Hire the person, not the paper

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Carrie Goetz discusses her journey through the IT and data center world.

Announcer: Welcome to Not Your Father’s Data Center podcast, brought to you by Compass Datacenters. we build for what’s next. Now here’s your host, Raymond Hawkins.

Raymond Hawkins: Welcome again to another edition of Not Your Father’s Data Center. I am Raymond Hawkins with Compass Datacenters, your host. And today we are joined by Carrie Goetz, my friend from Jackson, Mississippi. Carrie, thank you for joining us.

Carrie Goetz: Thanks for having me. How are you?

Raymond Hawkins: I’m awesome. Thank you so much.

Carrie Goetz: And what happened to Not Your Mama’s Data Center?

Raymond Hawkins: Hey, I think we ought to work that in. That’s a great question, Carrie. First time I’ve been challenged on it.

Carrie Goetz: We’re going to make that the title today.

Raymond Hawkins: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Today, Not Your Mother’s Data Center. February 3rd, we’re recording today. The planet still incredibly distracted by a global pandemic and how it’s changing our lives. And Carrie and I were talking before the show. Love the idea that there’s not a new normal, there’s a new odd. It’s just a new strange. Hey, and we’ve already got the first offer from my dog on the show. Tiger, the world is listening.

Raymond Hawkins: Well Carrie, thank you for joining us. I know you have your own podcast. I know you know how to do this probably better than I do and would love it if you’d take a few minutes here at the beginning. If we could just talk about you and your career and where you’re from and how you got in the data center business and what you’re passionate about. And my hope is that as we talk through you and your history that we’ll end up switching over and talking to the idea, I love the phrase, your hashtag, hire the person, not the paper. Just your passion for careers, for women and the trades and vets in technology. That’s really what we’d like to talk about, but we’d love to hear about you before we do. Where are you from? And how’d you get in technology?

Carrie Goetz: Yeah, I totally fell in with both feet actually. I started out with a degree in architectural design and then I started teaching that in college and right about then, course I’m really aging myself now, AutoCAD came out and so I started teaching the computer aided engineering side of things. And as part of that, AutoCAD was looking for developers and programmers to help write in a program called Lisp, which is a whole lot of open parentheses, closed parentheses. But anyway, so I started writing programs for them in between class. And then there was a project to tie together several different colleges. And at that time, nobody knew what networking was. It was all framed relay and dial up modem. And we didn’t have all these fancy fiber and highfalutin lines like we have now.

Carrie Goetz: But anyway, because I wasn’t scared of a computer, they asked if I would take on that project. And so I jumped in with both feet. And then from there I went on and worked as a consultant, started networking divisions at couple consulting firms and then decided to get off the road and ended up being a CIO and worked at a couple places there or what the equivalent of a CIO is now. And as part of that, I started running data centers and taking care of all the IT equipment and everything that was there. And then, so that kind of morphed into consulting in the data center industry.

Raymond Hawkins: Carrie, I got to ask, you said that thing that became a CIO. I go back as far as to remember when we used to call him the manager of data processing, I always thought that was a great term or MIS director. That was another one. Those were the early days.

Carrie Goetz: Yeah. I was the director of MIS/IT so our department was known as Mis It.

Raymond Hawkins: That’s right, Mis It. That’s right, management information systems. I use those terms around my kids and they’re like, “Dad, what are you talking about? MIS what’s that?”

Carrie Goetz: What are we managing now? And now we have things, manage literally everything. We manage power and cooling and floor space and orchestration and artificial intelligence. And yes, you can manage anything with a computer these days.

Raymond Hawkins: That’s a little bit of your technology journey. Do you mind even going back before that? Where’s home? How’d you end up in Jackson? By the way, I’m going to use Jackson as a launching point for a new thing here. We want to hear from the folks that listen to our podcast and so we’re going to today, for the first time ever, do a giveaway. We’re going to give away Amazon gift cards. We’re going to actually have a drawing for Amazon gift cards for everyone that answers our three Mississippi themed, in honor of Carrie, Not Your Mother’s Data Center podcast guest, we’re going to ask three trivia questions around the great state of Mississippi. Give us your history and then we’ll do question number one. How’d you end up in Jackson?

