E97 - Rick Stevens at Presidio

Harry Green
Rick Stevens

By Harry Green & Rick Stevens

Our Head of Enterprise USA, Harry Green was joined by Rick Stevens, the Solution Architecture Manager at Presidio. Rick delves deeper into how Automation is going to support the shortage of staff in the industry. They also discuss the challenges that come with going up against huge vendors in the industry when you are first starting a start-up company.

Rick first started out in the industry as a Physical Planning Installer installing cable. This was at a time when things weren’t mission-critical, if the network went down, nobody cared. He progressed by asking questions and pursuing that. He did that for a while and then ended up moving to Cisco in the Service Provider space. It was a great time to be at Cisco because there were new advancements every day. He stayed at Cisco for around 10 years and eventually transitioned to the state-local education space as it was time for him to have a career change. He was a Systems Engineer there for 6 years. He jumped between a variety of roles up until his current position as the Solution Architecture Manager.

Now working for the infamous Presidio, Rick discusses how he was the start-up person for the centre of the USA and the challenges that came with that. When you work for the likes of Cisco and are there for a long time, you can get meetings with customers pretty easily but when you are starting up in a new company, it’s not as easy. Nobody knows who you are so when you are transitioning into a new company you have to go out and brand it, explain who you are, and what you do, and you get very good at telling the story. He managed to leverage the relationships he had at Cisco when he first started at Presidio which ultimately helped push him through that initial start-up.

When looking for new hires one of the things he looks for is someone who has deep technical expertise and what he means by that he looks for silos of expertise. On his team, he has data centre guys who are specific to compute storage and they are now branching into the cloud. He has security guys who are deep into security infrastructure and are branching into the cloud from a different direction and networking guys who are deep into their expertise and are moving into intelligence and automation. He needs people who are deep in tech in a couple of areas in order to move forward.


What Rick is seeing a lot more of now is a lot smaller staff ever since the pandemic. The people just aren’t there anymore so the small staffs have to rely on Automation to keep up with their business. Automation will be huge, and it’ll be a hyper-growth technology that will touch every other technology.

For those wanting to get their foot in the door, Rick suggests asking a lot of questions. Be that pest and almost become annoying. Most people in the industry are happy to help you so get involved, get that experience level across the board, and figure out how to tie them all together.

Tune in to the full episode now to hear a great quick-fire round, you don’t want to miss it!