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Ep. 3: Pomeroy Optimizes IT Infrastructures

Summer of 50 PGH Tech Stories

Pomeroy's Tom Fry and Nate Rouse join the Summer of Stories to talk about the unique IT services Pomeroy has to help businesses harden their IT systems. Founded in 1982, Pomeroy ( has since expanded its broadened focus: Optimizing the IT Infrastructure. Today Pomeroy employs 3,700+ IT professionals globally. Designing, implementing, and supporting - in short, optimizing - technology-based solutions for the Fortune 1000, government and mid-market clients.


Absolutely 100% positively true. You're stuck right now in the very beginning of what is our next episode of summer, Pittsburgh tech stories powered by Comcast making it happen so we can tell the 50 coolest raddest best stories. I think it was making Pittsburgh sing these days. And I'm really excited to have these two guys on the show. We have Tom Fry and Nate Rouse. 

I'm just so glad to have you guys on we were just kind of talking a little bit before hit the record button on this. I think it's a great conversation to talk about today. When it comes to all things around Pomeroy. You guys have some great services. I think I was kind of mentioning earlier on. I feel like you might be the fifth Beatle of pretty much people's IT departments like you make it to where it's like it's like it's like it's like a light switch. you flick it on and like you're the bass just starts playing you just know someone's back there doing the business Simple as that. What did I How did I know that? Very cool, very cool. I think we got a good vibe going on here. So let's keep that rolling. Let's do some introductions to Nate. Let's start off with you real fast. You're on the ground here in Pittsburgh when it comes to all things. Pomeroy, what do you do with Pomeroy?

Yeah, so so my official title was called a client service manager. Okay, and I have oversight an awesome team of technicians level one, two and three. You start from the service desk where the service begins to see the heartbeat of every company, okay, right to desktop support up to manage branch network operations, named it all things technology, I support it, or our companies that we support here in that.

I love it man. So you're busy dude. Simple as that. And I have a feeling your life only got busier as all this whole COVID stuff crept down on us so it's just like he so when you talk about a success story recently successfully sent home well over 18,000 oh my god employees in home work from home setups in for those that we you know didn't go into their homes we shipped it in and held conference calls with them and helping them install it not at my step so you're using your own services to help yourself to help you.

You're your own best customer. Excellent. And Tom, what are you up to these days? What's your role at Pomeroy?

Yeah, so thanks, John. We're so pleased to be here and bearing wear it when the new summer Pittsburgh tech stories contest is just great. So we're really excited. Huge support of the tech Council. So I'm, I'm the account director here in western Pennsylvania and I kind of oversee actually me and work I work for me, right so let's call a spade a spade I work for Nate. He's the man. So I handle paperwork in the background. So my job as an account director is is to become that liaison. To the company and make sure people know who Paul Murray is and what we do. from soup to nuts kind of kind of scenario. Absolutely.

So I mean, I kind of alluded that you guys are basically the fifth Beatle, people's IT department give us the real kind of elevator pitch as to what Pomeroy is all about these days. And I want to jump in and talk to Nate about some of the cool services you have. And we were talking earlier about these freakin tech cafes. And I was hoping there'd be some extra foam to go with that.

So it's a you know, when you think of the value one investment vo I, you know, there's no real cost savings when you talk about a cafe, but it's all about the customer experience the opportunity to come take your technology, sit in front of the technician and say, Hey, you know something's wrong with it. We'll diagnose it. We'll attempt to repair it right then in there. It will tell you hey, go have lunch, go go have a snack and come on back. 15 minutes you

like the sounds of it?

You're making it's almost relaxing to get my boss Normally I'm pretty much tensed up and being like, sir should now and it never gets fixed.

That's super simple. Just bring your device while you're on your way to lunch or if you're on break, you know, just drop it by and we'll repair or if you so here is the same way into the intelligent engine ending. If you need a peripheral. We have that standing right next to the cafe.

Oh really? So if you're if you're completely adult, you need a nipple and it's there ready to go. I like that. I like that. And what's your footprint in Pittsburgh and like Southwestern Pennsylvania, I'm assuming you're working with a lot of cool clients and stuff like that.

Yeah, we are. We work with a lot of the folks downtown with big names on the buildings and we have like around 250 people in western Pennsylvania and though those companies that we work with are also They're also servicing disparate workplaces. So they might have satellite in Kentucky, a satellite in California satellite in Omaha, Nebraska, all around even around the globe internationally. So we serve them all around, that they follow the same standards, we really try to be the choke point. So we set a standard here with that organization. And whatever they tell us, they However, they want us to work with them, we make sure that we repeat that service all over the country or all over the world for them. Make sense? Now, we were talking before, obviously, Nate was talking about how they guys deployed 18,000 people to get coverage mode, and then you have all your other clients going to go virtual as well, too. And now, it's kinda like the inverse. People are starting to now go back to work.

