MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Doug King

Our new spotlight blog series aims to highlight our employees and consultants outside of the office. Today we get to know Doug King, who is much more than just an Account Executive in our Phoenix office.

MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Doug King

Tell me a little about yourself.
Just before I joined the priesthood...Wait, no...Let me start from the beginning.
I was born just outside of Detroit, Michigan (Eminem used my life story for 8 Mile), but soon thereafter, moved out of the snow to sunny Mesa, Arizona. Besides a quick 5-year stint in Los Angeles, I have lived in the Phoenix area most of my life. I met my wife Rebecca at ASU (in a bar, of course – very classy) and we now have two boys (Carson, 14 & Ryan, 12) and a girl (Audrey, 9) who all see me as not only full-time chauffeur, but “that guy who approves App purchases” on their iPads. It’s a niche that I embrace. I placed Rebecca on contract at Wells Fargo in 2004 (very small margin btw). And after 10 years she has decided to take a new position with GM as Technology Manager and “person who gets Doug in the door at GM”.

Favorite job you’ve ever had?
One of my favorite jobs was touring as a standup comedian. When I lived in L.A., I toured the country performing at clubs, colleges, casinos, etc. It was one of the best times of my life. I performed improv, did voice-over work, emceed, and acted in commercials. I still do voice work for some friends who host a morning radio show here in the valley and I do occasional commercial work and emcee gigs. Although, since I’ve added this awesome, but subtle 2nd chin, the work has been scarce.Doug King Acting Headshot, 1997

At the same time, comedy also had its downside. I did a gig for 800 people at a 20-year class reunion in Downey, CA where nobody heard a word I said, as they just kept talking over me. And I performed my first paying gig at a steakhouse in Lompoc, CA where there were only two people (half the population of Lompoc) in the audience, and the lights were so bright I couldn’t even see them. Talk about brutal. I was even yanked off the stage once, which my therapist seems tired of discussing.

What are some things people might not know about you?
I walked on to the Arizona State University swim team as a skinny, unrecruited freshman, but ended up as an All-American ASU record holder, ranked 18th in the world, and in the Top 25 Fastest Americans of all time in the 100M Backstroke. I’ve gained 25 pounds since then, I take naps, my hair is receding, I only shave my legs on Tuesday nights, and now I rarely swim without a floaty and a cocktail in my hand. So I’ve got that going for me.

I’m also a former inventor/entrepreneur. I hold six patents on an irrigation device that waters trees underground, and it’s now sold all over the world.

While I was doing stand-up I was actually a part-time “space” designer in Beverly Hills. I designed closets/offices/garages for Jennifer Aniston, Jack Lemon, Oliver Stone, Aaron Sorkin, Gregory Peck, Matthew Perry, and many a rock/sports star. And except for two restraining orders, none of them return any of my letters. I had to design a closet to fit Ms. Aniston’s 300 pairs of shoes. I told her to get rid of some instead. She didn’t laugh.

Hobbies and Interests:
When I’m not at work, and my kids do not overload me with requests (demands), I enjoy woodworking and building furniture. Armoires, tables, cabinets – whatever – my man-garage is my place of Zen, and a place I almost never visit anymore. Sometimes I’ll wave to it. Thanks kids! I also enjoy golfing poorly, the great outdoors, and anything College Football – Go Sun Devils!

Why MATRIX?
I was working with Don Palmer (Executive VP at MATRIX) on a partnership agreement between MATRIX and my own company. He asked me to consider joining MATRIX full-time and everything just fell into place. Once I met everyone, I couldn’t wait to be a part of the team. From the people that I’ve known for 14 years (I actually worked at MATRIX for a year back in 2000) to the others that I met on day one, it’s the people that make MATRIX. It might sound like a Miss America answer, but truly, the family attitude and incredible focus on employees is what I’m most impressed with. And now that I’ve been here for a bit, it’s the stellar recruiting and exceptional management that will keep me here. Yes, my nose is now a darker shade of brown. But it’s true though.

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MATRIX Consultant Spotlight: Bert McDonald

At MATRIX, we emphasize that our company is all about the people. On the outside, it appears that we employ software engineers, web designers, project managers, business analysts, support technicians, and so on.

This is technically true. But what we don’t advertise is that we also employ mothers, grandfathers, soccer coaches, marathon runners, world travelers, musicians, painters, community servants and so much more. Our consultants aren’t defined by their job titles. They each have a story and this blog will tell their stories.

This month’s spotlight is on Bert McDonald, a Service Management Consultant working for one of our clients in Fort Worth.

