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Employee Spotlight: Dan Southwick

How would you describe your role at RII?

Challenging, but do not let that become a negative word in your mind. I live for challenges and love to meet or beat the challenges presented to the Production Operations (ProdOps) team. In a day, I can touch many RII products, some deployed in the United States and others international. The ProdOps team itself is staffed with some of the best and the most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. We work together to keep products humming and support our clients with the best possible solution for their needs.


What did you do before joining RII?

I started my career administering a dial-up internet service provider (ISP) on the coast of North Carolina. Then I moved to Northern Virginia and worked for Cable and Wireless’ web hosting business, which led me to find a passion in Storage Array Networks and I later joined 3PAR Data, the inventors of Thin Provisioning. One of the first customers I installed a 3PAR SAN device for liked my work and eventually recruited me to work for them at CACI in support of the DOJ MEGA contract.

Years later, I left CACI for a different DOJ project—the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR). For this project, I was the Infrastructure Support Lead helping manage all aspects of the enterprise IT environment, which eventually led me to RII. Each day at RII feels like my next chance to do something awesome!


How does someone become a ProdOps engineer? What skills are required?

First, you have to not be afraid of technology. As far as the skills we cherish most, here’s a few:

  • Understanding of Linux and the fundamentals of how to administer services offered on that platform

  • Good troubleshooting skills

  • Awareness of OpenSource software and how to interact with it

  • The mindset of “customer needs are our top priority”

  • Nerves of steel, meaning you’re able to stay calm and level headed in stressful situations

  • A deep appreciation of Dad jokes (at least on the RII ProdOps team)


What is something you or your team accomplished that made you proud?

It’s very hard to pick one thing, as the team as a cohesive unit keeps topping our efforts each day as we grow and learn. I was able to deploy our new platform, PRIISM, and bring it online. Over the last few months, I’ve supported efforts that have allowed the platform to be used in support of current events. Watching PRIISM evolve and grow is really cool!





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