And he talks a little bit about some of those services that you're providing, because all of a sudden, it's like, oh, my God, like we're still doing home a little bit, but we will be going back to the office. And now there's a whole list of crazy things you got to be thinking about. You're helping people out with that.

Yeah, yeah. So So when you think about it, you talk about the safety. Yeah, you know, you're concerned about safety. realization and having a sterilization process, not just having when they come into the environment, a safe place for them to dock, but to have that repeated. So when they go home, they're not re contaminating, and then bringing it back into the environment. 

So, Tom can talk about some of the technology that we offer too with a temperature checking, facial recognition, temperature checking. Just just you know, that added assurance that as you walk through the door, we make sure you don't have a fever that you might not even be aware of.

Right. Are you gonna have oximeters at the cafes pretty soon.

Oxygen saturation checks, right? So Oh, that's great. Ya know, my backgrounds healthcare, so I'm really keen on the healthcare kind of side of it. So we've actually found a product that we're offering now to do Quick two second check of your temperature does a body temperature check for your face and it's all standalone you don't have to touch it nobody has to point a an infrared gun at you and then log into that and you walk into a building and you're all mouth is messed up and hazmat it's really nice to have been one clients already ordered these they bought 20 of these put in all their satellites across the country again or out of our out of our warehouse we configure them we send them out they plug them in play him and then there then that controls the door too. So if your temperature is high, it won't open the door. So if you have unattended areas where people are just walking in you know the employee entrance you can do all that in a remote fashion very quickly so it's not a whole lot of extra work for the convenient for the employees and it's not real threatening either just walk up says Hey Tom, you temperatures good go on in the door. Or it says hey, Tom, you're screwed. Get the hell out of here. I am I get the day off. That's a good thing to write.

Absolutely. So the these are just such key things because people need this to feel safe and the confidence does make it back that like we know that the it's a safe, safe place to be. And it relies on technology like this and folks to implement it and make it available which is why I'm so glad we're talking to you guys today.

Because this is Yeah, they mentioned he mentioned they mentioned the vending machines and they've now put an ultraviolet lights inside of those so when they're loaded with like, say spare mice and battery backups and power bricks, it that you may have forgotten you can just come and bend it but there's also sterilization within those vending machines now. Oh, wow.

You had a UV stuck inside the inside the vending machine? Yes, exactly. Wow. See, you got you have you had your bases covered here. I like that. You got some some great services and tech to get people back to work. You have these awesome tech cafes, which I think is just I mean, I've heard of these things. I'm kind of jealous of the folks that have access to them because how cool is that when your devices down, you get another one, actually. I mean, Case in point, I'm working from home. My mouse went haywire this morning. And I was like, Oh my god, I got a minute. I could have gone to a cafe last night you know that phone? Yes. Lost your bed in a mouse would have come with dispensed in ultraviolet lights and you know, germs eyes. I put my back later. Exactly. That's right. That's right. Oh, my goodness. So let's talk about I'm guessing we've talked about some other things we want to get in front of you guys is around some soft skills training. I think this is very unique in your industry. Can you expand on that a little bit? Because at the end of the day, it's the people that make this happen. And without the right skills, it's not gonna work.

Yeah, yeah. If I can start it off with a quote that we often do the training with is called when it matters the most. We are the worst monitors of our emotions. Do Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so you know, we're in this industry, you know from the service. That's the best. I know you're talking with people who have legitimate issues, tempers flare, when you're a desktop technician, you have a person physically in front of you, who is not happy. They're they're unproductive at that moment. So how do you maintain productive? How do you stay in control? When you have such a conflicting environment, whether it's on the phone or in person? So you know, we really invest in our team members in helping them with emotional control motional intelligence, he does conflict resolution, I remain productive, even when during those very critical moments, okay, is that a service has become more popular in the past couple years, I would assume. So I know we're hearing a lot more of this in the office space of states having that emotional intelligence and bringing the whole human to the office and really valuing culture and people interacting and so forth. Yeah, it is pivotal, it's pivotal. Because at that moment, you know, it's a term that we use is called reptile brain. At that moment, you are the most illogical person on the planet, when you're angry and upset and frustrated, you can't think that, Oh, well, they really have an issue, they need my help. So let me help calm them down so that I can give them the help that they need. And sometimes it's difficult when you start feeling threatened or, you know, you're, you start feeling anxious, you know, by the tone of the call. And so to be able to gauge that you control that as an individual. You know, it only breeds success for both you and the customer, because exactly, Oh, absolutely. And so it's like a sweet spot of a customer that you currently have, or is there a size you guys slot in? Well, I'm assuming you kind of cut across a range as to who uses your services.

