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Getting to Know Hostwinds: Our Support Staff

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Unknown to many of our clients, friends and some of our newest staff members, Hostwinds is in the middle of celebrating it’s FOURTH YEAR in the web hosting business.

In our case it is easy to relate to a common phrase said to young parents after observing physical changes in their child after not seeing them for some time. They always hear: “I can’t believe how quickly they grow! They have gotten so big!”

At Hostwinds, we know exactly how this feels…

In 2010 company Founder and CEO Peter Holden hit the ground running by launching version 1 of the Hostwinds website. He immediately began to advertise on web forums and would talk to anyone and everyone spreading the word about his new venture. By 2011 the client base expanded rapidly and the business engine began to accelerate. Holden then built version 2 of the Hostwinds site while moving its server infrastructure to the InfoMart co-location facility in Dallas, Texas to handle overall growth and need for expansion. “Growth was rapid. We went from multiple servers to multiple cabinets in a very short period of time.” Holden said. “We worked hard then to provide and serve – just as we do today.”

In January 2012, Holden opened his first headquarter office in downtown Tulsa flavored with a new vision and energy. Holden began to motivate his team to establish a new standard in web hosting. “We need to keep working and taking care of people. We need to keep pushing.” says Holden. “We will always strive to do what we do well and will continue to train and groom our staff to serve the smallest of clients and climb mountains to insure the security of our large clients. This is the foundation of our company. These are more than clients and customers – they are our family.”

Tech Room_BlogPBetween 2012 and the present day, Hostwinds has experienced a large degree of change which has switched the energy level from high gear to turbo – amplifying the overall enthusiasm, expanding the channel of creativity and building a culture to a point where Hostwinds wants its clients to feel these changes ripple through how they are served – better and more efficiently. Our team has seen the effects, heard the reviews and read the comments from the Hostwinds family – so we know our rate of change and the growth it has spawned has really worked positively for everyone we serve.

As our company approached the first months of 2014, we realized that our cup was overflowing rapidly and we had to make some decisions. We were in the wake of launching a new website with an improved design and functionality which we knew would increase the degree of customer service we offer our clients. We expanded our staff, redesigned roles and pushed initiatives which were all focused on how we serve our growing client base. As 2014 began to travel quickly under our feet, we saw the need to establish a new headquarter space with room enough to work on our goals without limitations and constraint.

Downtown TulsaIn late March 2014, Holden and his management team selected a new home for the Hostwinds headquarter office – fortunately located in the same building at Reunion Center in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma – seven floors below their previous location. Without missing a support call or experiencing a minute of downtime, we gathered the team together, rolled up our sleeves and quickly moved in to our new office space by April. As we pounded our stake in the ground and evaluated our needs and most importantly the needs of our clients, we began to search for talent to further expand our support efforts. We wanted to find those who would not only get the job done, but individuals who believe in the basic mission to serve, to continue to learn, continue to improve and continue to listen to our client’s needs.

DoorOur current Technical Support Team at our Tulsa Headquarter Office is a unique collection of experienced technologists, skilled problem solvers and gifted service professionals who work extremely hard to help, support and serve our clients at a level they obviously deserve.

Managed and trained directly by Michael Brower, Hostwinds Chief Operations Officer, this team is continually reinventing themselves and improving the daily processes which define the Hostwinds Support Standard. The following is a brief profile of each member of the support team including some personal facts and comments which will hopefully help our clients – members of the Hostwinds Family – get to know them better and feel confident that there are true individuals serving their needs here at the headquarter office.


THE HOSTWINDS TECHNICAL SUPPORT TEAM:


Scott Miller
Senior Support Technician

DOB: January 19th
Joined Hostwinds: 02/10/14

Personal Interests: “I’m interested in Servers, Networking, Game Design, Computer Building, Video Games and Music.”

Favorite Music/Band/Performer: “I like Daft Punk.”
Favorite Movie: “Day After Tomorrow
Favorite TV Show: “Mythbusters
Favorite Quote/Saying:There are 10 type of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don’t

What made you first become interested in computers and/or technology? “When my parents first brought home a computer they had purchased from Wal-Mart, I believe the computer only had about 128MB, maybe 256MB of Ram a small HDD on Windows XP. This sparked my initial interest and then as time went on I learned more about how to repair computers. From there I wanted to take up some development classes and got so far as to teach Java in my high school.

