Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Startup Company

KAI Partners Staff Profile: The Systems Engineer

Alpen Technology Group, Information Security, Information Technology, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, Managed IT Services, Sacramento, Small Business, Startup Company, Systems Engineer, Technology

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you the journey of David Baker, a Systems Engineer with our managed IT services division, Alpen Technology Group. Alpen Technology Group provides organizations the benefits of an internal IT department at a fraction of the cost of staffing one themselves.

The role of the Systems Engineer within IT services is critical. On any given day, Mr. Baker’s responsibilities include troubleshooting advanced security technologies such as Single sign-on and Multi-factor Authentication, managing IT initiatives, collaborating with clients, providing strategic advice on using technology to achieve goals and objectives, supporting new technology implementation, training users, and more.

Today we’re excited to share more about Mr. Baker’s Managed IT background and his current role.

KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?

David Baker: My troubleshooting skills caught the attention of an instructor of mine who had just started a software training/consulting firm. He was impressed at my ability troubleshoot and reconstruct the computer. He was also looking for someone who loved computers and tech. I was able to work summer days and nights while going to school and increasing my technical knowledge. IT was fun, and I love playing video games, so it led down this road.

KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?

DB: I have a certification through Microsoft—the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)—as well as CompTIA’s Network+ and A+. I am also currently working on a certification with Amazon Web Services.

KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

DB: My favorite part about my line of work is creating new networks for clients. \ Completing a project gives me a sense of satisfaction. I take pride in knowing that I have created something that will help a client meet their goals.

KAI: What is one of the most common question you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

DB: The most common question I get from clients is how we can save money on IT. I tell them let’s look at your environment and streamline it. For example, I once moved a client from physical servers to a virtual environment, which saved them money on cooling and electricity use.

Now that we’ve learned more about David’s Systems Engineer work, here’s a little more about him!

Quick Q&A with David:

Daily, must-visit website:  www.techcrunch.com

Preferred genre of music: Blues

Best professional advice received: Never give a firm time to resolve an issue in IT. You do not want to set an expectation that you cannot meet due to Murphy’s Law or other outside factors.

Book you can read repeatedly: “Who Moved My Cheese?”

Most-recent binge-watched show: Dear White People

About David: Mr. Baker has 11 years of experience in IT ranging from help desk to network/systems engineer and working with different technologies such as Cisco, SonicWALL, Dell, VMware, and Microsoft. Mr. Baker currently works for KAI Partners as a Systems Engineer, helping clients meet their IT needs. For fun, Mr. Baker enjoys enjoy BBQing, photography, and fitness.

Interested in learning more about how David and the Alpen Technology Group can help your organization? Call 916-465-8065!

Why Your Small Business Needs Managed IT Services

Alpen Technology Group, Information Technology, KAI Partners, Managed IT Services, Sacramento, Small Business, Startup Company, Technology

By Steven Duart

As you may have heard, KAI Partners recently partnered with Managed IT Services firm, Alpen Technology Group, to provide comprehensive managed IT solutions for businesses.

As a small business, you have enough going on to make sure your business succeeds. Managing your IT systems shouldn’t have to be yet another item on your to-do list.

So, what exactly does our managed IT team do for you? Think of it this way, if it has an on/off switch—server and networking equipment, desktops, tablets, phones, and copiers, basically everything you need to run your small business—we can manage it for you.

In short: We are your IT department.

Alpen TG provides all the benefits of an internal IT department at a fraction of the cost of staffing one yourself. Here are a few other benefits of our managed IT services:

Comprehensive Network Confidence. A critical part of your success as a business is your computer network and making sure it runs predictably, optimally, and securely. You need to be able to focus on your organizational mission and not your IT network, which is why Alpen TG’s fully managed service is the ideal solution to provide the utmost in network reliability and quality service.

Improved Productivity. Continuous insight into your network lets us reduce the business impact of IT failure by shortening the time from network failure to issue resolution.

Decreased Downtime. Through our service management service, we perform preventative maintenance activities that keep your network operations up, and we reduce the number of incidents and downtime that you encounter.

Tailored IT Plans. Every organization is unique and has unique needs. We provide customers with tailored recommendations that align with your business vision and strategy. Through a comprehensive IT assessment, our team identifies essential business criteria and develops a strategy to create tailored IT plans.

We provide remote and on-site support, monthly network health reviews, security and backup management, and more. We do all this to give you the time and energy to focus on what’s important to help your business grow—and most importantly, to give you peace of mind that your IT system is managed adequately.