MATRIX Consultant Spotlight: Bert McDonald

 

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Detroit, but grew up in Oklahoma. I went to Oral Roberts University on a basketball scholarship and graduated with a BS in Business Management. After college, I was recruited to Philadelphia as an Operational Manager and stayed there for five years. However, I got homesick, so I moved to Texas to be closer to family. I’m a country boy through and through. My dream is to one day own five acres and livestock in Oklahoma.

What does your life look like outside of work?
I love to fish, plant flowers, cook, and play basketball. I like to be outdoors as much as possible. I have a daughter who is currently getting her Master’s degree in Criminology. I also have a malti-poo named Mini Moe, who I’ve had for 11 years.

How did you get your start in IT?
Once I moved to Dallas, I eventually got into project management at a telecom company, and that’s when my IT career began. After a few more gigs, I got connected with the folks at MATRIX. They helped me get to where I am today.

Have you ever had any unusual job experiences? MATRIX Consultant Spotlight: Bert McDonald
One of my first jobs was working at an amusement park in Oklahoma City. Another fun experience I had happened when I was supervisor in the credit card processing division at a large banking company. They put on a modeling competition to raise money for charity. Both men and women modeled different fashions, and I won the men’s competition.

What career would you choose if you weren’t in IT?
I would say any job that helps people. I love what I do now, but if I could do any other job, I would probably choose to be a doctor.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
On a personal level, my proudest accomplishment is getting my daughter through school as a single parent. On a professional level, I would say doing good work and making an impact in my workplace. I place a lot of value in being a team player and treating everyone fairly.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
Working with other people to meet a common goal. I’ve worked in a lot of different environments, and getting to work with people from different backgrounds and cultures has been the most rewarding part.

What advice would you give to someone getting started in IT consulting?
Have a dream and go for it. Get to know people who have been through the same experience and ask them a lot of questions.

 

 

About the Author: 

Jennifer Bradley is the Digital Content Specialist for MATRIX. Her primary mission is to understand what information our various communities want and need from MATRIX, and to deliver it to them in ways that are enlightening, engaging and in sync with who we are as a company. She loves pop culture, Oklahoma football and the great state of Texas. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Fun

5 Ways to Be Passively Proactive in Your Career

Scenario 1: It’s been one of those days, weeks or months and you have had enough. You feel stagnant, frustrated or stifled, and you realize, it’s time for a change.

Scenario 2: You’re content at your current job, but would be willing to make a move if the right opportunity lands in your lap.5 Ways to Passively Be Proactive in Your Career

Activating a passive job search will allow for the career advancement you desire without getting in the way of your current position. So, where do you start?

As a Recruiting Manager, I have seen many candidates struggle with how to be proactive with their career and succeed in their current role simultaneously. The following steps take very little time and effort, and will not distract from your current job.

  1. Set up job alerts
    Instead of posting your resume online and getting flooded by recruiter emails, set up job alerts on job boards such as Indeed, Simply Hired, and our own MATRIX job board. Once you set up the search criteria, you can choose the types of jobs emailed to you at the frequency you want. This is an easy way to see what’s out there without having to spend time searching.

  2. Use LinkedIn to its full advantage
    If you’re making changes to your LinkedIn profile and don’t want others to see them, you can turn off activity broadcasts in your privacy & settings. Spend some time beefing up your profile. Then, go ask your previous colleagues for recommendations and/or introductions on LinkedIn. Make sure to include a professional picture and as much detail as possible. Join groups that pertain to your profession to make more connections. Share articles regularly to stay top of mind in your network and show that you’re a subject matter expert.

  3. Network the right way
    Find user groups in your city that relate to your skill set. If you haven’t been to a user group before, it might seem intimidating at first, especially to an introvert. But spending one evening a month with likeminded people to hear topics of interest to you isn’t a bad deal. Plus, a lot of people who are hiring attend these events and just might have that perfect opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

  4. Keep up with companies that interest you
    Even if you’re not actively looking for a job now, you can still keep up with companies that you would potentially be interested in working for someday. Follow target companies online (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and see who you know there. If you find old colleagues working there, ask them to circulate your resume just in case a job does come available.

  5. Maintain regular contact with a recruiter
    Keep up with a recruiter that knows exactly what job you would pack up and leave for. Good recruiters will listen to your criteria and match it with opportunities that help you achieve your goals. Tell them exactly what you want and let them do the work for you. Recruiters are often aware of openings not posted to the general public. They can help you apply confidentially. If you don’t know anyone to call, ask your previous colleagues for recommendations.

