At TSP, we believe IT is a human issue. The idea of a technician hiding out in a server closet, afraid to interact with real people couldn’t be further from how we approach IT. No one exemplifies our customer-first approach more than Adam Fisk, our Director of IT Services. Adam is the first featured TSP team member in our new series, Profiles in IT Leadership.
What brought you to the world of IT?
The big thing is, I did not major in IT at school at all. I went to school to be on the radio and work in broadcasting. I did always have an affinity for technology, and my dad has worked in the tech field for a long time, so when the Apple store in the local mall began hiring, it was the perfect part-time job while in school.
When I started working at Apple, I gravitated more towards teaching people. They had a role called a “Creative” where you could lead workshops teaching people about technology, teaching people about software, and how to use their computers. As I continued my career at Apple, I moved more into technical troubleshooting and repairs. All things that would scratch the itch I had for technology.
Through my job at the Apple store, I became friends with somebody who ended up working for TSP. He introduced me to Mike, who I first met for an interview on the back of a van when I was working at a radio station in California. This was almost ten years ago, I started as a field tech for TSP, running around helping and working with people, but always with the goal of educating them and training them. My career went from something that was just paying the bills to something I’m much more focused on.
Going from troubleshooting iPhones to setting up servers and doing cybersecurity audits is a big jump. How did you make that leap?
A little bit of everything. It was a lot of learning on the fly. It was a bit of being thrown into the deep end of a pool, only with the resources easily available to swim, not sink. Mike gave me a lot of freedom to learn things myself while guiding me along the way. It took a lot of research, a lot of training. I still have all my old notebooks with my notes in them. Everything I learned in my early years at TSP.
As the Director of IT Services, you’re very customer-facing, which kind of breaks the mold for an IT leadership position.
With what I do, a lot of it is relationship management. Working with our clients, chatting with them, and understanding what their needs are. I try to translate that from more conversational tones into what technical next steps for the tech team. This is really important, as it goes back to the agile idea of understanding what the user story is, but really working with them to dig into what that means for them. What are they actually trying to accomplish? Part of my job is being that person that I need when I first started. Being available to the rest of the team for training, backup, support, so they can succeed. And then being to operate for some of these higher-level special projects that are going on with our clients.
Many TSP employees have a history in customer service, having worked at the Apple store or other customer-facing tech roles. Is that intentional?
Totally. At TSP, we’re in the service industry. This means that we have to work with people directly and talk them through their issues. They’re human beings that have real problems, real needs, and need real solutions. So customer service is really the most important thing and the biggest starting point for everything that we do. And then the technical stuff comes second. Because ultimately, it’s going back to the question of: What are they actually trying to do? What are they actually saying?
What has you excited about the future of IT?
Cybersecurity in general is really interesting and exciting because it is kind of what we all know, where everybody is working remotely or working from anywhere they need to be. So trying to find systems and processes where it allows staff to still be empowered to feel like they’re a part of the team, even if they’re a timezone away is so crucial. This is all while ensuring that their systems are kept secure from phishing, ransomware, and other attacks that are becoming so much more prevalent. It’s exciting finding that edge of being able to support these users to be able to get their jobs done, while also ensuring they’re protected the whole way.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out their career in IT?
The biggest thing that I would say is when you’re working with people, stop trying to solve the problem when somebody starts talking. One thing that a lot of technical people will do is when somebody starts describing their problem, their brain is already trying to fix it and come up with a solution before they finish their sentence. Stop, let them get through their entire sentence. Because it may be that you’re inadvertently jumping to conclusions because they’re using the wrong terms, or they’re naming things incorrectly. Let people fully complete their thoughts. Repeat it back to them to ensure you understand what they’re saying. Then start thinking through a solution. This will make for a much better and well-informed decision.
What project are you particularly happy with in recent memory that you’ve been a part of?
I think our recent project with Reed Hilderbrand was really, really interesting. We worked with every member of their staff to move their organization from a traditional office server to SharePoint Online. This was a massive project with a lot of logistics and timing, where we were migrating projects to the cloud, and ended up migrating well over 10 terabytes worth of data. The biggest challenge and success on this project was how we were able to change things, improve workflows, and constantly improve throughout the entire process. From start to finish, this project took 6 months and involved over 60 people including TSP technicians.
Interested in starting or continuing your IT career at TSP IT Services? Visit our career page to see our current openings or learn about our company culture. Need managed IT services for your organization? We’d love to chat with you! Contact us today to see how we can help you and your organization prepare for the future.