Production Support manages one of the most important activities that any enterprise needs to maintain and keep their systems running smoothly 24/7. This week we are chatting with Rob Powers, our Director of Production Support and one of the first people to kickoff his career at ShowClix. He watched it grow from only 3 employees to almost 60. After growing up in a small town in Buffalo, Rob attended college at Alfred State University for Computer Science. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Rob accepted a job offer as a Web Developer in Orlando, Florida and stayed there for 2 years.
Realizing he wanted to live closer to his family, Rob chose Pittsburgh for its radiant and diverse outdoor life. In 2009, Rob discovered a job posting for a full-time developer at ShowClix. He joined the team of 3 in their Oakmont office, and would play a strong role in the growing company. Today, Rob is our Director of Production Support, where he is the focal point for critical impact product resolution.
You’ve been with the company for almost 7 years, what are 3 largest changes you have seen since you started?
The most obvious change is the size of the company. Watching ShowClix grow, from just a few people to having 50+ employees, has been really exciting. Right along those lines, the second change that I’d say is very obvious has been the change of locations for ShowClix. When I first started, it was almost like a large, one room garage. In my first few weeks, we moved to an actual office building with a few rooms in Oakmont. From there, we grew into a slightly larger office in Shadyside. At the time, we couldn’t imagine growing out of that office space. Yet, here we are now with a large office space in downtown Pittsburgh. And while this space seemed huge at the beginning, I’m starting to wonder how long we’ll be here.
The third, and for me the most interesting change, has been in the culture. This is something that transforms as the office grows and changes. Although the culture has matured along with the business, there are parts of it that still feel very start-up like. As the company gets older, I think we hold on to some of those parts of the start-up life that we loved. My hope is that as the culture here continues to grow, we continue to hold on to some of our humble and fun beginnings.
What is the most exciting part of working in Production Support?
I’d have to say the most exciting part, and my favorite part of working in Production Support, is when you launch a solution for a client that has been waiting on a certain functionality. From all the time and effort that goes into working with the client, to understanding what they need to accomplish, to working with the team to come up with a solid solution that will fulfill the client’s needs, and finally releasing that work to the client is very fulfilling. It’s great to see all that effort finally come to fruition.
As the leader of the Production Support team, tell us what a typical day looks like for you?
There is no such thing as a typical day in production support, which is one of the things that I love the most. My schedule depends on what the current requests of the day are. Sometimes it requires digging through log files to figure out what is causing an issue, while other times it requires getting on a call with a client to spec out a new feature, and yet other times it involves writing code to fix bugs, develop new features, or improve performance on existing features. Every day is different which makes coming to work all the more enjoyable.
Where does your passion for IT and Production Support come from?
When I was younger, I always enjoyed playing with computers. At an early age, I found trying to understand what was going on behind the scenes of a computer fascinating. I took an introduction to computer programming class as a freshman in highschool, and I was completely hooked. From there on out, I knew I wanted to be involved in software development. As for production support, I just sort of fell into that role. Again, I think my biggest attraction to the work is that I get to do something different every day. It keeps things interesting for me.
You are one half of the official ShowClix love story. Share with us the moment when you met your wife, Erin.
I actually met Erin when she interviewed at ShowClix. She applied for the job as the second full-time hire after me, so at the time it was just the two founders and a guy who worked part time. With there being so few people, the founders wanted to be sure that everyone was a good fit, so we all sat in on Erin’s interview. To be completely honest, I didn’t think of Erin as anything besides a potential coworker at the time. However, after she was hired, it didn’t take long for that to turn into something a bit more. Although I swore I’d never date someone that I worked with, that was a promise to myself that I’m glad to say I broke. It only took a few months before we started dating, but I’ve never been happier. Today, we are happily married and blessed with a beautiful one year-old daughter.