“Good soccer players need not be titans sculpted by Michelangelo. In soccer, ability is much more important than shape, and in many cases, skill is the art of turning limitations into virtues.” —Eduardo Galeano
Joe Payne is a father of two, sportsman, guitar slinger and Smart Dolphins IT Solutions technology success director. The title says a lot.
Smart Dolphins IT Solutions is a world-ranked managed service provider, or “MSP” for short. The company is also annually ranked high on the Great Place to Work Canada® list.
So, being a technology success director carries weight. Imagine overseeing success. That is like overseeing, winning, achieving greatness, or turning limitations into virtues. President Dave Monahan humbly accedes and in a paraphrasical manner tells anyone who is willing to hear him out, that he is not the smartest dolphin at Smart Dolphins; he surrounds himself with talent.
Joe is one of them.
Also, known as a project architect, he ensures that projects are well-scoped, quoted accurately and timelines and procurement are met if not exceeded. To use a soccer analogy, he is like a midfielder playing defense. Joe gets to see the whole field and all his teammates from the best vantage point. It’s not really a metaphor, in fact, he plays soccer in that very fullback position.
“I didn’t really start playing soccer (again) until I moved to Victoria in 2005. I have been hooked ever since. I play left or right back (defense) but really like playing wing (mid field).”
Asked about sharing a unique story from his 16 years with the company he said, “Back before Office 365 and Exchange Online was a thing, I moved a law firm out of the cloud and back onto local infrastructure.”
“And this move included an Exchange and domain migration, Blackberry enterprise server (which meant reconfiguring six lawyer’s blackberry devices — one of which was in Palm Springs at the time) as well as setting up a terminal server (remote desktop server) from scratch. A whole lot of prep and a busy weekend got ‘er done.”
He also orchestrated an on-premises Exchange migration — the biggest one at the time for Smart Dolphins. This included 70-plus mailboxes and another busy weekend.
For Joe, being the technology success director is a dream job.
And as luck would have it on that fateful March day in 2006, he found the job posting completely by chance.
“I was working at a call centre in Victoria, which was my first job since moving here. A co-worker mentioned the mysterious name “VIATEC” to me. I had no idea what it was. I added VIATEC to my job search routine and soon after found the posting for Smart Dolphins. My first few weeks were weird. One day I’d be updating HTML code in notepad (we still did some web hosting and design work at the time) and the next I’d be onsite with Jesse Smith, COO, installing a server.”
Smart Dolphins hasn’t built or maintained websites for years. In fact, Smart Dolphins focus is all about the strategic alignment of IT in small to medium sized businesses. Smart Dolphins becomes their client’s IT department, a natural extension of their business. Everything is taken care of. And outside of projects, nearly everything is included in the flat monthly fee.
Projects is where Joe comes in.
He manages the flow of project work. He works with the virtual chief information officers, also known as vCIOs and ensures that we have the right people working on the right things. Necessary work outside of day-to-day support and planning gets scoped, proposed, and turned into projects. Then, depending on the size and complexity of the project, Joe may get involved with actively managing it.
At Smart Dolphins you get to know your vITM (virtual IT manager) and vCIO well, but when it comes to projects, Joe steps in. He is one of the most experienced people in his role in the province.
Joe aspires to do many things. The very next item on his list is to tackle the West Coast Trail this year. And as mentioned he does love music and can be found noodling on the guitar and agonizing over John Lennon’s use of various barre chords.
Asked which are his go-to musical artists he said, “QOTSA, The Beatles, Tool, Led Zeppelin, Tame Impala,” among others.
Asked how he made the decision to move to Victoria he said, “The walls started to close in. When I was 22, I got a job at the largest employer in Nelson and that made it seem even smaller. Three years of that and I had to get out. Also, I had met my future wife, who was back in Nelson and wanted to move back to Victoria.”
Music, work, sports, fitness, not necessarily in that order are important in Joe’s world, but his two boys (and family) are the most important. Family first. His life goals are specifically centred on giving his family a great upbringing.
With Smart Dolphins embracing the work from home or work from anywhere evolution, Joe can randomly show up at the Smart Dolphins offices at Quadra and McKenzie or not. His workday is seamless, whether he comes into the office, works from home or is out and about scoping company project work, if you will, turning limitations into virtues.