Carrie Goetz: An ex.

Raymond Hawkins: All right.

Carrie Goetz: I think the same way a lot of people move.

Raymond Hawkins: Hear hear.

Carrie Goetz: Yeah. I’m a Midwestern girl so I was raised in Michigan, Illinois, lived in California for a little bit. Then we moved to Tennessee and I moved here with an ex and kind of stayed here.

Raymond Hawkins: How long you been in Jackson?

Carrie Goetz: Yeah, for 30, well, almost 40 years now.

Raymond Hawkins: I love Jackson. What a great place. I know Carrie, and we’ll get into the technology stuff, but I know in some of your background, you were part of Gannett for a while, the USA publisher. Do you want to take two minutes and talk about that side of the business, the publishing business, or any of that as well?

Carrie Goetz: It was still IT. The difference is and I think it’s important for a lot of people to know that there’s a ton of similarities with these different companies and what’s going on from a technology perspective, but then there’s also very different things. One of the things we’ll publishing, it’s a manufacturing house, because they make the papers and then there’s also news and advertising. And one of the cool things that I worked on was a large geocoding project that went out and really looked at all the subscribers and figured out where they were. We updated all of the different systems for the advertising side and that was all on Mac. And then the rest of the house was on PCs and it was a board position.

Carrie Goetz: One of the cool things when I was working there, speaking of Mississippi trivia is when I was working there, they actually opened the Sovereignty Commission files from back in the old civil rights abuse days. And the publisher there had to have a hidden passageway from his office out the back, because there were so many death threats and everything coming into the paper.

Raymond Hawkins: Oh wow.

Carrie Goetz: Which was a little crazy. And Chris, they made that movie, Mississippi Burning, which they highly embellished, by the way, it wasn’t really that bad, but yeah, very, very different times. And publishing is definitely a cool thing. And then from there, I went to work at a company called Wireless One and that was really cool project. I ran IT there as well, but that also included seven states.

Raymond Hawkins: Now Wireless One, is this an early cell provider, Wireless One?

Carrie Goetz: Well, no actually. Wireless One owned the BTA, which was protected spectrum in seven states. And so it’s broadcast spectrum. What we did was we had line of sight that went to a whole bunch of areas for people for internet and television and was one of the first ones that kind of put that together, but in protected spectrum, which is very different than wifi and unlicensed. And protected spectrum, you own that, nobody else can transmit in it, but by law you have to transmit it 24 hours, seven days a week.

Raymond Hawkins: And it was line of sight technology, right?

Carrie Goetz: Yeah. And I was there when we were converting everything from analog to digital and some of the early FCC meetings, they said, “Well, you really can’t do that. You can’t do internet over broadcast spectrum because broadcast spectrum is rated for entertainment and there’s no entertainment on the internet.” And of course, now look what it is.

Raymond Hawkins: How things have changed.

Carrie Goetz: Have you looked out there lately? There’s a lot of entertaining stuff. Anyway, that ended up getting bought by WorldCom at the time, which is now I guess, MCI, but it was a really cool project. And you learned some weird things. We had one area of the delta and that kept going down and we couldn’t figure out why. And we had these brilliant engineers come out there and look at it and really try to figure out what it was. And it was just random. And in the summer, at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon, it would just come back and we had spectrometers out there. We had all kinds of stuff, temporary antennas and it turned out it was heat inversion off the catfish ponds, because catfish is Mississippi’s number one cash crop. And so it got really hot. It was enough that it deflected the signal off the line of sight and then when it cooled down, the signal came back.

Raymond Hawkins: How about that.

Carrie Goetz: But yeah, talk about some cry on there to sort that one out. But yeah, it’s just fun. To me, that’s the best part of tech is that things change all the time.

