14 Nov PM Profiles: Meet Bob Braun
Criterion’s program managers play a critical role in helping our Federal government customers meet their mission objectives. Each brings a unique perspective and background to their jobs, a combination of technical expertise and problem-solving capacity that helps Criterion develop and implement creative solutions to the challenges our teams face every day.
Today, we would like to profile Bob Braun, a program manager for our Department of Commerce customer. He joined Criterion in 2017 and is a professional leader with 30+ years of diverse experience in successfully delivering information technology systems and services. Bob’s track record of effectively tackling complex projects and exceeding customer expectations as well as his focus on process discipline have been vital to supporting Criterion’s continued growth. Bob has a Computer Information Systems degree from Strayer University, along with multiple certificates and certifications, including Project Management Professional (PMP), CompTIA Security+ ce, and ITIL v3 Foundation.
- What would you consider is your key subject matter expertise?
Data center management. I’ve been in operations my entire career and data center management is my sweet spot. I’ve managed or been a part of every operational aspect associated with the data center delivering services to the end user.
- What is an important lesson learned in that area that you apply frequently to add value to your customers?
In some of my past endeavors, I’ve been involved with the planning of small-scale server rooms all the way up to very large data centers. On more than an occasion or two, I’ve been challenged by facilities infrastructures that did not meet standards that would support the critical infrastructure. Some plans are cobbled together without the benefit of time and/or money to ensure success. Understanding the gotchas helps avoid the inevitable failures when planning for power, cooling, infrastructure, redundancy, process, and operational disciple.
- Do you have a particular approach to solving problems?
Simplest and easiest is always the fastest way of solving a problem. We’ve all been a part of a complex problem that stayed hidden until you peeled back the last layer before the fix was revealed. In most cases, the answer is right there. How many times have we spent looking at a continuity problem or system services that won’t start up, only to find that a simple reboot was all it took to restore services? I’ve had many discussions with systems/network engineers regarding the need to restore services over their vested need to understand why a failure occurred. Most times, a thorough after-action deep dive will reveal the root cause.
- What drives you? What is the key to your success?
Outcomes and getting it done right the first time. Success can be measured by that relief you feel after the completion of a project or the implementation of a new upgrade. But the true measurement is getting it done on time and if it met the customer’s expectations. Then, when you get a thank you or an attaboy from your customer, share it with your colleagues and point towards specific contributions that individuals made and how the team pulled together to achieve success. That’s an awesome feeling!
- What do you feel is your greatest achievement in your role here at Criterion?
Providing a high level of customer service with limited resources to a very demanding customer base; in my role as PM, I’m responsible for coming up with solutions intended to improve customer service. Recognizing the systemic problems and applying fixes to issues is not always easy in the government space. For example, over time, one customer’s base had been accustomed to concierge service while the contract did not allow for any new personnel needed to provide that level of service. Only through a series of deep dives and remediation initiatives were we able to gain efficiencies and put into play different roles that we defined for IT managers that gave relief to the OPTEMPO the team was struggling under.
- What is the craziest job you ever worked?
As a teenager working with my family-owned small demolition business in Baltimore City. I once got caught between a street gun battle and had to jump into the back of a dump truck while it was speeding away.
- Tell us something about yourself that may surprise your coworkers.
I don’t know if it’s a surprise, but I love being a first-time grandfather!!!