We interviewed Jay Lehnert, Solutions Architect at GCOMM, who has been with the company for over 10 years.
You have been with the company more than 10 years now, correct? Can you tell me something about your beginning at GCOMM?
I started in February 2002. Before I worked at GCOMM I was a Field Technician for a small local IT company that focused on point of sale systems for hardware and paint stores. While I was working there, I’d actually heard of GCOMM (formerly Data FX Online) numerous times through the grape vine and aspired at the time to get a job there, but I was told that you need at least 3 years of experience. A couple of years later a friend (Todd Brooker, whom is also still with GCOMM) got a job there and then 3 months later when an opportunity arose, he recommended me for the position and the rest is history.
GCOMM were using a lot of advanced technologies that I had limited exposure to, so even with 2.5 years of experience it was a still very steep learning curve for me. In fact, with the way GCOMM embrace new technologies and adapt to industry trends, the engineers (and I) are constantly challenging ourselves to learn new skills which is a big part of why I’ve enjoyed working here for so many years.
What are some of the roles you’ve been involved with at the company?
I started as Systems Engineer back in 2002 and stayed in the role for 5 years. During that time, I did first and second level technical support for client servers, workstations and local networks. I managed everything for the client, from backups to anti-virus and network hardware.
Then I was given an opportunity to move into a senior role within ISP division of the company. I assisted with the development and management of the ISP network and was also involved in project management and provisioning of WAN solutions.
Two years later I was promoted to Technical Services Manager, a role which included mentoring and training the technical team, product development, solution design, senior level engineering and so on.
You moved into a new position last year – what were the most challenging things about this experience? Have you adjusted?
The most challenging thing for me in the project management role is dealing with suppliers. You can do everything correctly from your own side and have everything lined up and ready to go, but if a supplier doesn’t meet their target for whatever reason, the whole project can be jeopardised and/or deadlines can be blown out.
As far as presales goes, it’s been a challenge trying to learn all the WAN technologies again. Since I was last with this team 3 years before I started the new role, a lot had changed. Even after a year in the new role, I still feel there is a lot to learn about our existing offerings and solution designs, let alone any new ones that come along.
What are your favourite aspects of working at GCOMM?
The team here and environment that has been created is great. There is never a dull moment with the business constantly striving to improve and grow, which gives all the staff (myself included) the opportunity to grow with it. It also keeps it interesting from a technical perspective constantly working with bleeding edge of technologies, so there are always new things to learn and products to test.
What is the most unique thing about the company and its culture?
Probably the fact that so many of the staff have been working here for so long. It’s like having a second family. We all get on very well and work together exceptionally.
What are some of the biggest trends in the IT landscape at the moment? How is GCOMM adapting to these?
We’re currently seeing a trend with larger companies moving to outsource their IT teams. This has numerous benefits for them because IT services businesses have the ability to run large teams of diversely skilled engineers which means that there is no single points of failure as far as IT personnel goes and with the larger teams there can be greater collaboration with system design and problem solving.
Also, the more obvious trend is the cloud. Cloud technologies have really started to mature over the years and are becoming much more attractive and accessible to businesses. I think the only thing holding the cloud back at the moment is connectivity speeds and costs in Australia, however the way things are going that won’t be the case for long.
What are GCOMM’s main strengths, according to you?
Definitely the team, the skills inside the business and the constant drive, from the directors especially, to grow and excel in what we are doing.
You became a father for the first time last year. Has this experience changed your perspective and how?
I am now a lot more sympathetic to other people’s crying babies.
What do you think the future holds for you and GCOMM?
A lot of challenges lie ahead for GCOMM and IT businesses in general, as we all have to adapt to the constantly changing trends and needs of the clientele we serve. The industry by its nature is very dynamic so those wanting to grow and excel in the market will need to embrace change and be able to execute. These traits along with a strong vision are all that GCOMM possess, so I’m confident that the business will succeed long into the future and I’m proud to be a part of it.♦ End