I once worked with a candidate who was feeling stifled, because she had reached the top of her pay grade in her current position. She got my name and number from a neighbor of hers that had worked with me. We met for coffee and she shared with me exactly where she would like to see her career go. She had a great deal of ambition and wanted to go somewhere that would allow her to thrive. Her timing was great, because we had a client looking for someone with her exact skill set. This client company could offer her the ladder of advancement that her current company could not. We presented her resume directly to the hiring manager and after several rounds of interviews, she landed the job. Within a very short period of time, she started her dream job. It can be that easy.

If you’re not getting what you need in your position at your current company, be proactive and go after something new. If you’re comfortable where you are now, but also open to “the perfect job”, these steps are probably worth the minimal time required. What are you waiting for?

About the Author: 

Beth Pavelka is the Manager of Recruiting in our RTP office. Her expertise includes hiring, training and leading a team of highly motivated Recruiters in the Research Triangle Park area of NC. The Recruiting team’s mission is to connect IT professionals with outstanding and career-changing opportunities. We strive to form strategic partnerships with our clients and candidates to help them solve problems and achieve success.

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Job Seeker

4 Things I Wish I Knew at the Start of My IT Career

Recently, a friend challenged me to share four things I wish I’d known back when I started in my IT career. The only hard part was paring the list down to just four items.

I think back to 15 years ago, when I was working retail and desperately seeking something else. Something I could really get into. Some kind of work I was passionate about. On a dare, I took the A+ computer certification exam and passed it, and embarked on a career that has led me to where I am today. Although I miss some of the aspects of that guy I was 15 years ago – bold, fearless, with boundless dreams and ambition – I also wish I could go back and teach my younger self a few things I’ve learned since then.

Failure is a part of growth.

I used to worry a lot more about failure. I feared that a big failure would end my career, but also worried about day-to-day failures – small mistakes that everyone makes. I worried that I’d say or do something stupid out of ignorance, and that would be the thing I would forever be remembered for. It rarely works that way. In most cases, a person’s career is not measured by their biggest misstep; rather, it is an aggregate of every success and failure – and the attitude they have about those successes and failures. Failing on the job is a part of the growth process. As Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” A misstep is only a failure if you don’t learn from it.

You can’t be an expert in everything.4 Things I Wish I'd Known Back Then

During my first year in IT, I was convinced that I was going to be some kind of technical demigod, and I set out to learn everything about everything – programming, databases, network administration, routing and switching, even Microsoft Access. You name the technology from the late 1990s, and I probably had a book on it – and intended to master it. There’s nothing wrong with learning, and to this day I still work regularly to learn about areas outside of my own specialization. But I wish I’d known back then that maintaining deep expertise in so many different technical topics is exceedingly difficult if not impossible. I wish I had realized that there’s far more demand for someone who does just a few things, but does them better than 98% of other practitioners of the same craft.

Don’t just have goals. Have a next set of goals.

There was a time fairly recently where I was stuck in the mud. I was still doing the work I enjoyed, but for a time I was doing it without a real purpose. Why? I had met all of the career goals I had set years ago, and I was working largely without a personal charter. While that’s a great problem to have, I really hadn’t planned for the contingency of completing those objectives. I wish I could go back and tell myself to be a bit more optimistic about my goals, and to list out another set to be met later, and another after that, and so forth. Like anything else, goals should be flexible enough to allow you to adapt to changes in the marketplace and your own desires and place in life. Those goals will be different for everyone, but whatever they are for you, those milestones are critical for measuring progress and challenging yourself to press onward.

4 Things I Wish I'd Known Back Then

Your technical skills don’t matter as much as you think they do.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was still a great deal of truth behind the antisocial geek stereotype. One could be a reasonably successful technologist and stay hidden away from the front lines of end user interaction. And I fell into that trap for a while, spending virtually no time honing my interpersonal or speaking skills and just working to refine my technical abilities. While the ability to deliver technical solutions is important, being able to talk to people (both one-on-one as well as in a presentation setting) and understand their business and its pain points is critical for the success of the modern technologist. I’d love to go back and tell my younger self: Continue to work on your technical skills, but get out of the server room occasionally and talk to people. Learn about their jobs, and what causes them grief. Understand how to not just build technical components, but how to solve real business problems.

In short, the advice I would give my younger self – or more practically, advice that I would give those just starting their IT careers – could be summed up as follows:

  • Failures are acceptable, as long as you learn from them
  • Find and maintain focus
  • Set short-term and long-term goals
  • Develop those soft skills
About the Author: 

Tim Mitchell is a business intelligence consultant, author and trainer. He has been working with SQL Server for over a decade, working primarily in business intelligence, ETL/SSIS, data quality, and reporting. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M at Commerce, and has been a Microsoft SQL Server MVP since 2010. Tim is an independent business intelligence consultant and a partner with Linchpin People, and is the principal at Tyleris Data Solutions.