Interested in getting a quote or learning more about how Managed IT Services can help your small business? Call 916-465-8065 or email Sduart@alpentg.com.

About the Author: Mr. Duart is a Managed IT Services expert who has been integrating people, process, and technology and providing comprehensive technology solutions for businesses and outstanding support for over 13 years. Steven is dedicated to striving to make a difference in the local community by offering Non-Profits CIO-Level consulting at a fraction of the cost. Steven successfully started his own MSP firm and partnered with KAI Partners to expand Managed IT Services offerings in California. Steven holds a Master’s degree in Computer Information Systems and graduated with honors from St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas and is currently working on his PhD.

The WorkShop – Sacramento Open for Co-working!

Co-working, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Sacramento, Small Business, Startup Company, The WorkShop, Training

You might have heard we recently opened The WorkShop – Sacramento in East Sacramento’s McKinley Park neighborhood!

Located in Cannery Business Park on 33 and C Streets (right across the street from Roxie Deli and Orphan Breakfast House, anyone?), The WorkShop is a co-working and collaboration space offering monthly memberships, private offices, and open desk space.

Want to learn more about The WorkShop? We hope these quick links will help! Of course, if you have additional questions, please call us directly at 916-465-8065 or email workshop@kaipartners.com.

With clients in architecture, product development, medical technology, game development, digital marketing, and more, we are proud to be a hub for anyone looking to build their business. Check us out online, or better yet, come by and take a look to see what we are all about!

Hey, Sacramento: City Hall Is Calling for Our Help

Co-working, Corporate Training, Event Recap, Government, KAI Partners, KAIP Academy, Learning, Sacramento, Sacramento’s Urban Innovation Agenda, Small Business, Startup Company, The WorkShop, Training, Workforce Development

Photo Credit: Sacramento’s Urban Innovation Agenda

By Stephen Alfano, CSM
Recently, when I logged into an online presentation webinar covering the subject of “Sacramento’s Urban Innovation Agenda,” I was expecting a rundown of the events and activities of the last few months.

What I got was just that, along with the details of several programs that begged for more discussion, plus an invitation to lean in, lend a hand, and hold on for the huge changes ahead for the City and the surrounding region. In short, I got the message: City Hall wants my help … and I’m all-in.

Here’s why:

  1. It will drive new business. Although the webinar format didn’t offer much of an opportunity to interact with hosts Maria MacGunigal, Chief Information Officer, City of Sacramento and Louis Stewart, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Sacramento, their presentation identified several initiatives where the tech sector will be crucial players and that translates into business opportunities for project management, program delivery, governance, and change management firms … like KAI Partners, Inc.
  2. It will support new infrastructure. For example, the presentation highlighted the Verizon 5G deal announced in November 2017, which will deliver state-of-the-art, high-speed Internet access throughout the Sacramento city limits, including free WiFi at 27 parks and common spaces. That boost in connectivity will help attract and accelerate the growth of start-ups and the supporting business services providers … like The WorkShop – Sacramento.
  3. It will fuel new workforce development. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, innovation is “the introduction of something new.” Frankly speaking, the ideas presented in the webinar have potential to reinvigorate or reinvent current workforce development planning; to shift from fulfilling tax-base or commercial real estate-focused goals to skills-building and economic empowerment programming. That shift will spark needs for more training and coaching and mentoring service providers … like the KAIP Academy.

I could easily list at least a half-dozen more reasons why supporting “Sacramento’s Urban Innovation Agenda” is good for me and my colleagues at KAI Partners. Instead I’ll blog on a regular basis about the progress of City Hall’s agenda and its worthwhile set of goals; measuring and reporting on the impact of the three areas identified above and keeping track of how the “help” (like me) is doing as we lean in on the effort. Wish me and the City of Sacramento luck. Better still give me a shout if you’re looking to lend a hand.

About the Author: Stephen Alfano is an Organizational Change Management Consultant and Communications Expert. He has 30 years of experience leading and managing internal and external marketing initiatives for both private and public-sector clients. His résumé includes providing both new business and business process improvement services to Apple, American Express, AT&T, California Department of Transportation, Chevron, Entergy, Levi Strauss & Co., Louisiana Office of Tourism, Mattel, Microsoft, Novell, SONY, Sutter Health, and Wells Fargo. Stephen currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., spearheading business development and leading the firm’s marketing and communications practice and line of business.

