Stewart Houston, our Technical Operations Manager was next on our ‘Meet the Team’ list. Stewart tells us a little about his career background and shares his thoughts on how he deals with work challenges and defining success.
How long have you been part of the ITHD team?
At the start of May this year, I passed the 5 years in-service milestone with IT Hotdesk. This was a day like any other, focussed on our project and service desk teams delivering customers with the best experience possible.
What’s your career background?
I have a very diverse career background with significant time spent travelling for outsourcing IT specialists EDS, who then became HP. I primarily supported Oil & Gas Operators including Shell, Talisman and TOTAL, starting initially as a C/PLSQL coding expert developing a hydrocarbon accounting system on a Solaris 2.4 Unix system. Unusually, I have an extensive background in many IT disciplines, ranging from coding, workstation/server & database support, high availability design, BCDR, networking & security, as well as service delivery and project management.
For more details, see my linked in page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stewarthouston
What does a typical day look like for you?
I often say that I’m in the problem-solving business. My day being typically composed of steering more complex project implementations, technical governance, supply chain management; and of course, managing the teams responsible for both project and operational deliveries, making sure projects are delivered on time and within budget. Within my customer facing role I am the first point of contact for key clients and derive great satisfaction from enabling our customers businesses through the delivery of the IT landscapes that they need.
What has been your biggest work challenge, and how did you overcome it?
I am in my element when it comes to service and project delivery, which is why I enjoy my role so much. The biggest challenge with service delivery is the management of people. It requires strong communication, vision and interpersonal skills and this combined with detailed technical knowledge and strong analysis skills enables me to keep the team focused to deliver the best service experience to our customers.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I like to stay active, balancing a strong work ethic with a mix of sports and charitable commitments. I enjoy hill?walking, badminton, table tennis and strategy games with friends, however, the greatest enjoyment I experience is encouraging and working with my community’s youth through leadership at my local church youth group as well as at my local cub scout pack.
If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
Time travel; definitely! I think this would be the ultimate super-power as whether travelling into the past or future, the opportunities would be endless.
“Who wants to be a cog in a machine?”
Well I suggest that it really does depend on the team! I love being part of a team that delivers and maintains solutions that customers need. If we all play our part to achieve a common goal, that motivates and inspires me.
What’s the last book you read?
Magician, by Raymond E. Fiest.
I enjoy fantasy novels and this one features an orphan boy named Pug. The adventure spans lifetimes and worlds as Pug becomes a master magician.
Poor grammar and poor spelling are pet hates of mine. These probably stem from time spent programming IT solutions, where attention to detail is critical.
I also dislike partial truths, preferring information be communicated transparently, honestly and in its entirety.