Raymond Hawkins: Carrie, I wish I was in the meeting when that finally got realized and the guy comes in and goes, “Okay, I’ve figured out what’s disrupting our line of sight transmissions. It’s the catfish ponds.” I would have loved to have been in the room to hear that one get talked out. Are you sure?

Carrie Goetz: You could have heard a pin drop, for sure.

Raymond Hawkins: That was the first for me. Hadn’t heard that one, but I absolutely get it. I could see how it would, the thermals coming off of it would change everything. Absolutely. Unbelievable. Good stuff. All right. Well, this leads us into trivia question number one, you want to answer the trivia questions. I know you can Google it on the internet, but I’d love it if you do it on your own. Send your answers to me, rhawkins@compassdatacenters.com. In honor of Carrie and this great state of Mississippi, trivia question number one, what year did Mississippi become a state? That’s your first trivia question. There’ll be two more over the course of the show. If you answer all three of them correctly, we’ll put you in a drawing for the $500 Amazon gift card. All right, Carrie. Going from Wireless One, let’s take the next step. When did you get to Siemon? How long after Wireless One?

Carrie Goetz: Oh, that was a pretty good while. I run a software package and ran that company for a little while and then Siemon, I started their data center business and well started that division and took it global, which was pretty cool. That was the benefit of going over there was being able to work into a global position and I’ve got 4 million miles under my belt doing projects, literally all over the globe. And I have extended family all over Earth, which is really great. You meet lifelong friends doing that.

Raymond Hawkins: Yeah. And wow. Being at the beginning of the data center business and watching it transform and watching us, not just transforming what’s in the data center, Carrie, but where the data centers are, who owns them, how they operate, how they’ve changed from an efficiency perspective. Sounds like you and I have so much of a similar background. I spent many, many years putting equipment in data centers and watching the equipment in there change and transform and get smaller and get more efficient and figuring out how do we cool it? How do we connect it? It’s it’s been an incredible ride. I think one of the things that to me, Carrie, is still just amazing is that still two thirds of the global compute sits in a corporate owned on premise data center and that our industry is still, I think everyone believes everything’s in the cloud. Everything lives in GCP and AWS and Azure. And in reality, that’s only about a third of the global compute today. And how much still is going to convert and change and modernize and upgrade. There’s still a lot of work to be done out there.

Carrie Goetz: That changes, because the needs of compute change and the data center as an industry has changed a lot, but I think that two thirds is going to stick around. And I’m going to say, this is a reason why. I think that everything in IT is a tool in the toolkit. I’m kind of a data scientist really by schooling. But if you go and look at what’s supported and what you need, it’s going to be different for every organization. It’s going to be different for every IT department. When cloud first started and people first started doing anything in the cloud, you’d read these press releases, so-and-so company went to the cloud, but it didn’t mean they moved all their stuff to the cloud. They did a software as a service application, they implemented Salesforce or one of those.

Carrie Goetz: And so I think there’s going to be a need for those cloud based applications but the trick is you have to figure out what you’re doing. These companies that go cloud first, it’s a big mistake without really analyzing what application you’re going to use, what those applications need and what the longterm costs are. Because it’s a tool in the toolkit and you don’t use a hammer when you need a screwdriver and you don’t use a screwdriver when you need a hammer and you have to figure out for sure what you’re going to do. And realistically, there’s a big blend. Those two thirds of corporate data centers, doesn’t mean they don’t use the cloud, it means I have their stuff corporately, but they may do DR in the cloud. And they might do Salesforce in the cloud and they might have components in the cloud.

Carrie Goetz: The location of their physical data, for what they have sometimes for compliance reasons, sometimes just because they want to keep it close and not built across the United States. All of those things are considerations that really have to be evaluated without just saying this gut first, “Oh, you need to do this.” Or, “You need to have a cloud first mentality,” without really looking at what that cloud first mentality is and putting dollars and cents and figures behind that. And I think that there’s a balance. There’s room for all that stuff. But Gartner, I read a thing yesterday that said 75% of all data by 2025 is going to go through an edge data center. And those edge data centers can be those corporate data centers. They could be one sitting at cell towers. They can be ones out in the middle of nowhere that are supporting precision agriculture and some of those kind of things and helping cross the digital divide. I think there’s a mixed bag of tricks for data centers, for sure.

