give is what you get!” One of my favorite audio books is ‘The Strangest Secret,’ which helped me to frame my positive thinking and influence how I motivate others.

  2. Was working in information technology always your goal? When did you realize you had an interest and a knack for it? My first career was actually semi-conductor process engineering, working with Manufacturing Technologists, and I got involved with training. Then I moved to a Business Process Architect on a wholesale team, which opened up my eyes to the world of IT. I became a Product Manager on the same team, then a Technical Delivery Manager, and then moved into Release Delivery, where I help release major changes/fixes into delivery.

  3. Tell us a little bit about any mentors who helped with growth and shaping your path. Did you seek them out, and if so, how? My family shaped me considerably, as several of them worked at the 2nd organization where I went. They loved the culture there, and so I wanted to work there because of that. It’s at that organization where I learned about different career paths. Also, so many individuals along the way who’ve shaped me. If I admire someone, I’ll muster the gusto and just go seek out advice/input. I’ll approach them with something informal like “I really like how you do this… How did you get to this point? How do you do this? What best practices do you recommend?” People shine with different things, and there’s so much you can learn from those around you, you just have to be bold and ask!

  4. Engaging in continuous training/development is especially instrumental with a technology career… What resources do you use for training? Any best practices around personal development? I’m very informal when it comes to training. I YouTube a lot of things. There’s endless training resources out there. There’s also a lot of resources and people in house. If you have a skill you want to learn, identify someone in your team/organization who has that skill and seek their advice. I also spend the first 10-15 minutes of my day listening to a short motivational/educational podcast or video!

  5. Outside of work/technology, what are some of your interests/passions? I played college football and a bit of arena football, and still love it. I now coach youth football. I’m one of the lead coaches for the 7-11 year olds for the Russell Wilson Football Academy. Coaching is inspiring, and it’s helped me with my overall communication, motivational and training skills in the workplace too!

  6. Do you have any recommendations on how people could grow their skill set outside the office? Identify a local association or MeetUp that’s focused on the skill set/technology you want to learn. Again, seek out an informal mentor and ask their advice around what they recommend based on what you want to learn.

  7. What advice do you have for entry-level professionals looking to land their first technology job? Understand “what is the business impact for this requirement (i.e. business drivers)?” Always focus on getting the big picture understanding of why they’re doing what they’re doing. Also, learn about the different methodologies/philosophies for how people do the type of work you’re interested in doing. Exhibit passion, be cordial, and be open! Never isolate yourself in the workplace, especially early on when part of your job is always learning. Lastly, acknowledge that you don’t know everything to yourself and constantly be picking the brains of more tenured folks.

Congratulations Mike, for being featured in our Contract Employee Spotlight and thank you for sharing your career advice with us!

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