As an active member of the community, Tim has spoken at international, regional and local venues including the SQL PASS Summit, SQLBits, SQL Connections, SQL Saturday, various user groups and webcasts. Tim is coauthor of the book SSIS Design Patterns and is a contributing author on the charity book project MVP Deep Dives 2.

You can visit his website and blog at TimMitchell.net or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Tim_Mitchell.

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Job Seeker

MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Jaynee Beach

In addition to getting to know our consultants, we also want to highlight our internal employees here at MATRIX. Follow along with our new blog series to hear our team members' stories. Today’s spotlight tells the incredible story of Jaynee Beach, Sr Delivery Manager in Houston, TX.

Jaynee BeachTell us a little about yourself.
I grew up on a farm in Willamette Valley, Oregon. I was married to a man in the Air Force, so I ended up doing my undergrad at four different colleges. It took me ten years to finish, and when I did, I was pregnant with my fourth daughter. It was the 80s, and I was working as a consultant to pay for school. I went door-to-door recommending hardware and software services. "Oh, you don't have a computer in your office? Let me show you how having one can help you." This job offered flexibility, which I needed as a mother of four going to college. I finally got my Bachelor's degree in mathematics and computer science, and then went on to get my Master's degree in cognitive psychology.

What's the weirdest job you've ever had?
In high school and college, I drove a pea combine-harvester. The food company that contracted farmers was hesitant to hire me because I was a girl, and I ended up being the first female they ever hired. The job was a 12-hour shift, but transportation from the plant to the field made it a 14-hour day. The boss there at the time said women didn’t have the stamina for that. I told him that I grew up on a farm and had experience laying irrigation pipe. He told me to prove it, and when I did, I got the job.

I also got recruited for a unique job while I was a project manager at Bell Helicopter. They needed a woman to record the new advisory system in the cockpit because pilots respond more rapidly to a woman's voice. I was the only woman on the team, which is how I got to be who pilots refer to as "Bitchin' Betty". So for any pilot flying a Cobra helicopter, I'm the last voice they hear before crashing.Bayou City Chorale at Carnegie Hall

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
I sing with the Bayou City Women's Chorus. In May 2013, I performed with the Bayou City Chorale and local elementary school choirs onstage at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The cherry on top was that my youngest daughter was also in the chorus and got to sing onstage beside me. Probably one of my favorite moments in life.

In addition to the chorus, I spend my free time cycling and running. I am riding in the MS150 for the fifth time next month. This is where we ride our bicycles from Houston to Austin to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. It’s actually 186 miles, and it takes us 2 days to do it. I also run a 200-mile relay with my family every year. Last year, our team name was “Beach Bodies in M’Ocean”. Both of my teams are pictured below crossing the finish line together from each event. I love these pictures because they're a great illustration of “Cross the Line”, our theme at MATRIX this year. This refers to the importance of our entire Houston team crossing the line together (also borrowed from Agile principles where a team only succeeds if they succeed as a team.)

Oh and I have flown airplanes, as well as jumped out of them.

     MS150 Team Finish     Jaynee Beach family relay

How did you get to your current career in the Agile realm?
I started using Scrum and Agile methodologies back in 2004. My favorite thing about Agile is that it's all about the user; it focuses on the person, not the system. I had a great experience in 2012 when I was living in Germany and working for XING (basically the German LinkedIn.) The entire company is Agile - every employee did it. No one needed coaching, it was just the only way to do business over there. I returned to Houston after that, and reconnected with a friend who had previously helped me start the Fort Worth Agile Leadership Network chapter. My friend invited me to a Rally Software event in 2013, where I met several of the MATRIX Agile practitioners. That meeting led me to where I am today.

What’s your proudest accomplishment?
My five daughters, all whom have graduated college (one is still in school). Their father left when my oldest was 12 and my youngest was 1. They have all grown up to be incredible women. People ask me how I managed going to school for my Master’s degree as a single mom of 5 girls. There's no big secret. I just woke up every morning and did it again.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone?
Show up with your whole self and persist.

About the Author: 

Jennifer Bradley is the Digital Content Specialist for MATRIX. Her primary mission is to understand what information our various communities want and need from MATRIX, and to deliver it to them in ways that are enlightening, engaging and in sync with who we are as a company. She loves pop culture, Oklahoma football and the great state of Texas. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Fun