CTS – Your Technology Partner

Meet Matt Dean, Director of Technology Services, CTS Nashville

Written by Matt Dean on January 23, 2015

This week in our “Tech Talk” series, we go to Tennessee to meet Matt Dean, Director of Technology Services in Nashville.

How long have you been with CTS, and what keeps you here? Matt Dean_015

May of this year will mark my eleventh anniversary with CTS. There are many things that keep me here, but the two things that have the biggest influence on me are the people and the constant challenge.

In Marcus Lemonis’ “(P)eople-(P)rocess-(P)roduct principle”, the first “P” is always people. This echoes how I feel about CTS; the people come first. The type of work at CTS naturally selects for those who are constantly driven, life-long learners, which results in a culture that challenges you to always put your best foot forward.

The second biggest influence on why I stay at CTS is the constant challenges that it presents. In my role, I work with clients across industries and in many varied technologies. It is a challenge to keep up; I always have a list of books to read, technologies to learn, and industries to research.

The culture of constant learning means that even with a running backlog of industries to research and technologies to learn, I still find time for the occasional personal interest. Right now, I am reading A Short History of Nearly Everything.

What types of projects are you currently overseeing, and what technologies are involved?

The Nashville team is currently delivering a handful of engagements that I am personally involved with at various levels, from technical oversight and project tracking to hands on coding. Our active engagements include Quality Assurance (both manual and performance), Enterprise Integration, Portals, web development, and a custom CRM implementation. The primary technologies we are working with include LoadRunner, BizTalk, SharePoint, Microsoft Azure, Ruby, and Salesforce.

What was the most recent training initiative your team accomplished? What was the outcome?

Aligning with my top reason for working at CTS, we put a focus on peer-based learning with a fortnightly team training here in Nashville. Everyone has the opportunity to learn from different cultures and be exposed to different technologies, processes, and methodologies through regularly working in teams at client sites. Since this training is peer-led, each fortnight a different team member (or two) volunteers to lead and share with the whole office something new. Recent and upcoming topics include Test Driven Development, Regular Expressions, Ruby, Bootstrap, JavaScript, Chef, Big Data, and much more.

Since we view training as something that is continuous, I would say that we see the best possible outcome every week; the whole team is participating and there is always interest in presenting new topics. It doesn’t require me driving the training to momentum; it is self-sustaining.

What emerging trend in technology are you most excited about?

I am personally most excited about the quantified self-movement (Wikipedia) and how it is being applied at an individual level for wellness improvement. Healthcare, the Internet of Things (IoT), or Big Data may get all the glory, but I believe that the biggest change is going to come from enabling of individuals. We are truly in the infancy of this movement and I think the opportunities are vast. The primary reason that I am most excited about this trend is that we are seeing the technology driving the science. The ability to track, monitor, and engage individuals on such a large scale is enabling science to evolve its understanding of the world’s most complicated piece of technology, the human being, at an unprecedented pace.

What has been your most memorable experience at CTS?

In my (almost) eleven years, I have many memorable experiences, but if I had to pick the absolute top, it would be from 2006-2007. I logged over 2,800 hours on one of CTS’ largest projects with one of our biggest customers. The project was a large-scale enterprise integration effort that had high visibility and a strict deadline to meet regulatory compliance. The team pulled together, put in some late nights, consumed a (not insignificant) amount of energy drinks and pizza, and got the project delivered successfully. Circling back to where this post began, the people made the experience. We spent a large portion of the effort working in a “war room” where, if the team had not gelled so well, it could have been uncomfortable. At the conclusion of the project, the whole team went out for dinner and skeet shooting. It was the first time skeet shooting for much of the team and everyone enjoyed it. I still have the picture of the team from the skeet shooting range on the shelf in my office.

Thanks Matt!

Check back for our next installment!

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