Raymond Hawkins: Hear, hear. Boy, Carrie, that was a great description and explanation. And at Compass and me personally, couldn’t agree with you more. Where data sits, what it does, where it needs to sit, where it needs to get chewed on. Where the processing actually happens, that’s moving. That’s changing. I’ve been around the technology business long enough to watch us distribute compute, and then consolidate compute. And then we distribute compute and then we consolidate compute. Both of those cycles. Those cycles happen and edge computing is clearly distribution. We’re distributing compute out to the edge. And I liked your agricultural example, smart agriculture and the idea that we can drive tractors around fields with a GPS is just fascinating, as well as collect all that data. And then we get into metro areas and how we have smart cars operating in a metro area, doing deliveries.

Raymond Hawkins: There’s so much coming and so much changing. And I agree with you that I think there’s a lot of folks that think as big picture numbers, two thirds on prem and a third in the cloud that that third in the cloud is going to a 100%, that on prem is going to zero. And I would agree with you, it’s not. There’s going to be an on prem component, there’s going to be an edge component and there’s going to be a cloud component. And I think those three will continue to survive for a long time in the compute business.

Carrie Goetz: Yeah, they’re absolutely complimentary. And it’s absolutely iterative. What you do in the cloud today, you might not. I know one company that’s spending $8 million a month on the cloud and they’re in the process of taking everything back because you grow. Your business needs change, your business demands change, your customer base changes, all different things change. And so, I think the best advice you can have in this industry is be iterative and don’t ego play any of your decisions because a great decision today could be a not so great decision tomorrow.

Raymond Hawkins: Yeah. Hear, hear. The justifications for going or coming back from the cloud change as your business changes. And it needs to be held loosely and optimized for the needs of the business day. Completely agree, Carrie. I think that’s great insight. Well, Carrie, let’s take a turn a little bit if we can. I love your hashtag hire the person, not the paper as we switch and talk about some of the things that are passionate or that you’re passionate about in your life, hiring women, hiring tradespeople and hiring vets into the technology business and a little bit of the misperception of what it takes to get into technology and get a tech career. Can you take us, how did that become something that you’re passionate about? And tell us a little bit about the hashtag, your podcast and your background there.

Carrie Goetz: I am a woman in the industry, so that starts it.

Raymond Hawkins: There you go, that’s number one.

Carrie Goetz: But I’ve raised 16 kids that aren’t mine, plus my kid and a couple stepdaughters and a stepson and almost all of those kids, except for two, were young ladies. And here’s the deal. I think that as girls come up and kids come up, they picture what they want to be when they grew up based what they see and the data center industry, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot there for a while, because nobody wanted you to know where the data centers were. They were these big, ugly, nondescript buildings hidden somewhere and people just knew they did stuff. And when kids turn off, they know their application’s going to be there, but they don’t know where that thing sits or how it exists.

Carrie Goetz: And so I think it’s definitely evolved. But one of the problems that you have with women in tech is the attrition rate. And 67% of women drop out of tech completely. They don’t just leave their job.

Raymond Hawkins: Oh wow.

Carrie Goetz: They completely leave the industry. And to me, I think that’s horrible. I also think that these antiquated things we’ve really started putting more value on somebody’s degree, more than what that person can bring to the table and the skills they can bring to the table. And if you think about it, it really defeats things on a few levels. One it’s discriminatory. Women by and large are the first ones that dropout to become a caregiver if that needs to be. Usually because they make less money. And because culturally, that’s just a thing. Now, they might’ve dropped out one semester shy of their degree, a year shy of their degree. But then they have four years of work experience on top of that and HR will pass them over because they don’t have a degree.

Raymond Hawkins: Carrie, one second. I just want to clarify, when you say drop out, you say they’re in process of working towards a degree and that schooling could get interrupted, more likely interrupted for caregiving than a male student. I just want to make sure I’m tracking with you.

