As many of you know, we recently welcomed Pat Harper, our new Chief Technology Officer, to the PGi Executive Team. As our new CTO, Pat Harper is determined to maintain the spirit of innovation championed by our former CTO, David Guthrie, while simultaneously demonstrating a renewed focus on quality, scalability and our partner channel. We recently sat down with Pat to get to know the man behind the technology. Here are a few fun facts that you should know about our new CTO:
He’s Been in the Tech Space Since the Beginning
Pat Harper got his start in the technology space early on as an Information and Computer Science major (which would today be closer to a Computer Engineering major) at Georgia Tech. Pat participated in Georgia Tech’s co-op program and completed his studies while working as a computer operator for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC).
He Began His Career in Product Support
Upon graduating college, Pat Harper pursued a career in product support where he gained invaluable knowledge about support operations and how to cultivate and foster relationships with customers. Though he undoubtedly learned from his experiences in product support, according to Pat, if he could do it again, he would start his career in product development from the get-go so he could have more of an opportunity to get more of a “leg up” on the technology industry and trends than that which he experienced in product support.
Pat Got His Start at PGi in 2009
Pat came on board at PGi in 2009 to run Technical Operations under his predecessor, David Guthrie. Pat went on to become the General Manager of PGi’s Expedite which was eventually sold to EasyLink in 2010. When EasyLink was acquired by the Toronto-based OpenText, they asked Pat to come on board where he eventually became CIO.
Pat Firmly Believes in the Power of His Employees
When asked what the best career advice he ever received was, Pat referred back to some wisdom given to him when he was 18 or 19 by a manager who told him to always focus on people. According to Pat, “When you go through day-to-day operations and when you make decisions in your career – whether it be process decisions, tech decisions, people decisions – at the end of the day, focusing on the people in your organization and on building strong teams is the best thing you will ever do. Developing your people and creating an environment where your employees can maximize their potential and make contributions to the team ultimately makes all of the other processes in your organization easier while making sure your employees are also happy and fulfilled by what they do.”
He Is Setting His Sights on the Partner Channel
As we finish up 2016 and look towards 2017, Pat intends to put a large focus on taking our existing products and enhancing their quality and scalability for carrier-grade performance that will allow us to work with our channel partners to bring those products to a larger audience. The core of the communications industry has been based in consistency and quality since its inception
As Pat pointed out, “[There is] an expectation that you have when you buy from a telecom service provider is that the service is always going to work… In our partnerships, we have to focus on quality, on providing carrier-grade performance that will allow us to partner with other telecom organizations but also, in some cases, to compete with the product offerings that they have.”
Pat Believes It’s Our People and Products That Make PGi So Great
For Pat, PGi’s largest asset has always been its employees. Pat sang praises of the PGi team, noting that even when he briefly left PGi, “I always kept in touch with and networked with the folks here because the quality and caliber of the people that work here is something I didn’t want to break away from.”
Pat continued: “I used a lot of PGi technologies when I left the organization that I had brought into other companies that I made technology decisions for. I was not only an employee of PGi, I was a customer of PGi. I was a partner of PGi. And now I’m back in the organization again. PGi has been a large part of who I am for many years, but it was ultimately the people that really drove me back to it because the quality of folks here and their drive and commitment to excellence are truly outstanding.”