What has been the most memorable situation OR life changing experience in your life (so far)? “The most life changing experience so far was when I met my girlfriend. We met on our way from leaving Great Lakes Il. We were both heading home after having been there for a couple months, we met and things kind of just grew from there. Looking back it was a huge gamble getting into a relationship when and how we did, but so far it seems to be paying off.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? “I would have to say the most embarassing thing would be when I nearly drowned, wasn’t so much scary as embarrasing. As they only send one person a time and I ended up holding the whole test for about 15-20 minutes. It was an embarassing feeling being dragged by the life guards to the side of the test.

Please describe your first “fist fight”? “The first fist fight I had was a simple fight just between me and a friend, we weren’t mad, just young and wanted to say
we had been in a fight. After the fight we both just went home, it was a draw we both got a few good punches in.”

Scenario #1: Three cars are left to you by a wealthy relative who has recently died – but you can only choose and keep 1 of the 3:
Which one would you choosethe 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo, 2014 Ferrari California or 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG? Why?
“I would choose the Mercedes-Benz as I have always been a fan of the Mercedes line. Not to mentioned with the top speeds only
varying by a few MPH there is not much difference there, what it boils down to is preference of which vehicle the individual wants.
Not to mention I have always thoght the Mercedes line was a lot more luxurious.”

Where would you choose to go on a holiday or vacation: “A House on a Mountain Lake would be my choice, the reason being is that I always found mountans to be beautiful. I would hope that there is a nearby waterfall and forest. I also love nature. Nature is always something that has appealed to me, although I consider myself very technologically inclined, I would not mind a week out of the technology at a retreat.”

Scenario #2: You have 15 minutes to evacuate your house and will never be allowed to return – but you are allowed to take 5 personal items
that can be carried in a normal sized backpack. What would you take  in the time allowed?Assuming my phone and wallet and keys are on my person like they normally are, I would grab my engagement ring, my DS Case, and pull the GPU/Ram out of my computer.

What do you like the most about working at Hostwinds? “I like that we definitely try to help customers, and I have heard it from many people I work with, that we do more for them than most previous hosts.”

 

Michael Armstrong
Support Technician

DOB: October 7th
Joined Hostwinds: 09/30/14

Personal Interests: “Playing guitar, App development (Android), Playing video games (PS3, PC), Tai-Chi, Listening to music, Detailing vehicles, School.”


Favorite Music/Band/Performer:
 “Periphery.”
Favorite Movie: “Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Favorite TV Show: “Doctor Who
Favorite Quote/Saying:Of all of the impossible possibilities the most probable is possibly the most impossible.

What made you first become interested in computers and/or technology? “When I was a kid my dad had a piece of hardware called a stabilizer which could be used to remove the copyright protection from VHS tapes. Out of curiosity I took it apart and had a look at what made this “magical” device work. To my young eyes the IC’s, resistors, and circuit board in general was like something out of Star Wars, I instantly decided right then and there that I wanted to learn how things like that worked and eventually make them on my own..”

What has been the most memorable situation OR life changing experience in your life (so far)? “When I was 23 I had the good fortune of being blessed with a wonderful little boy who always brightens even my darkest days and puts a smile on my face even while he’s sleeping. He has taught me so much about the real meaning to life and how to be a more positive individual, and he’s only 4. I don’t think I would be half the man that I am today without his little shenanigans in my life..”

Scenario #1: Three cars are left to you by a wealthy relative who has recently died – but you can only choose and keep 1 of the 3:
Which one would you choosethe 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo, 2014 Ferrari California or 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG? Why? “I would choose the 2014 Ferrari California. No particular reason other than it looks kind of cool. I would more than likely sell it and put the money I get for it in a savings account for my son so that he may attend college without taking out too many (if any) student loans.”

Where would you choose to go on a holiday or vacation: “A hotel on a tropical beach would be a lot of fun. I enjoy surfing, and where there’s a beach there’s usual a wave or two. In addition to the beach hotels are great too, due to the potential for never ending room service and other amenities the hotel could offer.”

