The Gadget Guru – Roderick Franada
Roderick Franada, a senior end-user specialist, is our ECHO Star this month. Rod has proven to be reliable, hard-working, and adaptable over and over again. He provides excellent customer service, has a team-first attitude, services some of our most high-profile clients and even shows up for them on a Sunday! Rod is no drama, all results! Which is why we decided to interview Rod and get to know him a little better. Here is what the conversation was like:
Vashti: Lets, start with the basics. What are the three traits that define you?
Rod: To start with, I would say I am dependable. If something needs to be done, I will get it done. I might not have the solution right away, but I don’t give up till I find one. Also, since I get to interact directly onsite with a lot of end users, I have developed a good understanding of people’s technical needs. It’s a trait that I have honed with time and experience. And lastly, I always try to be accommodating.
Vashti: So, given that you are such a technology wiz, it is clear that you have a technical bent of mind. Did you always want to be an end-user specialist?
Rod: Actually, I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. But honestly speaking I have always enjoyed tinkering with computers and helping people use them. My first introductions to computers was the Atari 800 and TimeNet in the late 1970s or early 1980s. But the big turning point for me came when I took this “Introduction to Computers” course and then practically applied my knowledge of computer technology to solve a problem at the trading company that I was working for at that time. I really enjoyed being able to apply what I was learning or what I knew about computer technology in an actual corporate environment and that’s when I realized that this is what I wanted to do.
Vashti: Well, that’s an interesting story. So, tell me a little bit about what you do at ECHO. And what is a typical day like for you?
Rod: As a senior end-user support specialist, I don’t have a typical day. In fact, my days can be very varied depending on whether I am doing an on-site visit or not. If my work for the day involves on-site support, then it driven solely by customers and whatever they feel is a top priority for me or for ECHO. And, if I don’t have onsite assignments, I typically review tickets, email and Slack for items to focus on for the day. With regards to the second scenario, sometimes I also have pre-arranged calendar invites for things to do or meetings to attend.
Vashti: Rod, you’ve been at ECHO for about two years now. Who or what inspires you at ECHO?
Rod: Yes, time certainly has flown. When it comes down to ECHO I think both the team and the environment inspire me. Talking about the environment for instance, at ECHO we are always exposed to the bleeding edge. I think we have some of the best systems and cloud-based tools at our fingertips for any task. So, whether it is HipChat or Slack or Addigy or Jamf- we are always exposed to the latest and the greatest. Also, when it comes to people, it’s amazing that if I have a question, I can get three great and quick answers or opinions on virtually any subject almost instantaneously – that is the kind of knowledge and experience my colleagues and friends at ECHO have. There are other technology MSPs out there, but I can proudly say that the breadth of knowledge that we have in-house is second to none.
Vashti: That’s great! Now we know what you do and what inspires you, but what is it that you love most about your job or role at ECHO?
Rod: I think what I love most about my job is the exposure to all these latest gadgets. Also, because they are centered around end-user-support, the gadgets I speak of are not only limited to the cloud. So basically, every day is like Christmas wherein I get to open these new toys for customers and teach them how to use these toys. It can be tedious as well as stressful sometimes if you have to do the same thing for 150 users instead of just 10 users and there is a short timeline to do it. But on most days, it is an exhilarating feeling to be working on the latest tools and technology for customers while learning from them. For example, recently I installed the Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Generation 2 docking system and while doing so discovered that not only does it let you dock a Lenovo monitor to it but also docks other ones like Dell and even Apple.
Vashti: What is your definition of success?
Rod: I define success as giving the end user the ability to do their job effectively without any technology snafus.
Vashti: We will wrap this up with one last question for you. What is your advice to someone looking to pursue a career as an end-user specialist?
Rod: The truth is that there will always be work for an end-user specialist because not everyone is technology savvy. There will always be room for someone to teach end-users about technology across any industry. But to successfully pursue a career as an end-user specialist there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. First, it is important to have the aptitude for technology and second, if you are good at it then you need to be willing to get your hands dirty. Lastly, there will be times work will be stressful because you might be dealing with technology that no one has used before, and you are directly presenting results to the customer. But that’s where you need to be patient, calm and thorough while explaining to a customer why issues might arise and what can be done to change that. So even though it isn’t the easiest job in the world, it certainly is highly rewarding.