When Newmine Sr. Consultant Mike Erickson and I hopped on the phone, we started out our conversation talking about Oktoberfest, when he casually dropped in “when I was a kid, the best Oktoberfest we did was at my parent’s in Germany…” As it turns out, Mike’s father was stationed in Germany for five years when he was young, but he laughs when he admits he doesn’t speak a word of German, “when you’re on an Airforce base, going to Airforce school with all the Airforce brats, you don’t go out to recess and speak German.”
As a former “Airforce brat” Mike has lived all over: Massachusetts, Texas, New Mexico, South Dakota. Today he is based out of Milwaukee, where he works from his home office: “rush hour traffic is a bear in the morning, but I usually make it past those 13 steps.” He lives with his wife and daughter, a senior in high school, and has three sons who are out of the house.
Mike oversees Newmine’s Managed Services division, an offering that provides retail clients with the resources to monitor, 24/7/365 their order management systems for errors, updates, patches to their software and hardware configurations. A critical function to keeping any retail business technology functioning optimally, without additional headcount: “clients don’t need to hire staff for the back end of the OMS that can do all those things—We monitor it for them,” says Mike. “We also do weekly maintenance events to clear their systems and restart them so that the following week they’re running as optimally as they can.”
The managed services team installs and configures a monitoring program for each client that identifies specific issues—such as data issues, servers not running, or jobs not running—checking every 5 minutes and alerting them to resolve the problem: “The biggest advantage that we offer to the clients is that they can go to sleep and wake up in the morning and they won’t have problems with their systems.”
In talking with Mike extensively about his work at Newmine, a few things are clear: he’s a diligent problem solver, and very passionate about being a team player. He talks repeatedly about how he feels it’s important for his clients and his teammates to know he’s available for them: “I don’t count my successes, I count my team’s successes” said Mike, “the relationships [we have] with our clients shows our success.”
What do you like most about the work you do?
Mike: Working for the clients is the most rewarding. I work with on a regular basis to build relationships with them and assure them that we’re doing everything possible to make sure that they’re successful. That’s the biggest thing. I’m driven for success—I don’t like to fail. You wake up every morning, put your boots on, and go after it. The client relationship, I think, is the best. When you know they know they can count on you.
How does it feel going from a big company to a company like Newmine?
Mike: It’s horrible. I mean you’ve seen Navjit—you talk to him. [He laughs] I’ve been very well taken care of. I’m grateful Navjit hired me. You get to be a bit more personal [at Newmine]. Everyone on the team feels like they’re really on the same page, we all want each other to be successful. Everyone’s far away, but we get to see each other [at least] once a year.
Where do you see retail in the next 5-10 years when it comes to technology?
Mike: Order management systems are changing. The retail business is changing dramatically, and it changes so rapidly. I’ll just speak for the order management systems that are changing every day, and the legacy systems that are going away. It’s important we understand and keep up with these changes, and understand our clients’ needs because not everyone’s going to wear the same boot. We need to stay up to date so that the clients know we’re making the best decisions for them. That’s going to be the key—to be available for that next step for the client when they’re ready to make a change.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
Mike: Camp. My parents camp in the summer, so they move in in April and leave in October. And we have 6 campers in a campground that we all stay at to visit mom and dad. The best part about camping is sitting around the fire and chatting with everybody…eating food and drinking beer.