Scenario #2: You have 15 minutes to evacuate your house and will never be allowed to return – but you are allowed to take 5 personal items
that can be carried in a normal sized backpack. What would you take  in the time allowed? “I would take the photo album, external hard drive, laptop, blanket, laptop charger.”

What do you like the most about working at Hostwinds? “I absolutely love the staff that I work with. Everyone from Peter our CEO to the other technicians I work with, all of them have been very welcoming and knowledgeable. I love being surrounded by professional intelligent people who I feel privileged to be able to learn from.”

 

 

John Low
Support Technician

DOB: October 13th
Joined Hostwinds: 10/09/14

Personal Interests: “Video games, computers, movies, learning computer code…and outer space.

 


Favorite Music/Band/Performer:
 “None.”
Favorite Movie: “Star Trek: VI
Favorite TV Show: “None
Favorite Quote/Saying:Stay sharp.”, or “Improve your position.”

What made you first become interested in computers and/or technology? “My father often had a laptop with Sim City on it, or Star Trek to play.  I later had my own DOS programs and NES. Video games have really driven my thirst for knowledge of better and faster technology.

What has been the most memorable situation OR life changing experience in your life (so far)? “That would have to be losing mother.  We thought, rather hoped, she was going to improve. Father and I picked out big Christmas gifts for our family that year, just the way she would have wanted and had planed out.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? “Once, I made the error of thinking about 8-­9pm was 12 hours earlier.  I was upset Whataburger was not offering breakfast. It was not until I arrived at work, did I learn how off I was in my sense of time and why there was no breakfast offered at that hour.

Please describe your first “fist fight”? “I can not tell you who won the fight.  I just recall getting suspended from school.  I also ended upin a good deal of trouble at home over the ordeal.  My parents later pulled me out of public schools, so I became home schooled for a bit.”

Scenario #1: Three cars are left to you by a wealthy relative who has recently died – but you can only choose and keep 1 of the 3:
Which one would you choosethe 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo, 2014 Ferrari California or 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG? Why?
“I would pick the Porsche 911 Turbo.  It has better acceleration and top speed, along with a lesser curb weight. The 911 Turbo, is also closer to the dimensions of my own vehicle.”

Where would you choose to go on a holiday or vacation: “My “retreat” is my house…or perhaps the house of my Father.  I have more than enough to entertain me and keep me busy. There are also things like movies, bowling, and laser tag all here in town.”

Scenario #2: You have 15 minutes to evacuate your house and will never be allowed to return – but you are allowed to take 5 personal items
that can be carried in a normal sized backpack. What would you take  in the time allowed?I would pack a change of clothes.  I would then be sure to grab my phone and flash light. Just before running out the door, I would also take my screwdriver.

What do you like the most about working at Hostwinds? “I like how responsive my workstation is.  It is the first time I have ever had a workstation with three monitors ( plus the two shared wall­mounted monitors ). Since working for Hostwinds, my desire to learn more about technology has increased.”

 

Paul Johnson
Support Technician

DOB: March 8th
Joined Hostwinds: 07/21/14

Personal Interests: “I’m interested in Linux, OpenStreetMap, cycling, driving.”

 


Favorite Music/Band/Performer:
 “Nine Inch Nails, The Flaming Lips, Daft Punk, A Tribe Called Red.
Favorite Movie: “Star Trek (2009)
Favorite TV Show: “Archer
Favorite Quote/Saying:I swear I had something for this.”

What made you first become interested in computers and/or technology? “Gaming!  Wolfenstein 3D and various LPMud and TinyMUCK systems got me hooked to the point where my high school superlative was “most likely to marry a computer.

What has been the most memorable situation OR life changing experience in your life (so far)? “Moving from my nearly lifelong home of Oregon to Tulsa, Oklahoma, sight unseen.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? “Yeah, I don’t talk about that anymore.