We do know that's Yeah, me. Roughly 2500 or more employees is really kind of a sweet spot for us. We've got them, you know, beyond that we've got up to 30 40,000 employees in an organization. That's a lot of faith with myself. It's a lot of what it is what it is. It's a lot of people in the field right too. So we do a lot of field support or where you have a spare workforce. It's all spread around, especially now, more or more. So there was COVID, right? I have a whole imaging and logistics center down in Kentucky and all they're doing is shifting supplies overnight to people and refreshing their computers remotely. But we do a lot of remote Deployment Services for stores and organizations who will shut up. We'll take a whole whole store, put it together in our warehouse, shrink it, send it out and add water and it expands right. Very carefully, nearly any care how much water you put on the computer here, but anyway. And we do a lot of that where the organizations want to focus on what they do best, right? So our organizations, maybe they're a healthcare organization or their own insurer there. There are retailers, we want to let them focus on what they do best not refreshing computers fixing somebody's broken laptop screen because they were going down the escalator and it dropped, right? Let us do that let us fix and put batteries into mice for your people and make sure the cables are all plugged in on your video conferencing units. We'll do that. So when you get to work, you just do your work and help their organization focus on their, their core functions.

I like it. I like it. That is cool. So how do you see things changing? I don't think we can call the post COVID economy i think i think we're still in the COVID economies until there's a vaccine I remember me living in this kind of new world seems like a lot of more route services I think are going to be needed. What else do you guys you know, they're the things gonna start growing in terms of services and needs from from Pomeroy.

Yeah, I think the Field Services are the big really big right? So we have a lot of people running around the field that are equipped with high tech tools to be able to do work remotely. Make sure employees are up and functioning well, all while taking in fact that somebody may I want you in your in their house because you're a remote employee. So we can do those via our service desk, or they can provide telephone support to more people or more. We're proactive analytics, we can put tools on people's computers so that they can fix problems before they even happen, right? use more of that artificial intelligence than machine learning the chat bots, where we deploy a chat bot in an organization and they like instead of having to have somebody come out to their home, they can just do it through a chat session. Absolutely. That makes that makes so much sense. So the big thing, the whole reason why we are doing our summary stories here because we're trying to raise money for beyond the laptops. And we as early on in the COVID crisis, we learned that there were just so many students in Pittsburgh public schools and actually schools everywhere that do not have access to the right technology so they can learn from home. It's like it completely like blew our brains as to how awful This wasn't. So we're trying to do everything we can to bridge that divide. I'd love to ask you guys, what can we all be doing? What should companies be doing? People be doing in a way to start building a little more equity here and getting, making sure that everyone has access to the internet, everyone has access to a good solid device and can connect. Right? So companies buy computers for their employees to use. And we actually do this we do a lifecycle, they buy them, we take care of them for three years, and then they return them and they sell they sell them off. A lot of our companies have chosen to go ahead and broker them and give those to like a organization, right, we clean them, we wipe them take all the data off, there could ever be them, we do a do D level Department of Defense level wipe on them. So there's no data on them and worry about for our clients, we're able to take those packages up and hand them off to a donation or charity of their choosing. So that's one thing that we love to do, because we don't want to see things going in landfill. We'd rather go to us and these are these are great places where companies can take their old past assets, do that secure wipe and then get them to an organizations such as Pittsburgh public schools or whoever might be still a very current device just may not may be expired on the lease, you know, three months into it. Three years is a long time, normally three to four years. But they're not bad. They're still good. I mean, I've got computers on my desk that are three to five years and not maybe older. But that's a great way for companies rather than sending stuff off to the dump or selling it. Take that and give it to them charity in an organization. I think that's a great way.

I like it. Absolutely. What are your thoughts?

Yeah, and Tom just really hit it. When you talk about the ability to offer services, you know, when you think of training, you can do some online training, job skill training during this time, because there's a lot of companies that are just going total virtual and to offer virtual training on technology skills, you know, as service desk, you know that that's a job that does not require in interaction face to face interaction. You do online training stand up service desk, you know, it just be a feeder. It To that, that introduction into the IT field. Very cool. I

can't thank you guys enough for taking the time out of your day to be part of our 50 stories This summer I think it's so great to be able to highlight what you guys are up to you guys bring the energy that I love all talking to you guys. I'm so glad that Comcast has helped us get these stories out. And I just wish you guys the best of luck the rest of the summer, and just keep doing all the great work that you're doing.

You to Jonathan We appreciate all the tech counsels doing and everything. It's just been great. So keep up the great work. We're proud supporters and glad to be part of the organization absolutely.

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