Carrie Goetz: Sure, sure.

Raymond Hawkins: Okay. Got it. Got it.

Carrie Goetz: And even, in some of the curriculum, it’s the way that it’s taught, the way that the schools work. It just kind of works that way. And sometimes if you take disadvantaged kids, it ends up being an economic thing where they just need to go work. They can’t afford school. And so they’re working, but they get experience. Now I’m going to tell you, haven’t hired and fired a lot of people. Well, no hired mostly, I very rarely fire. But having hired a bunch of people in the past, I would rather have somebody with four years experience than a four year degree because they figured it out. They’ve worked on it. But if we talk about diversity, to me, diversity is diversity of thought. It could be male to female. It could be gender identity. It could be old, too young. It could be learn in college, didn’t learn in college.

Carrie Goetz: It could be any of those things. And I think that that really kicks that problem solving thing in. Good example, I was on LinkedIn and I posted a study on diversity and this guy got real snippy and said, “Why don’t you just hire whoever you want to hire and let diversity fall where it may? What does diversity actually bring to the table?” And I said, “Well, are you married?” And he said, “Yes.” I said, “Have you ever lost your car keys and you couldn’t find them and you asked your wife and she went right over and picked them up?” That’s what diversity brings to the table.

Raymond Hawkins: Hear, hear.

Carrie Goetz: It’s a different way of thinking. It’s a, I knew where you were last. You might not remember, but I did. That kind of thing. But I think you have to have all of those when you start doing problem solving. And I think I kind of got a lot of this from writing code because there’s a lot of different ways to come at a problem and being able to brainstorm those things really does some of that cool stuff. And I know, Nancy works for you guys. She’s certainly a champion in this industry and she’s one of the best, but that’s how I met Nancy was on one of these women panels years and years ago. There really is a lot, I think that can come to the table and there’s a huge skill shortage in this industry. And they say within five years, 30% of this industry is going to gray out and retire. I would love to be one of those by the way, but you know.

Raymond Hawkins: I’m good on the retire part. I’m not sure on the gray part, Carrie, but yes.

Carrie Goetz: I think we can help solve a lot of this problem if we just really drag HR out of the dark ages. And so that’s why we have the hashtag hire the person, not the paper. And think about it. We’ve gotten rid of trade schools and for some reason it’s sort of gotten to the point where if somebody went to a trade school, they were less than amazing. And there’s a lot of reasons that people don’t do well in college. Sometimes it’s because there’s requirements for subjects that they just don’t get. Sometimes it’s a clash with the environment at school compared to what they’re used to. There’s lots of different reasons, but without trades, none of us would have a job because nothing would get built.

Raymond Hawkins: Hear, hear.

Carrie Goetz: And so I really think that we’ve done this horrible job in the US and I’m sure colleges have had a lot to do with that, kind of putting down trades and people that learn in alternate methods, but only 35% of adults, men and women, 34% of men actually, 35% of women in the United States today have a four year degree. And if we’re going to try to solve all of the shortages in the industry with the same 35% of people, it’s never going to happen.

Raymond Hawkins: We can’t cut two thirds of the pool out of the considered solutions and hires. That’s such a great point. And Carrie, I think that in that same vein and I’m going to get a little political here and I apologize for that. I’m not in any way intending to offend anybody, but as we see the divide between the highest income earners and then the absolute elites in our society and everyone else, I think people see that education as, oh, that’s how I leap over that divide. And the reality is that there’s just a bell curve is a real thing. Everybody can’t be in the top 10%. That’s the top 10% for a reason. When two thirds of the country doesn’t have a college degree, there’s a lot of work that needs to get done and a lot of income and a lot of value that the rest of us can deliver that don’t sit in that top 10%. And this idea that a degree is the only way to get there is just not true.

