Adam Tessieri, GCOMM’s General Manager, has been with the company since its early days. During this time, he has had many roles within the company and has been a great contributor to GCOMM’s success.
When and how did you start working at GCOMM?
I started working for GCOMM in 1996, a few months after the company was founded. Peter Thompson and I met at Harvey Norman, at the computer department in 1995. I was working there as a technician on weekends while I was still at school and Pete was doing sales. We got on well at the time and I worked on a few of Peter’s larger corporate deals at Harvey Norman, but it soon became pretty clear Pete had grand plans and Harvey Norman was not the place for them. Pete then moved on and started the new company, Technos.
I thought it was called Data FX.
It was Technos before Data FX, but it wasn’t that for very long. It’s a funny name now that we look back on it. One of our first customers was Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary; we rolled out a fibre optic network around the park as well as Citrix WinFrame, which was pretty impressive back in 1996. The technology then was far more unstable; you really had to work hard to get things to function correctly.
How did you decide to go from a secure job to something brand new and uncertain?
Well when you’re 19 you think you can pretty much do anything, given that I was new to IT and wanted to learn as much as I could – Harvey Norman gave me a great start. However, being involved in a brand new IT company with guys that wanted to make a lot of money seemed like an easy decision.
What is your IT background?
I studied IT at school and had a great passion for it; I was very technically focused and really enjoyed the challenge. I started studying Information Technology at Bond University whilst still in year 12 on a part scholarship, which I received for being top of my class in IT. I then went on to complete my undergraduate studies whilst working at GCOMM. I also studied Novell Engineering which was the number one business networking solution at the time – how things have changed!
Why did you stay in the company for 16 years?
It is mainly because of the people. A lot of us have known each other for a long time and we have really grown up together, both personally and professionally. The one thing we had in common was the energy to start something from scratch and the ability to work together to achieve great goals. The other thing I like about GCOMM is that I’ve always had the flexibility to do different things. The company gave me the freedom to work in different companies such as the time I spent at Davnet/NTT in Sydney during early 2000, yet I was still able to return, I hope a little wiser, and contribute new skills.
What are some of the main differences between the way things were in the beginning and the way they are now?
Back in the early days we would do things on the glimpse of an idea without really understanding the true situation. Clearly it paid off many times as we are still here today, but we have learnt a lot over the years and are far more pragmatic about our approach – we are seasoned at researching, evaluating and executing now. The accumulated experience and knowledge allows us to objectively review the decisions we have made and adjust our course accordingly. We don’t get caught up in ego or hope, we are far more hardnosed in business and the results of the company speak to that fact.
What has been the most memorable experience for you over the years?
There have been a lot of memorable things. Some worth forgetting! But really the best success has come in the past few years. Pete and Dan have gone out to do their own things and let us run the company day to day. Over the past few years we were able to show them some fantastic results and really operate the business as they have trained us to do so.
What work-related accomplishment makes you the most proud?
I’d have to say it is performance of the business within the last few years and the promotion to General Manager most recently. The whole team has been working extremely hard to increase revenue and profits. I know we will continue this success over the coming years.
What are some of your hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
I like wining and dining a lot. Did I say a lot? Haha, I don’t think there is anything better than going out for a fantastic meal with fantastic wine and a great group of friends. I have tried a lot of different wines over the years and spent a couple of weeks driving around France to sample as many as I possibly could!
I heard you enjoy traveling. What are some of the most interesting/favourite places you have visited?
I took a few years off at GCOMM back around 2003 and I spent most of that time just outside of London in Kent. I worked at a fantastic Michelin rated restaurant for most of that time, which is where my love for wine and food really took hold. I was lucky enough to meet my wife there as well and we spent a lot of time traveling through Europe going to Slovakia, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, France and Austria, to name a few. We do hope one day we will be able to move back to Europe once we have been able to achieve huge success with GCOMM! I do think Australian culture can learn a lot from European values and way of life.
What does the future hold for you and GCOMM?
The future for GCOMM is looking very bright. We have really positioned ourselves well. The industry is going through some pretty monumental changes with the NBN on the horizon and the separation of Telstra; clearly we must adapt which is nothing particularly unusual for IT businesses. Challenges and huge opportunities come with any change; we are a tight team who know each other’s strengths and weaknesses well. It’s this ability to work so well together that has allowed GCOMM to flourish and will allow us to capitalise on the new IT landscape unfolding around us.♦ End