September 2, 2021
Data centers and public and hybrid clouds, Oh My! We sat down with Mindsight’s Principal Architect Kevin Parker to discuss his journey as an IT professional, how he strikes a work-life balance, and influential figures who inspired who he is today.
How long have you been at Mindsight, and what is your role?
Ten years, cumulatively, starting in 2008. In my current position, which I’ve had for two years, I’m a Principal Architect focusing on Data Center, Public Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Architectures. My job is to understand the customers’ pain points, goals of the business and then clearly define the technical objectives. After that I typically present our customers with multiple options with the goal of clearly articulating the pros and cons associated with each of those options. This can include bill of materials, statements of work, current/future state diagrams, demos, etc.
Can you provide an example of one of your most memorable experiences working with a Mindsight client? What problem were you trying to solve? How did you solve it? How did it help the client?
A lot of the scenarios where we’ve had success with customers is in modernizing the data center space. This has typically meant taking what was a complex data center architecture consisting of multiple siloed points of infrastructure and then transferring that data center space under a single pane of glass that solves for management simplicity, performance, data protection and the ability to recover in disaster scenarios in an automated fashion. Often these solutions revolve around hybrid cloud designs, where we can offer solutions that solve for business continuity, disaster recovery, and modernization of the data center architecture while significantly reducing costs.
What do you bring to your role that has made you successful and able to work well with clients?
I think what has helped is the fact that I came from the post sales side prior to taking on roles as a solution architect. So, I was able to see what it was like to actually ‘turn the screws’, to do pre-implementation configuration designs, installs, and troubleshooting scenarios where unforeseen issues occur – and subsequently getting the chance to work through those problems. One of things I have found to be important is that I’ve also always been a generalist with a wide breadth of skills but with the ability to get deep technically when needed with proper preparation and planning (7 P’s). Lastly, I think being willing to grind things out and work through difficult situations and scenarios with perspective, the ability to anticipate customer needs/questions, and being thorough in the solutions that I ultimately present have all been important in my success.
Have you had mentors along the way? How did they guide you and what did you learn from them?
I’ve had a lot of mentors in my life but mostly my older brother, who’s in the same industry and has opened a lot of doors for me. I have always been grateful for his help. I also consider myself a lifelong learner because there are always people who are much smarter than me that I want to learn from and ultimately have the mindset of just trying to get better every day. I try to gravitate to those smart people that are willing to talk to me and be patient as I ask questions that may seem obvious.
There’s a lot of talk about maintaining a work-life balance. What does that mean to you, and to what degree have you achieved it?
I’m a very task-list oriented guy. I wake up and write out a bunch of things in my journal that I want to do on any given day. As I check them off, I feel a sense of accomplishment. It’s probably a bit odd, but it’s always served me well. I’ve also got two daughters. By the time they’re home, I’ve already knocked out my tasks, worked out, read, etc. I used to play basketball, but not so much anymore. Mainly, I lift weights every day and do Orange Theory with my wife on the weekends. I’m just trying to enjoy life, be grateful and stay in the best shape I can.
Which books have helped you most personally and professionally?
Part of my goal list is to read a certain amount of pages each day. I’m currently reading “Enlightenment Now” by Steven Pinker. It’s about how the news only tells us how bad things are and seems to give us the impression that times are worse than they have ever been. The author makes the counter argument that that is in fact not the case. When presented with the question, “At what point in history would you have chosen to be born?” the answer to that in my opinion is right now. This is the best time in history to be alive when you objectively evaluate things relative to any time in the past. I’m also a big fan of Bill Bryson’s books as well as one by Yuval Noah Harari called “21 Lessons for the 21st Century.” I am currently reading a great fiction book series by Jack Carr. At the end of the day, I’m just an average intelligence dude who works hard and tries to compensate for that by reading a lot.
Join Kevin and Mindsight on September 16th, virtually or in-person:
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