A hearty welcome to GDT employee spotlight! Every month we choose an intellect in our team to bring them into the spotlight, commending them for their performance in the preceding month, and ask a few fun questions about them and their team. This month, GDT Marketing Specialist, Marissa Gaudet interviews John Woodall, Vice President, and Field CTO at GDT.
Marissa: Hi John! We are excited to have you join us today. To start off, how long have you been with GDT and what does your role entail?
John Woodall: I was part of the acquisition of Integrated Archive Systems (IAS) in 2020, so a little over 3 years… if you count the time at IAS then it would be 21 ½ years.
My job entails wearing several hats. As a VP and Field CTO focused on Hybrid Cloud, I work with our customers to enable solutions and outcomes that drive their businesses more effectively and efficiently. I think of their only being “cloud” which is a way of operating and not so much a location. Hybrid cloud is the de facto standard for deployment for greater than 80% of customers and helping them gain the value from their hybrid cloud is essential and it is imperative that GDT focuses on hybrid cloud. I work with our partners and our partner alliance team(s) to ensure that we have the right technology elements for our solutions and alignment with our partners on how GDT goes to market, and I also work with our alliances team to engage and align our field and partner teams. We are in a relationship business, and these are critical relationships to build. I work with our marketing team to create content (blog, video, eBooks, etc.), messaging, and collateral as well as the creation of events for our customers. Finally, I align to and work with our PS, MS teams and practice leads to align our delivery and services capabilities to our customers and to collaborate with them on how we productize our offerings as they pertain to hybrid cloud… think all things data center and all things cloud.
Marissa: What would you say is your favorite part about your job?
John Woodall: Variety… no two days are ever alike. I love talking to customers… learning what is important to them, taking the experiences of literally thousands of customer engagements and using that to make their lives better. I cannot do that without a team… I have enjoyed and still do, the camaraderie and esprit de corps that is always there if you look for it. I love that there is always something new to learn… sometimes technical, sometimes the awareness of what I do not know.
Before starting at GDT, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
The most unusual was when I worked in media and entertainment. The one job that was most interesting was as a cameraman and filming an open-heart surgery. Being both amazed at seeing the work being done and remaining detached and focused on what I was there to do.
The most interesting job was at a software company I was part of for 5 years. As part of my role, I supported all public appearances of the company for last two years I worked there. This involved having my own lab and gear that was part of a typical trade show. I would set up access to our mainframe, use various UNIX platforms and VAX VMS systems connecting to various clients; Windows, Apple, VAX, Solaris, DEC Ultrix, SGI Irix. These would connect via Ethernet and Token Ring (CAU’s, MAU’s and LAM’s anyone?) and they communicated via DEC LAT, DECnet, Apple’s EtherTalk & TokenTalk, Microsoft LAN Manager, Novell Netware, and Banyan Vines. I would install Oracle, RDBMS, IBM DB2, set up test queries, load sample data into the various databases, after which I would configure the beta, current and one older version of all our software using all platforms and all databases and sources for demo. I developed a standard methodology, data protection and recovery process and cookbook and pre-event timeline. For the 2 years I did that 100% of our public shows and demos were without error. It was a huge challenge, and I am grateful for a manager who knew it would be a challenge and let me go figure it out.
Marissa: You are certainly an asset and we are glad you have you at GDT. Following up with something fun, if you could do anything for a job or career, what would it be?
John Woodall: This is a great question. I like what I do and enjoy it… but it is customers that make it fun. So, if I were to do something else, or more correctly have taken a different path… I would have become a chef. My mom taught me how to cook when I was in elementary school and the rest, as they say, is history. In this alternate path I would be ideally serving intimate gatherings multi-course, tasty tid-bits. Guy Fieri for hire if you will… Fully farm-to-table, served in the homes of the people I was there to serve. Spending time getting to know them, their likes and preferences and then creating a gastronomical surprise for them.
Marissa: I would hire you! What’s a fun fact about you that most people may not know?
John Woodall: Well now… we all have our stories! I spent many a year starting late in high school and for a few years after rock climbing. A few close calls and some epic adventures.
Marissa: Sounds exciting and dangerous! Throughout all of your adventures, where would you say is your favorite place to be or travel to?
John: There are a lot of great places I have been. For myself, I am content on a hike and most likely somewhere in the mountains. As to travel, I have enjoyed being in places where I clearly do not fit in… In my personal experience I would say Japan and India have been great places to travel to. Different and diverse but I found the people to be just as normal and more similar than not to my experiences here in the US and elsewhere.
Marissa: Learning and experiencing different cultures is fascinating. Do you have a motto or personal mantra that you live by?
John Woodall: One Day At A Time!
Marissa: How about this; what advice would you give the younger you?
John Woodall: Take the risk, do the unexpected, listen more and talk less… and most of all, do not judge a person. Know your worth, what other people think or say about you is not your business. Do not hold grudges, make peace with those around you and be grateful for each day, no matter how it is going.
Marissa: Those are great bits of advice! Next question, if you could meet anyone in the world, past or present, who would it be?
John Woodall: Adam… yes, the original one.
Marissa: Wouldn’t that be quite the conversation! Is there anything you are currently loving and want to share? This can be a podcast, book, tv show, music, activity, anything!
John Woodall: Currently enjoying The Citadel on Prime… Musically… currently it would be Dorothy (band out of LA) and Corey Taylor, but my musical taste is quite broad and changes regularly. Book would be Discipline equals freedom by Jocko Willink. Also, currently on a kick with James Whittaker ex. Microsoft/Google and I am going down the ESG rabbit hole.
Marissa: Thank you so much John for chatting with me today! It has been a real treat.
Enjoyed this month’s spotlight? Stay tuned for more! Make sure you get to our conversation next month on yet another interesting member of GDT Family.
*At GDT, we value Authenticity and diversity! Opinions shared in the Employee Spotlight help you get to know the amazing team members you work with. P.S. they are not intended to reflect the views of GDT.