Member of the Month
Orlando, FL, USA
What Citrix technologies are most important to your work?
At Greenberg Traurig, the most important are XenApp, NetScaler, StoreFront, and XenDesktop–not exactly in that order, but close. Our attorneys have the choice of using firm managed laptops or VPN, and we utilize Outlook Web Access, or NetScaler Gateway and XenApp and/or XenDesktop. My team and I feel very proud when an attorney tells us Citrix is their preference due to how easy, consistent, and functional our environment is today. 15 years ago, Greenberg Traurig used to view remote access as a luxury. Today it’s a necessity. Citrix is our primary choice for that necessity.
What are the biggest tech challenges in your work environment, and what Citrix-related solutions have you implemented or hope to implement?
One of our many challenges is that we are a global firm with large data repositories, which makes it difficult for those in EU to access data in the US (documents, billing, etc.). Citrix allows us to centralize our data and provide fast, easy access without worrying about replicating data and/or WAN latency. I often call Citrix our “life boat,” as it has provided us with solutions, even if temporary, until we can build out or expand our infrastructure as demand dictates. That said, our greatest challenge is working with our attorneys' home/remote connections–the proverbial “Citrix is running slow but my Internet is fine” call to the helpdesk. So we are in the process of implementing NetScaler MAS to more easily show a remote client that while their cached Internet pages are loading without issue, their connection is indeed the root cause of their slowness. We currently use Director and other tools to determine this, but I do not believe you can have too much information in this area so am looking forward to standing up MAS.
If you had a magic wand, what currently nonexistent software or device would you conjure up to make your job easier?
A few years ago, I sat in a session at Synergy and asked for a client-based “barometer” that let the customer know their connection was degrading or in poor health. And voila! The Connection Quality Indicator is now built into 7.14 (and was available as an add-on prior)! I felt like a kid in a candy store with that addition. What a simple (to me anyway), yet invaluable, feature. I was so happy! And zones are back! So I am not even sure what I would wish for at this point. Stability before releasing an update is always appreciated.
You are the newest addition to CUGC's Steering Committee, and the leader of the Orlando CUGC group. Tell us about getting involved with CUGC. Any goals you’d like to share?
After moving from South Florida and being able to visit Citrix Headquarters for most of my meetings, I felt a bit let down coming to Orlando where there was no CUGC group established, let alone no great HQ to visit. I was thrilled when I was told by my Citrix SE that I could start one, but also somewhat overwhelmed. Could I take on the extra work? Make it successful? Where do I even begin? But CUGC made it simple and painless. After the first conference call with CUGC HQ, I knew I could make it work and they have not let me down. They prove their proficiency and dedication daily, which in turn makes me that much more committed. They helped me launch my first meeting which had some really good success, and I look forward to see where we can take it.
I think the biggest challenge, which all CUGC Leaders face, is how do you reach other Citrites in your town? Best location for meetings? Interesting content? All of these are what invite and encourage members to attend and participate. I would really like to grow the Orlando CUGC into a great resource for Central Florida-based Citrix professionals, as I know other leaders do. Actions like this interview, leader meetings, and talking with members about their ideas will hopefully help make that happen.
It was an amazing honor to be approached at Synergy 2017 in Orlando to join the CUGC Steering Committee. I just passed my 20-year anniversary with Greenberg Traurig, and feel I have grown up with GT and Citrix. So now, to be a part of helping that support person or new leader to evolve, succeed and become as much a fan of Citrix as I have been, is a real honor. As simple as it sounds, my current goal is to help CUGC grow as much as possible. Feeling like I come from (and am still in) the trenches to now being able to offer my input is a great personal accomplishment. I am proud of myself and Greenberg Traurig as I know being a part of them made it possible for me to be a part of CUGC's Steering Committee.
Tell us about the Orlando group: common tech issues or goals? Noteworthy or fun meetings you want to share?
To date, we have only had two meetings, both had vendors present and evolved into roundtable-type discussions. I would say upgrades have been the largest talking point as we had members on everything from XenApp 5.0 to 7.14 and everything in between. I think having a Citrix representative on-site is key, so they can answer questions (or take note to look into further) as it makes members feel like they have real access to the product and the company. We have also discussed other meeting options with everything from go-karts, to the escape room, to movie premieres, to sporting events. I want to make Orlando CUGC about learning, networking, and fun! Orlando’s challenge, as with many other large cities, is that it’s very spread out so members must often travel a fair distance to attend. I hope to move things around the area to make it interesting and convenient for everyone.
What’s the best career or life advice you’ve ever received?
Back in 1997, when I joined Greenberg Traurig, I never imagined I would still be here 20 years later. I believed I had a five-year plan and would evaluate my options after that time. But GT kept proving itself to be an innovative, solid, attentive firm, so I kept finding more reasons to stay than I could to leave. I discussed this with my father, a 35-year employee for Cummins Diesel Engine Company, and he told me that there is no rule that says you have leave a good company to find what is perceived to be a better company, to not get swayed by the “grass is greener” myth as long as there was stability and growth in my current role and company. So here I am…20 years later and proud to say I work for Greenberg Traurig.
Finally, tell us about your non-technical life. What do you do for fun?
My non technical life…is, in short, fulfilling. And hectic. And overwhelming. And amazing. And a lot of work. I have three children: Emma 16, Eric 14, and Elle 11. (Yes, I got stuck in the E’s for no real reason.) I split my time between Cocoa Beach and downtown Orlando, where my fiancé, a mechanical engineer for Siemens, lives. We workout (I drag all the kids to the gym with me!), we travel (recently took kids to St. Maarten and am headed to Thailand in October with no kids), we paddleboard, we enjoy friends, and I try to find time to sleep. Suffice it to say, I use Citrix to its maximum, as it allows me to do my job wherever I am, whenever I am. A bit corny, but no exaggeration when I say, that both being a Citrix professional for my firm as well as using Citrix to do my job has made my life what it is today.