Long View Duo Achieves Everest-like VCDX Certification Challenge
April 25, 2013
Going back nearly a century, British mountaineer George Mallory offered a simple reason for his attempts to climb Everest: “Because it’s there.”
Jump forward to the present day, and you’ll find Long View’s very own Matt Vandenbeld is cut from the same cloth. He’s reached a rare summit in the IT industry . . . and he did it, in large part, because he likes a challenge.
“I’m a completionist, I guess. If something’s out there to get, I like to get it,” says Matt, a Technical Architect in Long View’s Calgary office. “I like to set targets for myself and achieve them. And it was kind of a career goal of mine to be top of the mountain, as it were.”
Recently, Matt and Long View colleague James Charter, the Practice Director for Virtualization Solutions, managed an extremely rare distinction in the IT sphere — earning VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) accreditation. Just five IT experts across Canada, and 110 all over the world, have qualified for VCDX status.
It’s the highest level of certification available from technology vendor VMware, a Long View partner and an industry leader in cloud and virtualization software.
Matt and James have joined the global elite, effectively, and they’ve managed it with Long View assistance. Competence is one of Long View’s core pillars, and Long View backs that up by both sourcing and providing technical, soft-skills, and leadership training year round.
Reaching the VCDX summit took nearly a year, and hundreds of hours, for Matt and James — who worked in tandem to design and implement a refined virtualization project that demonstrated an appropriate level of background expertise. Finally, during the VMware Partner Exchange 2013 conference in Las Vegas in February, they successfully submitted, presented, and defended the project in person before a panel of VMware VCDX-certified experts — and then, on top of that, they worked through a design and troubleshooting scenario with the panel, too.
“VMware have certified us as global design experts,” says James. “To a Long View client, this means we have the capability of applying the best practices, and the approach, to ensure the solution we’re building with them will be successful.”
Prospective employees will be intrigued to learn that Long View has its own Learning and Development group, working with employees to actively source training and certification opportunities. And if it qualifies as relevant professional development, it’s on the company dime.
Nathania Parnetta is our incomparable Learning and Development Team Lead at Long View. She says that in any given year, Long View will offer 180 different technical, soft-skills, and leadership classes, and that our employees will partake in more than 1,800 different formal training sessions, all paid for by Long View.
Some impressive stats, to say the least.
“Long View openly supporting employees in their professional and personal development really fits with the culture that’s here,” says Nathania.
Only 44 virtualization architects from service providers around the world have aced VCDX certification. For Matt and James, it opens doors and instantly adds credibility to any professional discussion.
And the fact that Long View paid the bills? “To me, it shows that Long View is a company that’s invested in the development of its people,” says Matt, “and it speaks volumes as to how we operate as an organization.”
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Long View Staff Rally Behind Playgrounds for Haiti Initiative
April 25, 2013
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You could almost say that Paul Rwankole’s whole life changed in the space of a sentence.
Paul had volunteered to be part of a 10-day emergency relief mission to Haiti in May 2010. Four months prior to that, one of the deadliest earthquakes in recorded history had shattered the Caribbean country.
On the second-last day of that mission, one of his Haitian contacts told him: “You can leave Haiti, but Haiti cannot leave you.”
“Those words still ring in my head,” he says.
Those words also acted as the catalyst for an inspirational, company-wide Long View initiative — an initiative called Playgrounds for Haiti.
The next time he heads south, on May 24, Paul will be leading a team of 17 of us that includes mostly Long View staff, along with some of our friends and family members, on a nine-day Playgrounds for Haiti assignment. Our team will be getting our hands dirty by building three school playgrounds around Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, on behalf of Haiti Outreach Ministries.
That’s not all. Our amazing Long View staff from across North America have raised the $18,000 needed to purchase the playground equipment in the first place. In fact, those three months’ worth of fundraising efforts were so successful that we raised an extra $7,000. That money will fund an educational summer camp project, called The Long View Summer Camp, organized by Calgary-based charity Reach Haiti.
Now, that is something for us to be truly proud of.
Paul, one of our consultants based in Calgary, has already been to Haiti four times, leading medical, construction, and mental-health teams. He believes Long View’s Playgrounds for Haiti fundraising effort has been nothing less than “incredible.”
“It’s just been a fantastic response. I’ve spoken with (CEO) Don (Bialik) about it, and I’ve told him that he has a lot of people with what I like to call unbridled enthusiasm,” says Paul.
The $25,000 was raised, in part, through an online auction of authentic Haitian art, a raffle involving NHL hockey tickets and a one-hour helicopter tour, a bake sale, and a payroll deduction program.
Above and beyond the fundraising effort, our team travelling to Haiti to volunteer for the playground-building project will be doing so at our own expense.
Joanna Birrell is one of the travellers. She’s a project manager at our Calgary office, and she has a degree in international development. She also spent two years in Thailand, helping relief efforts following the southeast Asian tsunami of 2004. She says experiences such as Playgrounds for Haiti make her take a step back, look at her life, and value what’s important.
“Children have an amazing resilience when it comes to tragedy and disaster, but they’re often forgotten as aid focuses on the big items like housing, sanitation, and livelihood assistance,” she says. “Just seeing those smiles as the kids enter the playgrounds for the first time will be more than enough of a reward.”
I see Playgrounds for Haiti as a perfect example of Long View’s “culture of caring.” Our people consistently show a level of commitment to social responsibility and community involvement that goes far above and beyond traditional corporate standards. What’s truly special about this initiative is that it started from one of our staff speaking about his experiences in Haiti — and then, in the moment, offering to take a group of people with him if they were interested.
Paul says he can clearly remember Haiti Outreach Ministries suggesting a playground-building project, and telling him the price tag was $18,000 for two playgrounds.
“I went back to Long View for a meeting with the project committee, thinking this was a really big sum of money,” says Paul. “The response I got was: ‘Is that it?’ ”
By Tasha Westerman