How long have you been on the TOPS team?
It will be 4 years in May.
Describe your role.
My title would be telecom technician, but really it’s a lot more than that. First and foremost I install and troubleshoot commercial phone systems, but depending on the customer or the job I might install or troubleshoot networking devices such as routers, switches, or access points. I pull cable fairly often, I have installed paging equipment, and sometimes I have to install software on computers and/or troubleshoot computer problems if that customer’s phone system has a software component. Sometimes I act in a customer service role discussing how they want their phone system to function or showing them how to use it after a new install.
What training/education did you pursue to prepare for this career path?
I took a program called Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology at Okanagan College Kelowna campus. Since starting at TOPS I have taken several training courses taught directly by phone system manufacturers.
What did you find most valuable in your training/education?
My education at Okanagan College was fantastic. The most valuable thing it taught me was all of the core concepts in networking and telephony which I still use today. Some of the more advanced courses went very in depth into specific subjects that I might not use in my field, and the equipment we were taught on was different than what we use at TOPS, but the basics principles are the same.
Having that foundation coming out of the college, I was able to pick up the specialized knowledge required to be a “phone guy” fairly quickly, and also apply my networking knowledge to the job, sometimes even helping other technicians with network related troubles or finding new and easier ways to accomplish something.
How did you first learn about TOPS?
I first heard about TOPS from one of my teachers at the college, Patrick Hudson, who used to work there as a telecom tech.
What do you find the most challenging about your work? What do you like most about it?
The most challenging thing is to keep up with the shear amount of products – phones, phone systems, routers, switches, etc. that we support. Learning how to program all these new (and old) products, figure out the quirks, and make them do what I want them to do can be difficult but also satisfying.
I also love the freedom and independence the job provides. I come into work in the morning, look at my scheduled jobs, and just go out and do them.
What have you gained from working at TOPS?
I have gained a lot from working at TOPS. Apart from the valuable knowledge and industry recognized certifications on specific products, I have learned to do things properly the first time, and document everything. I have learned patience and communication skills (which I did not have before), problem solving abilities, and to be decisive.
What advice do you have for prospective TOPS candidates?
My advice is to have good grades and be eager to learn. That’s how I got the job anyway.
Do you have an office nickname? What is it?
I don’t know you would have to ask some of the other staff.
If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If I had to eat one meal for the rest of my life, it would probably be pizza and beer, but only if I could have different toppings on it every day.
Do you have a Motto or personal mantra?
Not really, the only thing that comes to mind (and I am not sure how to phrase it) is that I alone am the master of my own fate.
About TOPS Technology Solutions for Business
TOPS is dedicated to identifying and designing business systems that support your business needs with reliable and scalable solutions. For over 30 years, TOPS has been trusted by the largest and most demanding businesses in the greater British Columbia Interior. Locally owned and operated, we are attentive and nimble, providing superior customer experience to all we serve. We’re your partner, dedicated to increasing your productivity.