Inside CSI: In this edition of “Inside CSI”, I am pleased to provide you with a few glimpses into a key member of our Support and Implementation Team, Mr. Blake St. John.
Highly technical and organized just might be the prerequisites for a CSI engineer, but to say Blake St. John is technical or organized might be a vast understatement. In charge of managing his stable of customer implementations, Blake also finds time in his busy schedule to oversee technical server specifications and configurations for turnkey server projects.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Blake for a lunchtime interview. It had to be a neutral place, as the engineering staff doesn’t normally allow the marketing team up in the lab area. Just kidding.
Blake, you got your start with CSI in CSI’s sister company, CSI.net, doing IT consulting and network administration for small business. Has that helped in your transition to VO support and implementation?
It surely has. A strong foundation in Information Technology and network administration is definitely helpful. I will say that it is only a piece of the pie though.
Please tell us a little bit about your background.
I have roughly 8 years of official schooling in IT and Windows systems administration, (and a couple of unfinished associates’ degrees, as well as a bachelor’s degree) along with a pile of IT certifications that are in a pile of dust or propping up a desk somewhere. My real schooling (books and papers only go so far) was out in the field, doing everything from computer hardware repair, network wiring, network design, and windows administration. I also had a several year jaunt in college performing DSL and router support for SBC as well as server operations at IBM Global. My background is also speckled with industrial construction, freight elevator repair, commercial auto parts sales, and in high school I was a restaurant swing manager.
What type of call recording projects get you the most excited?
The projects I really dig into are the ones that make people’s head’s spin; where you go into these international organizations and build these recording and Q/A solutions that span the globe. They are the systems with over a thousand agents and hundreds of different components in all different countries that tightly integrate into one custom solution. Those are the solutions that after you design it and then build it, you sit back and look at how well everything flows together and how seamless it is.
What point in the project plan is most critical to a successful implementation?
They all are; but especially the recording requirements and the server / network requirements. Without either one of those being successfully fulfilled, the project grinds to a halt.
What will you be doing on your next vacation?
I wish I could say that I would be going away somewhere, but instead I will be continuing the endless process of restoring and renovating my home, a 125 year old Victorian.
What tech companies do you admire (besides CSI, of course!)?
Fog Creek Software: they make great products and there is always a support person available to answer your questions quickly (Just like us here at CSI!)