From Learning on the Fly to Master Troubleshooter – A Spotlight on Eric W.
One moment Eric W. might be responding to help tickets, and the next he could be restoring a crashed email server that brought an entire business grinding to a halt. As a Level 3 Senior Systems Engineer for Accent Computer Solutions, Eric relishes the unpredictability that each day brings.
Day-to-day responsibilities punctuated by periods of frenzied activity make his job interesting and have kept him at Accent for nearly eight years. Throughout this time, he’s demonstrated that he can skillfully maneuver through each challenge and solve whatever problems might be thrown at him.
“Eric is probably the most reliable person that I've ever worked with,” said Scott, one of Accent’s Senior Professional Services Engineers, “He’s the first to volunteer for something and shifts gears quickly.”
Learning by Doing as a Teenager at the West Point Computer Lab
Eric has been tackling challenges at Accent for the better part of a decade, but his IT career stretches back almost 30 years. He cites growing up at West Point, where his stepfather was stationed, and using the cadet computer lab as the spark that ignited his passion for technology.
After going to school to learn about electronics, Eric held jobs fixing TVs, VCRs, and copiers, but those roles offered no upward mobility. When he recognized that the field of IT held more opportunities, he applied for a different type of job and read “Networking for Dummies” so that he could have a dialogue during the interview, knowing that once he got in he would have no problem learning on the fly.
He didn’t get that particular job but it wasn’t long before he did land a job with an IT company based out of Austin, TX, and got in on the ground level as the managed IT services business model was getting started.
Getting in on the Ground Level with Managed IT Services
Eric worked for that managed service provider for 16 years. When the company changed ownership a few times, the increasingly corporate atmosphere left him feeling like he was just a number. Eric was ready for a change.
The previous COO of the company that he had worked for had become a consultant with Accent and recommended Eric for a position. He got the job and instantly appreciated working in an environment where problems are solved quickly, and team members work as a cohesive unit.
“The thing I like about Accent is I can go into the owner’s office at any time, tell them I’m having a problem with a certain client, and they will help me put together a game plan,” said Eric. “There’s a level of candidness where everyone is accessible.”
Mentoring the Next Generation
Eric’s days are not only filled with solving computer problems – he enjoys mentoring and leverages his 27 years of IT experience to share knowledge with new recruits at Accent. He’s especially talented at troubleshooting and takes time to teach mentees this crucial skill.
“Troubleshooting is a creative process and a logical process at the same time, and it requires communication,” Eric explained. “When people ask me for help, I start by asking questions, rather than jumping in and saying, ‘Here’s how you fix it.’”
Communicating to Work and Win as a Team
Despite working remotely from Texas, Eric is in constant contact with his teammates and never feels isolated. The steady communication helps him stay up to date with certifications and learn the latest developments in the fast-paced IT field.
“Everyone at Accent has a different skill set and is better at certain things,” said Eric. “We use the knowledge and experience of the whole team, which is one of Accent’s biggest selling points.”
Eric has seen his own ideas for improvement implemented company-wide, such as incorporating up-to-date documentation procedures and a practice he refers to as the “big red button.” If there’s a critical issue and someone “pushes” the red button, a special procedure is kicked off with certain steps to follow and people to involve to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Finding Stability and Purpose
His tenure at Accent has afforded Eric stability through sometimes tumultuous periods, including Covid-19. He believes in the company and the difference he makes for Accent’s clients.
“I go to work every day to do the best job I can possibly do,” Eric said. “If I can say I’ve done everything I needed to do, and it was an effective day, then I’m happy.”
About Courtney Casey
In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.