Meet The Team
With NG9-1-1, change is inevitable. It brings challenges and opportunities. Meet two team members who meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities as we keep people connected WHEN IT MATTERS MOST
Tim Samuelson joined Airbus DS Communications in 2000, when he was just a few years out of college. During his time on our team, he has seen tremendous change, both within the industry and with technology. These changes are "part of what makes this job fun." In that case, Tim is having a great deal of fun.
Tim got his start with us in Technical Support and later accepted a position in Managed Services. He then transitioned to our System Verification & Test department and was promoted to manage the team. Soon after, he became the Manager of the Technical Support and Managed Services departments. Today, his current role is Senior Solutions Architect with our Enterprise Solutions team. He provides engineering support for our sales team and works directly with customers that require larger and more complex systems. His various roles in the company have given him a unique perspective to do this job.
"What has really helped me with engineering solutions for customers is the fact that I have held many different positions in our company. These different roles have allowed me to bring a relevant perspective into our design discussions and to understand customer concerns. My experience has provided me the ability to be clear about what they're saying - what problems they're trying to solve and what they're trying to accomplish."
Being able to solve problems and design solutions for our customers is Tim's favorite part of his job. However, his ability to do that is only as good as the information he gets. "You have to listen to the customer to understand their needs before you can say, 'Here's the solution that’s best for you,’ or ‘Here's how we can solve your problem.’ Only after understanding the customer requirements can you begin to design a solution to meet the customer's needs. It's really fulfilling to explain solution designs to our customers in a way so they understand how the technology will solve their problems, accomplish their goals and benefit their call center." Being effective in his efforts is only possible through his commitment to keeping himself educated.
"I have a business degree from the University of California at Riverside. However, my continued education is most relevant to my job today. I think that, in life, you constantly need to be learning something new and challenging yourself. I've been fortunate enough that the company has provided me the opportunity to attend training classes and continue learning. The industry and technology are constantly changing, so we must continuously educate ourselves and stay current."
Tim is referring to his Microsoft certifications, as well as his recent renewal of Cisco certifications, CCNA and CCDA. "These certifications are really important because everything about Next Generation 9-1-1 is moving to IP, which requires some form of network connectivity. Maintaining a level of technical certification gives you the knowledge to facilitate and participate in design discussions with customers and their IT departments about how to interconnect their systems. It's extremely valuable to have these conversations because everything is moving in this direction."
This is enormous change from his days in Managed Services when he had to communicate with a customer by calling a fax machine due to a storm-related system outage. Even though it was a challenging time, and in the middle of the night, he appreciates how our company consistently "supports our customers on a 24/7/365 basis." He's proud to have assisted those on the front lines.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for people in Public Safety. It's an honor to design and deliver solutions to support them. I take pride in knowing that Calltakers use our products and solutions on a daily basis to help the public in their time of need and to support first responders. It's exciting to be part of Public Safety and to help people. Obviously, the technology is constantly changing and moving forward to NG9-1-1 is exciting, too. There's never a dull moment."
In his time with us, Tim has had a lot of change in his personal life as well. He and his wife have four children who keep him busy outside of work. "We've got one about to graduate high school, and one about to graduate preschool. One learning to drive and one in third grade. It can be tough to manage both ends of the spectrum, but it's also really enjoyable and rewarding." When he's not supporting them in sports and activities or taking them camping in national parks, he's trying to carve out quality time and weekends away with his wife. Tim also enjoys playing the guitar and listening to music of all kinds. "Music is a passion. I really appreciate it and am always looking for something new."
Amid all the change, we're grateful to have Tim as a constant. His flexibility, passion for the industry and commitment to always bettering himself make him a treasure to us and to our customers. Thank you, Tim!
One of the newest members of the Airbus DS Communications team, Dan Zeiler is already off and running. As our Director of Cyber Security, Dan is focused on our company's cyber security and cyber defense efforts both internally and related to Next Generation Core Services. And in the current world in which we live, Dan's role is critical to us all.
"With 9-1-1 service, everyone makes assumptions about getting response. People rely on it, and they rely on it in the worst possible times of their lives. With the change in 9-1-1 services, from landline to mobile and now Voice over IP, and with new ways of contacting 9-1-1 on the horizon, like text and video clips, a whole new ecosystem of vulnerabilities and risks are coming in contact with the various PSAPs. And they’re already seeing operational impacts. Virtually, the entire ecology of 9-1-1, from PSAP operators to legislators to service providers, realizes the impact serious attacks would have on the integrity of our emergency services operations. As a company, we want to help PSAPs mitigate these attacks, in addition to continuing to provide the high-end equipment and programming for which we’re already known."
Dan has held positions in IT security, operations and administration for almost two decades. But he feels all IT roles are, or should be, viewed as different facets of the same structure. "Cyber security can't work on its own. From a business standpoint, the entire organization has to be taken into account. Most members of an organization won’t regard themselves as 'cyber security soldiers', but sadly they are. The best technical solution in the world won’t matter much if team members can’t leverage it. And with the aspect of social engineering, everyone has to be aware and act to protect themselves and the business where they can.”
It's not just Dan's work with technology systems that formed his passion for security. It began with his time in the U.S. Navy, where he served as a Cryptologic Technician, while also earning qualification as an Electronics Technician and Boatswain’s Mate. Dan recalls this as one of the toughest things he's ever achieved but says it was well worth the effort. This is because of the high value he places on education.
"Educational achievement is a simple, basic and fast way to show credibility and gets you into the conversation, both internally with a company and externally with clients. That's why it's very important to learn not just the things that are interesting and important to you, but those things that are interesting and important to the group as a whole." For Dan, these things include a BS in IT Security, as well as the various certifications he's achieved, such as those related to information security (CISSP, CISA, CISM, CGEIT and CRISC), as well as Cisco certifications CCNA, CCNA-S and CCDA.
Dan regards all of these "acronyms" as "really critical to understanding the technical side, but not as important when it’s really time for decision maker engagement." He says, "When presenting to an executive team or board members, the most important thing on cyber security is translating all the fairly technical news headlines regarding attacks into something that humans can engage. We all see hacking stories almost nightly on the news, and some of the technology is impressive. But most of it is little more than 30-year old exploits which have been solved, just not by the current victim. My job is to translate the technical risk into business risk so that the business understands the risks and can do something about them."
To assist other cyber security professionals, and the community at large, Dan spends some of his spare time giving presentations that help "define the risk, measure the risk and translate and communicate that risk." This is important to him because he says cyber security is a collaborative approach. Cyber security is dependent on "getting everybody on board."
Dan's been on board with us two months now and finds the experience refreshing. "It's very different to work with people who are very busy, yet friendly and not dismissive." He notes the process of getting acclimated to our company has been "extremely encouraging" and has been done "with a combination of discipline and thoughtfulness and concern." He also appreciates the opportunity to serve our customers and says, "This position is an opportunity to look at my family and say, 'This was worth doing. This made a difference.' Hopefully what we do today will save lives."
“It's not hard to spot the seamless ways Dan fits into our organization. We know his passion for security, and now for Public Safety, will help ensure our abilities to keep our promises to our customers. Plus, we can't wait to hear this lovely singing voice he keeps mentioning. Welcome aboard, Dan!