Familiar Territory

…you know the rest.
(What…were you thinking I’d go with some old Mark Twain quote? Talk about unoriginal…)

Since the initial post about NetApp Insight 2016 (in retrospect) that launched this site, I’ve always maintained the best of intentions to keep things fresh with multiple, technical-oriented posts. Life sometimes, though, doesn’t always like to line up with the same timetable we set for ourselves.

Instead, it results in another introspective type post 🙂

At the end of 2016, I concluded the chapter of my career where things had really taken off for me at a local, Atlanta-based technology consulting firm. After six years there and having the opportunity to begin building my own personal brand, learn from some of the greatest mentors the industry has ever known, and more importantly, create wonderful, lasting friendships, the time had come to make a decision regarding the next step in my career journey.

That next step began in January when I took on the role as a Senior Systems Engineer for NetApp with a focus on SolidFire. This had always seemed like the most logical, next step, and personally had been a goal of mine to have the opportunity of working for such an incredible company. Having worked very closely with them over the course of my six years at a Channel Partner, as well as having been a part of the NetApp A-Team for the past three, it made perfect sense.

After just four months of having worked at NetApp, things took a turn that I wasn’t quite expecting and I found myself having to make yet another decision on what the next step in my career journey would be. Fortunately, however, while only having been there four months, the amount of knowledge that I was able to acquire will undoubtedly remain valuable throughout the course of my career, both technically…and politically.

Another thing that stands out for me is that while we often go through different journeys throughout our career, and sometimes determine that we need to make decisions in regard to more “transformative” paths, doing so doesn’t always mean that we’re not meant to end up back where we started, however still having learned valuable lessons as part of what sparked any transformative decisions to start with.

That said, after having had some time to reflect and recharge, as well as explore a few different avenues opportunity-wise while contemplating my next steps, I am ecstatic to announce that I have accepted a new offer with an incredible company.

This past week, I officially began the next chapter of my career back within the Partner Channel as a Senior Solutions Architect with Sovereign Systems based here in Atlanta. Getting back into the Partner Channel will allow me to once again focus on many of the same things that I had enjoyed working with in the past that helped establish my own, personal brand, as well as lead me to discover one of my biggest passions in that of being a technology enthusiast. The opportunities for expanding my existing base, as well as having the chance to work with new and varying technologies – all in order to help customers be successful at addressing their critical needs – will be a great learning experience. And after just one week in this new role, I can undoubtedly say that there’s never been such a collective of sharp, forward-thinking minds that simply “get” it.

Today, when we look at the current technology landscape and determine how to best approach solutions and address critical business requirements, it’s radically different from what it was six years ago. At that time, I was able to kick-start my journey via what made the most sense within the industry at that point in time – a world that existed of only on-premises (say “on-prem” one more time…)  environments, Pods and Blocks were everywhere, and one could have razor-sharp focus on only just a couple of products in order to be relevant.  With the evolution of the industry, and especially how businesses are aligning more closely to it (and its fancy charts, graphs, etc…),  the challenge nowadays is far more multifaceted. Now there’s any number of different technologies and products that combine to make up an overall solution, and that’s a lot to take in and digest. It requires also an evolution in one’s approach of how any solution gets architected and implemented, with ultimately every discussion always coming back to the single, most important focus: Is this the best fit for the customer and what they’re trying to achieve.

The opportunity to now be able to have a more prominent role in repeating what I was part of back in 2011 is what I truly feel I was waiting for. And to be able to do it with an exciting company that has incredible talent, and to have a whole hell of a lot of fun along the way…the possibilities are limitless.

So now with things seeming to be a bit more calm and a more certain future is ahead, I look forward to getting back to being able to plan for more frequent updates and resume my engagement with the community from a social media and trade show perspective.

Thank you to all of those that have provided me with amazing support, advice and mentorship throughout the course of the past several months. It truly has meant the world to me.

I can’t help but to think how fitting it is that just over six years ago as part of a Channel Partner, I began crafting a big part of what I will look back on as my legacy. For a while, I felt that I wouldn’t have the chance to continue that journey. That’s now the absolute farthest from the truth, and I can’t even begin to explain how good I feel about the future.

Next up: NetApp Insight 2017. My sixth Insight in a row. And this year, I’m more excited than ever!