A few years ago, when I'd just been promoted to IT Manager, my predecessor encouraged me to staff my weaknesses. I've followed that strategy, and have had the privilege of building up some excellent staff and building some great teams. I've now moved into the realm of staffing my strengths, as I seek to be less of a point-of-failure, and more of a value-add to my organization. I've also had the privilege of working with some excellent corporate partners, and this post will the first in a short series highlighting a few of those amazing companies. These guys have totally made up for my weaknesses in various areas, and I wouldn't be where I am today without them. The first, is Schooley Mitchell Telecom Consultants.
When I asked my predecessor what John Lake did for us, he said "Oh, John's a great guy. He'll help you out with just about anything you need. Call him and introduce yourself, trust me, it'll save your butt." He was right on the money, over the years as we've negotiated internet contracts, web hosting changes, VoIP projects and more, John has been right there at my side offering guidance and a much-needed second opinion.
In the dark reaches of time, all phones and office equipment at Catch The Fire (then TACF) was managed by our Facilities and Maintenance team. I'm not sure when they first started working with Schooley Mitchell, but I found an email this morning from 2004, introducing John to us in IT, under the auspices of "Telecom and internet consultants that look into all that sort of stuff for us and have saved us tons of money."
In 2005 John was instrumental in us choosing Q9 Networks as our main server collocation facility, when we performed a major upgrade to our video streaming service. In the intervening years, John has fought hard for excellent pricing from many service providers, and has always been just a phone call away. He's steered us clear of a couple of dodgy providers, and even when not negotiating contracts directly, he's been a sound counselor when I've been out of my depth in a new territory or industry segment.
If you're looking to "staff/contract your weaknesses", I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Schooley Mitchell for anything in the telecomms space. They're a smart, loyal, up-to-date bunch of people. Cheers!