Carrie Goetz: It is absolutely not true. Look at companies like Apple, 50% of their workforce is non-degreed right now because value skills and they’re willing to up train. And Amazon is doing a lot of the same thing. They’re training their workforce. And here’s the other thing too, from an employer perspective, if you lose somebody it’s about a $100,000 to recoup that loss and retrain somebody else and get them up in a position. It’s even more in sales, depending on, and some of the work cycles that you are. But if you take somebody that is massively overloaded in debt, why are we forcing our kids to go in debt? You have companies that will pay for a four year education. But if those same companies will only hire people with a four year degree, that is such a lip service benefit.

Carrie Goetz: And so why are we looking at that as the only means like. You guys do a really cool thing. I was talking to Nancy with some of your project managers where you have people that aren’t degreed, but they go around and they walk project sites, they take pictures and you talk about the pictures. And that becomes part of their learning process. It’s some of those cool things. People used to learn in internships and apprenticeships all the time. And apprenticeships, you come out without a $100,000 in college debt. And college has gotten to where it’s so ridiculously expensive for so many people and there’s only so many scholarships around. And that’s another thing we talk about on the podcast is anytime we find scholarship money available, we do a podcast on it because there’s just no reason that people should think that that’s their only option to be a productive grownup is to go into massive debt. there’s other ways of doing things. Some people want to go to college, for Pes, professional engineers, things like that, where you have to have the degree, that certainly one path, but not everybody wants to go that path.

Raymond Hawkins: You’re 65/35 point is so valid. It’s so, so. Two thirds of our working class don’t have a degree and there’s so much value coming out of that group.

Carrie Goetz: Oh yeah. And honestly, if somebody learns trial by fire, let me just tell you, that is a much better lesson than usually in school or even in a lot of the certification classes. They sort of teach you this ideal world where nothing really goes wrong. And then when something goes wrong, people get all discombobulated and they don’t know how to fix it. That trial by fire where people have just jumped in and worked on projects where they had no clue and they had to just sort of figure it out. That is absolutely amazing experience. And I want them on my team all day, every day. I want that problem solving, jump in, roll your sleeves up, kick in with both bare feet. That’s what you want on your team, because they’re the movers and shakers that make things happen.

Raymond Hawkins: It’s more valuable, Carrie. Which would you rather have a CCIE who’s been in the field solving problems for a decade that doesn’t have a degree? Or a CCIE who got out of school, went and got a certification and he’s 18 months on the job? There’s no question the person that has been there at 2:00 in the morning when nobody can figure out why the network’s not working and to solve that problem. That’s the person that’s so much more valuable.

Carrie Goetz: It is. But honestly, it really takes HR stepping up to the plate. And there’s so many companies where HR is just unbending. They would rather have somebody with a degree in music theory and put them in tech than somebody with four years experience in tech and three years towards a degree or no degree.

Raymond Hawkins: Carrie, how did you know what my degree was in, Carrie? That’s incredible. While we’re talking about university, we’re going to get trivia question number two, remember all the correct answers, get you into a draw on $500 Amazon gift card in honor of the conversation we’re having, tell me the three largest universities in the state of Mississippi. If you include Carrie’s hashtag in your email, hire the person, not the paper, you’ll get extra entries into the drawing. How about that? We’re promoting the hashtag. Let’s go. There you go. All right.

Carrie Goetz: One of those is hotty toddy.

Raymond Hawkins: That’s right. That’s right. That is exactly right.

Carrie Goetz: SEC has the best football out there. Best football.

Raymond Hawkins: Hear, Hear. Hear, hear. All right. Well, let’s keep rolling on. I love the diversity comment that you made, Carrie. I think most people hear the word diversity and they hear, oh, that means that we have different sexes and we have different races. And I think that you raised the comment young and old, you raised the comment, different gender identities. I think those unique perspectives, I liked your keys example, but in our business, we try to be diverse across where people grew up, like people that aren’t from the United States. Their cultural differences offer an incredibly unique experience. You go to a meeting and you talk about a problem and they hear it from a totally different perspective. And having that in a room and having that focused on problems, having those unique sets of life experiences, those unique cultural backgrounds, those unique perspectives, absolutely help solve problems in ways you’d never think about solving them in a room full of guys that look like me.

