War Room Quarterback
When major changes or additions are made to the network across multiple markets, a war room is created. Switch engineers are taken from market teams across the region to handle the work for all markets region-wide. This iteration of the war room was deploying 600 spectrum throughout Central Region. Over the span of 4 months we averaged around 400 logins each week - around 6600 total. We supported 600 spectrum deployment to close to 4500 sites (more than 2/3 of these included 5G or were 5G-only).
This was my second time working in a T-Mobile war room - the first being back in 2017 - and I took a far more active role as quarterback. The QB is responsible for running the integration bridge. As QB, I fielded incoming calls from contractors and distributed them to other war room engineers on shift, assured quality information was being noted in our tracker (which was followed closely by the Central Region senior leadership team to analyze progress), handled overflow when all other engineers were busy, and handled any escalations as well as de-escalating flaring tempers. I also provided training when necessary, and worked with management to create and refine workflow processes.
The QB role may not seem like much at first glance, but it was an incredibly demanding role. Other engineers generally fought to avoid QB because of how stressful it was, but I flourished in the role. The war room is incredibly fast-paced, and at our busiest we might have over a dozen contractors on the bridge waiting to be addressed - around 60 logins per day across all shifts generally meant anywhere from 150-300 calls, and 1st/2nd shift took the brunt of this. Time management, organization, and keeping a cool head were imperative, and all of these are skills I've refined over the years.
The SpiceBuddies program is organized by SpiceHeads (members of the Spiceworks community) who have attended SpiceWorld - an annual IT conference focused around IT pros that support small and medium businesses. The focus of the SpiceBuddies is to help first-time attendees get the most out of the conference. It can be overwhelming for people who've never attended a conference before, and SpiceWorld is a bit different than other tech conferences.
I unofficially became a SpiceBuddy when the program started in 2016, but took a much more active role in 2017, and became a co-leader in 2018 and beyond.
In addition to designing (2017) and managing the website, I took point on organizing our booth (2018, 2019). I created a sign-up sheet for other SpiceBuddies to commit to staffing the booth, and made sure all of the important time slots were covered by at least 2 Buddies. I also assured we would have all the supplies we need for the booth, and coordinated who would be bringing what.
In 2019, I also organized a swag drop-off for vendors who didn't want to ship branded swag home. I allowed SpiceCorps leaders around the country to sign up to receive a box of swag. On the last day of the conference I organized swag distribution into USPS boxes and got them sent out.
After 2017's SpiceWorld, we found it difficult to get feedback on our program, so for 2018 I created a survey that we featured prominently at our booth. I organized a donation drive from other SpiceBuddies to fund a few Amazon gift cards to raffle off as incentive for people to complete the survey.
One of my superpowers is creating clear, user-friendly documentation for any process or procedure that I've learned. I excel at writing documentation for both technical and non-technical audiences.
At a previous job, I created a 60 page reference manual on various procedures and processes both for IT staff and users, as well as a 49-page manual on using our newly-implemented customer service software for users, and 8-page manual for IT on how to administer some basic tasks.
In my current role, I created a 46-page manual on our configuration and integration process for turning up new cell sites. My manual was later passed around to other markets across the country.
I consistently get feedback from colleagues and users that my documentation is extremely clear and easy to follow, along with being clean and elegant. Documentation is a task I really enjoy, and one I excel at.
Push to Paperless
July 2014 - June 2015
This was perhaps my biggest project, entailing a budget of $718,000 and leading a team that fluctuated between 8-12 people. The project consisted of consolidating our copier leases across our 2 main locations and 5 auxiliary locations, replacing our expensive desktop printers with inexpensive ones that were rolled into our lease agreement, and implementing a document management software (DocuWare) to cut down on time wasted with physical paperwork.
I worked with our vendor, Impact Networking, to analyze our environment and create an ROI analysis. In addition to the information they collected, I surveyed employees in our corporate building to get an estimate of how much time per day they spent searching for, printing, and organizing paper documents. This information, coupled with an average hourly wage provided by HR, gave me a real number for what this time was costing the company.
Overall, with this project I was able to cut both the company's document-related spending and employees' time shuffling papers by 50%. Costs, including employee labor, dropped from approx. $25,000/month to under $13,000/month, andemployees went from spending 30% of their day managing paperwork to about 15%.
Small and medium sized businesses often don't prioritize digital security until it becomes an issue, and this was something I wanted to address. I started by updating our Barracuda Spam Firewall and Web Filter, as they were aging and outdated. With management's blessing I was able to implement rules on both filters so most threats would be blocked without negatively impacting users' work.
My next step was getting management on-board with implementing a phishing training program. After a data loss scare, I was able to get my boss's sign-off to do a phishing test. I presented my findings to my boss, as well as all management, and was able to implement a training program that cut our phish-prone percentage from 40% to under 5% in 6 months (writeup here). This also allowed me to justify implementing MalwareBytes as a second layer of security on top of our Kaspersky Antivirus, as well as justifying an update to a newer Kaspersky version.
I implemented a monthly Lunch'n'Learn program. These included basic topics like using Microsoft Office/Windows more efficiently with shortcuts through more advanced topics like phishing and cybersecurity. Users responded very well, and retained more information when taught in such an informal, conversational way.
I standardized our new-hire onboarding process and implemented security training as part of onboarding. As our security policies were outdated (even referencing palm pilots), I completely rewrote our security, email, and acceptable use policies, as well as implemented the company's first mobile/BYOD policy.
While this is far from my most impressive project, it's definitely close to my heart as it got me involved with the Spiceworks community, which has been a source of many amazing opportunities.
One of my first projects after starting in IT with a previous company was to refine the way we handled support requests. The colleague that trained me had started looking into helpdesk software and handed off the names to me to continue researching. After comparing various software, I decided to go with Spiceworks since it was free and seemed easy to use.
Once our Spiceworks server was set up, I attained management buy-in to make tickets mandatory, rather than having users call/email us directly. This allowed us to track support requests, and allowed us to provide a report to our boss during weekly meetings. It also allowed us to track projects as tickets.
I fleshed out checklists and the knowledge base, and created a user portal so our users could easily submit tickets via portal or email. Once everything was set up, I trained my users and colleagues on using Spiceworks.