Please describe your first “fist fight”? “Obviously having been kind of a geeky kid, I ended up on a pretty decent number of fights growing up.  I can hold my own, but not sure which one was the first one anymore.  Had to have been in first or second grade…”

Scenario #1: Three cars are left to you by a wealthy relative who has recently died – but you can only choose and keep 1 of the 3:
Which one would you choosethe 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo, 2014 Ferrari California or 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG? Why?
“Limited to those three, I’d go with the Benz, mostly because it’s the most reliable of the three.   If I had to go with a high-end import but had a choice, probably a Mercedes-Benz G-class pickup because they’re a bit more utilitarian without being pretentious.”

Where would you choose to go on a holiday or vacation: “Cabin at a winter resort.  Even if it is summer.  Basically, Lake City, Colorado is awesome.”

Scenario #2: You have 15 minutes to evacuate your house and will never be allowed to return – but you are allowed to take 5 personal items
that can be carried in a normal sized backpack. What would you take  in the time allowed?Having had to evacuate with only a backpack hastily packed in limited time before, a change of clothes, a set of hand tools, my laptop, phone and chargers for both, first aid kit, couple bottles of water, wallet, a couple of pens, and a portable desktop containing vital papers and a passport.  More than five items, but it does all fit in a standard size laptop backpack.”

What do you like the most about working at Hostwinds? “The people.  Good coworkers, good customers, relaxed atmosphere.”

 

Elias Mkalech
Support Technician

DOB: March 9th
Joined Hostwinds: 07/18/14

Personal Interests: “Fishing, watching boxing, American football, playing Madden football on Xbox One.


Favorite Music/Band/Performer:
 “Iggy Pop
Favorite Movie: “The Thing, and most anything directed by John Carpenter
Favorite TV Show: “Game of Thrones
Favorite Quote/Saying:Discipline is doing what you hate to do, but doing it like you love it” – Mike Tyson

What made you first become interested in computers and/or technology? “I was always curious, but as a child my 4th grade teacher let me take home one of our Apple II-E computers for the weekend, made a strong impression on me…I don’t think I slept much that weekend.

What has been the most memorable situation OR life changing experience in your life (so far)? “Becoming a parent,  far and away that has changed me more than any experience I’ve had. Not only does it change you, but I think it makes you far more aware of who you are as a person and what you expect from others.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? “I stabbed myself in the nose with a drinking straw, freak accident, caused massive bleeding and endless jokes. Still here about it from time to time, usually when taking a drink from a straw.

Please describe your first “fist fight”? “Hard to remember, I think it was 3rd grade and over a pencil…don’t think there was a clear winner.”

Scenario #1: Three cars are left to you by a wealthy relative who has recently died – but you can only choose and keep 1 of the 3:
Which one would you choosethe 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo, 2014 Ferrari California or 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG? Why?
“Whichever one I can sell for the highest price…I’m not a car guy, would rather have a cheap truck and a nice boat.”

Where would you choose to go on a holiday or vacation: “Seclusion sounds better to me than a tourist trap, the idea is to relax after all. I take the cabin on the lake.”

Scenario #2: You have 15 minutes to evacuate your house and will never be allowed to return – but you are allowed to take 5 personal items
that can be carried in a normal sized backpack. What would you take  in the time allowed? “That’s a hard one to answer, I’m not overly sentimental, and not very materialistic. I’m stumped.”

What do you like the most about working at Hostwinds? “It’s a growing company, and I feel like I’m part of something. That’s not been how I’ve felt working for larger corporate entities. I’m not a number here, I’m a person, and my work is appreciated.”

 

DEDICATION, EFFORT and STRENGTH:

Windy

When Peter Holden speaks about the Hostwinds story, you will notice his use of the word “we” when referring to the beginnings of this company. The message he conveys about its birth, growth and future is very clear and strong:

From the first moment, our company ran on the dedication, efforts and strength of more than just me.” says Holden. “I have always referred to this company as “we”, even before the hiring of our first employee six months after our launch. We operate because of the dedication of all involved – founder, staff and clients alike. We are all Hostwinds.

Stay tuned in future weeks for the continuation to the series “Getting to Know Hostwinds” where we will profile other members of Hostwinds staff – including our management team, our sales force – and take an inside look at what happens during a day in the life of a growing, dynamic web hosting company!

Enjoy…and see you soon.

 

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