Carrie Goetz: Yeah. Well, so yeah, and to your point though, and I can tell you this from having been all over the globe, we assume about other people what we see in the movies and on TV. And when you start going to those places and even what people think about us, think about Americans. You realize when you start talking to them, we’re not anything like what’s depicted about us on TV. There’s a few people, but it’s all sensationalized. It’s all for a headline. We’re just like most the rest of the planet where we all want to provide for our kids, we want a safe home to raise our kids. We all have kind of that basis information. And I think that’s important to bring to the table when you can have people from all different backgrounds, working towards a common goal and trying to sort that goal out.

Carrie Goetz: Plus, I think it helps people just to have that different thought. You might have somebody from a very disadvantaged country and they’re going to think about ways to do things that are a little scrappier, I guess, for lack of a better term, than somebody that has had everything at their disposal. You just go hire somebody and do something. Every time that you find somebody with a different background, I think it’s hugely, hugely important.

Raymond Hawkins: Carrie, this is maybe a stretch or a silly analogy. You know what this makes me think a little bit of? Is that movie Slumdog Millionaire, where the young man answered the questions, he didn’t have this incredible education or incredible experience, but the questions they asked him in the movie fit pieces of his life story and it was this perfect connection, but it was a unique perspective. And that, I think that’s what we’re talking about is that folks with a unique perspective, come and offer ways to solve problems that I may never have thought of or you may never have thought of. Yeah, I like your phrase, diversity of thought is what we’re looking for. And that often comes in diversity of background and diversity of appearance and gender and sex and all of those things. Completely agree. It’s part of solving unique problems in unique ways.

Carrie Goetz: Absolutely.

Raymond Hawkins: Well, do you mind, Carrie, telling us a little bit about your podcast and what it’s called, where we can find it and what you guys talk about? I’m guessing it’s a lot of this, but love to hear you talk about that a little bit.

Carrie Goetz: Yeah. The podcast is Careers for Women, Trades and Vets in Data Centers and Tech. And it’s on all the platforms. There’s also a link to it off my website. If you go to strategitcom.com/podcast, it’s on there. Matter of fact, Nancy’s episode is up there. She was gracious enough to grant me some of her time, but yeah, that’s really all it is.

Raymond Hawkins: Nancy Novak, our chief innovation officer at Compass, I know we’ve been referring to her by first name, but just so everyone knows who we’re talking about.

Carrie Goetz: Oh yeah, she’s awesome. But yeah, so it really talks about diversity, inclusion, how to bring kids up with exposure to all these different careers. And so really the kind of take that I took was I just want people to be exposed to the type of careers that there are, because there’s this huge misnomer that you have to write code to be in tech. And I’m one of those weirdos that actually was on the coding side and on the networking side and on the management side. And so I’ve done, and I work for a manufacturer and then I worked for distribution. I’ve really kind of done, worn all the hats in the industry, but a lot of people don’t really see tech as a viable option because they don’t realize all of these careers that touch tech like the trades and bringing vets back, like I’m married to a vet.

Carrie Goetz: And bringing vets back from service and helping them find a great career. There’s wonderful organizations that do that, iMasons who does a lot of work with Lee Kirby over at Salute Mission Critical who’s really made this his mission to bring vets back and get them trained up and get them great jobs and careers. And he does an awesome job. He’s also on that podcast, but the idea is just to really bring that exposure. And it’s totally an outreach project. We don’t get anything off of it. And we try to encourage people to share it with junior high, high school, people that are changing careers. And then, like I said, anytime we find scholarship opportunities, we showcase those and highlight those on that podcast because we think that there’s a lot of people that want those.

Carrie Goetz: And even not just scholarships for college, but also where there’s scholarships for certification. A lot of people that are in an data center working or in an IT department working, maybe they want to do something different. My old secretary wanted to be a coder. I sent her to coding school. I had an operations person that wanted to become Cisco certified. I sent him to Cisco certification. And so these certification programs, I think are amazing because it’s a great way to learn a new skill and also to get badged for it. People understand that you have a command of that skill, whether you maintain that certification or not is certainly up to you. And there’s cost to do that. But I think just understanding that people have that basic knowledge is great. And it’s a good way for people to jump careers and do something different.

