A Day in the Life
Greg Johnson - Product Architect New Technology (Houston, USA)
How long have you worked for KCS?
I have been with the company for 15 years. I started in 2001 as Product Manager for Mincron’s Warehouse Management system, responsible for design, development, and support of the application. After becoming involved in several new research initiatives and projects my roll changed in early 2009 to Team Leader – New Technology, overseeing a new team tasked with identifying new technologies (Windows, Web, Mobile, etc..) for integration into our existing applications, and then developing new solutions to utilize those new technologies.
Describe a typical day
Most days begin with a brief discussion with the developers on my team to review progress from the previous day, resolve issues, and set priorities for the day. That usually leads to spending time reviewing and testing recently completed changes for ongoing development projects, as well as testing changes completed to resolve issues reported by customers.
Most of the applications our team works with involve hardware, languages, and delivery methods that differ from what other groups in the company are familiar with. As a result, much of my day is spent working with all other teams in the company enabling each team to perform their usual role as it applies to these new systems.
That could include working with the Professional Services group on delivering and supporting the new applications in a customer environment, or even building new software tools to automate and simplify delivery and maintenance tasks.
I may meet with Account Managers to review implementation questions and issues, or to discuss modification/enhancement requests received from customers. I could also meet with Customer Service Reps to guide them on how to research and resolve a customer support call involving one of our new applications.
Since the primary task for our team is to bring new technology and ideas into our systems, I try to spend time every day learning something new. That could mean learning a bit about something completely new that might be of interest for future integration into our systems, or learning about new features and functions within tools and products we already use but are still learning about.
What do you like best about KCS?
I am one of the few people I know who says going to work every day is fun. Part of that is due to the variety of work being done, which never leaves room for boredom or monotony. Another large part of that is because of the “family” I spend the days with.
I have been here 15 years, which is far less than many of the folks I work with. In an industry where change is constant and turnover is a fact of life, it’s different here. People that come here tend to stay. It’s a great work environment, with a lot of great people who very quickly become less your co-workers and more your friends.
What would be useful for new hires to know about KCS?
The office is filled with very bright, highly skilled people, yet almost all of them are in someone else’s office at some point during the day asking for advice or help on how to do something. Push yourself to keep learning and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Everyone here uses everyone else to gain more knowledge, advice, and helpful tips. There are so many different types of work being done, by so many really good people, that your ability to succeed and grow is really only limited by your willingness to jump into the fray and take advantage of the opportunities.