Why Workforce Development is Everybody’s Business

Government, Hiring, Learning, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Sacramento, Small Business, Startup Company, Technology, Training, Workforce Development

By Stephen Alfano

Scan the U.S. economic forecast newsfeeds today and you’ll find nearly all of them contain or point to a reference about the status of the available workforce.

The reason for this attention is quite clear: Research continues to show the country in the middle of an employment crisis with rapidly declining rolls, due in large part to an aging population (10,000 retirees a day), coupled with the widening knowledge-base and skills gap among entry-level and mid-career candidates looking to be the backfill.

Of course, the employment crisis isn’t just a U.S. issue. Large and small employers, and national and local politicians the world over are involved in the response—especially where economic empowerment in the form of access to good paying jobs and career advancing training comes into play. In other words, workforce development is everyone’s business.

Originally designed to address the needs of personnel rather than businesses, workforce development has evolved to become an all-encompassing economic growth catchphrase used to describe multifaceted, multiphasic initiatives that attempt to knock down a wide array of employment barriers and achieve overall labor goals of a region.

Today, when business leaders and politicians talk about workforce development, they do so in terms of socio-economic reforms in education, urban planning, tax policy, and social services (to name a few of the areas affected).

Regardless of the size of their payroll or party affiliation, these community stalwarts are undeniably talking about jobs. They are talking about good paying jobs, jobs that require skills in high demand. The kind of jobs that attract—and keep—employees rooted in the region. And there’s the rub—as the Harvard Business Review (HBR) points out in a recently published article.

With insight (data analysis) pulled from requirements from job listings posted since 2008, the HBR identifies the growing skills gap found in U.S. labor pool since the “Great Recession.” In case you don’t have spare time to read the whole article, here’s an abridged version to help point out why (and where) workforce development is needed:

“[Recent research has established] a new fact: the skill requirements of job ads increased in metro areas that suffered larger employment shocks in the Great Recession … the companies that reacted to the recession by looking for more skilled workers were still pursuing that strategy five years later.”

“[Specifically, job ads in] hard-hit metro area are about 5 percentage points (16%) more likely to contain education and experience requirements and about 2–3 percentage points (8‒12%) more likely to include requirements for analytical and computer skills … [and nearly all] education, experience, analytical aptitude, and computer skills — have been found to complement new technologies … [identified in the job postings] analytical requirements by the presence of keywords like “research,” “decision,” and “solving.”

“… [it was found] that businesses more severely affected by the Great Recession were more likely to invest in new technology, and while this technology may have helped replace some forms of routine jobs, it apparently increased the demand for greater worker skills for other routine jobs.”

The Sacramento metro region was one of the areas hardest hit by the “Great Recession.” (When the “housing bubble” burst, the economy suffered another big shock with the exit of several large employers.) The resulting devalued homes and downturn in available jobs crippled the Capital Corridor’s economy—it took nearly 10 years for a modest rebound to take place.

As of October 2017, there are relatively few underwater properties left in the area inventory. Unfortunately, there are still hundreds of area residents underemployed and too few big employer prospects in the pipeline. Sounds like the right market conditions for an innovative and inclusive workforce development initiative, specifically one that will:

  1. Ensure business and civic leaders work together regularly to identify and then mitigate skill gaps in the labor pool addressing regional employment challenges through dedicated sponsorship and resource allocations;
  2. Employ empirical data analysis and change management best practices in tandem to inform and guide employers and employees on how to fulfill growing or evolving job requirements in alignment with regional marketplace growth goals and objectives;
  3. Enlist subject matter experts and key stakeholders to create processes and governance and compliance policies and procedures that will facilitate reconfiguring or reconstructing regional human resource management goals and objectives on an ongoing basis; and
  4. Engage and empower instructors and advisors to help train and promote work-ready employees for both short and long-term economic growth objectives that serve vital regional business and public sector needs for better prepared and for higher-qualified candidates.

Who’s with me?

About the Author: Stephen Alfano is an Organizational Change Management Consultant and Communications Expert. He has over 25 years of experience leading and managing internal and external marketing initiatives for both private and public-sector clients. His résumé includes providing both new business and business process improvement services to Apple, American Express, AT&T, California Department of Transportation, Chevron, Entergy, Levi Strauss & Co., Louisiana Office of Tourism, Mattel, Microsoft, Novell, SONY, Sutter Health, and Wells Fargo. Stephen currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing change management and communications expertise and support services to California State Departments.

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