Carrie Goetz: And as we start growing our workforce, is to try to fill this horrible talent shortage. People need to see what’s out there and they need to understand that in tech, if you don’t like what you’re doing, don’t just leave tech, try to do something different in tech. Look at something that’s supporting that. Maybe try sales if meeting people is your thing and work on selling a technology. Maybe try coding, if you haven’t tried coding and you think you like to solve puzzles and solve problems. If you like being outdoors, maybe work on getting a project management job for a construction company or doing something along those lines and see all of the different options that you have out there. Because tech is not going away. It’s like medicine, it’s going to be here forever and there’s no shortage of jobs. And I think we just have to expose people to those and help them really understand. Anyway, that’s kind of the mission behind it.

Raymond Hawkins: No, we love that. And your comment, tech’s not going away, Carrie, couldn’t agree with you more. I didn’t say it, but I heard someone say it about three months into the pandemic. They said, “We’ve seen three years of digital transformation in three months.” And now we’re nine months later from that even. And I think that all of that, when we hear the words, digital transformation or digital infrastructure, all of that’s technology and it is not going away, it’s only growing. It’s only expanding. It’s only influencing in more industries and more ways to improve our lives and change the way we work and communicate and even entertain ourselves. I love the quote that there was no entertainment on the internet, back in the nineties. That’s such a good reference point, Carrie.

Carrie Goetz: And as everybody flocks to the internet and have a stream everything.

Raymond Hawkins: Exactly right. I love that perspective. Carrie, it reminds me of a funny story. I like what are old movies to my children now and I make them watch movies with me. And we were watching Karate Kid. Now this is years ago now. And if you remember, Daniel-san is wanting to learn karate. He’s wanting to go to a school and he’s moved from New Jersey to California because his mom’s gotten a new job and she’s working in a restaurant waiting for the new job to come up and they’re sitting in the restaurant and she goes, “Hey, I’ve got great news. This restaurant has offered me an assistant manager’s position.” And Daniel-san is like, “Wait a minute, mom. I thought we moved out here for a computer job.” And she says, “No one makes any money in computers.”

Raymond Hawkins: She was more excited to be the assistant manager at the restaurant, then get into computers and I think about, I was watching that with my kids, I paused, I said, “Wait a minute, what did she say? Let’s back it back up.” That that was generally acceptable, written into a script. No one makes money in computers. And I don’t know what year that movie came out, but it was the mid eighties. And just think about how our world has changed in 35 years, how technology has changed the way we do so many things.

Carrie Goetz: My favorite old movie quote was in Jurassic Park when the little girl hits the computers and she goes, “Oh, this is Unix. I know this.”

Raymond Hawkins: I love that. I love that. So good. So, so good. Well Carrie, thank you so much for what you’re doing in the industry, for what you’re promoting. I loved you mentioned Lee and saluting for our vets. That’s so important. But just the diversity in data center and technology for women and for the trades. You’re coming earlier too. All this happens in a building and we need the trades to build those places. You’re right. None of us have anywhere to go to work. None of those computers have anywhere to live without the trades. So, so vital.

Raymond Hawkins: Loved getting to chat with you today. Love sharing your heart for the industry and for people and diversity and how important it is. And for our final trivia question, I wish I had one that was better suited to what we’re talking about, but give us the two sitting senators for the great state of Mississippi, where Carrie joins us from today, in your email at rhawkins@compassdatacenters.com. Carrie, thank you for joining us. One more time, hire the person, not the paper. And go listen to her podcast, Careers for Women and Trades and Vets in Data Centers and Technology. I get that right, Carrie?

Carrie Goetz: You did. You did. Thanks.

Raymond Hawkins: Carrie, thank you so much for joining us. We really, really appreciate it, here February 3rd, as we try to get to the other side of this global pandemic. Thank you for joining us everybody.

Carrie Goetz: Thank you.