Full Name: Blong Thao
Position: System Analyst
Service Length: 10 years
System Analyst is a generic term used to describe a professional that performs technical work involving information systems in the Information Technology field.
How did you decide on that field?
I majored in Computer Science in college because I wanted a job developing video games. Unfortunately my pursuit in a career of game development did not work out; instead I am doing something just as rewarding by working with technology.
What excites you about your job?
Consumers Energy utilizes a wide range of technologies to be able to deliver energy reliably to our customers; as a result I get the opportunity to learn technologies and skills outside of my core competencies.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Day to day operation of the systems I support isn’t always smooth. Failure in the system can be due to a technical issue, or a user issue utilizing the system. When an issue arises, I get the opportunity to perform root cause analysis to determine what caused the issue, how to fix it, and what to do to mitigate the same issue in the future.
Some of these issues can be very complex and involve multiple systems and multiple teams to identify and resolve. Having great people to work with makes solving these issues quicker and less stressful.
Describe the team you work with.
I am lucky to get the chance to work with very competent co-workers. Everyone on the team is an effective contributor. I work on a small team that handles many responsibilities.
Tasks include a wide variety of activities such as building and maintaining servers, administering the SAN, implementing and administering systems supporting smart meters, managing firewalls and network, building business partner relationships, and managing vendor relationships.
What is your proudest moment since working here?
The systems I support are part of the Smart Energy project that is currently deploying smart meters to our customers. With this technology, Consumers Energy is able to determine when and where power outages occur. This allows our company to send out crews to restore power as soon as possible. We also have the ability to retrieve actual meter readings, which helps with billing customers accurately. Every day I am proud that the work I do makes a difference in keeping the lights on.
What have you learned since working here?
Since I started working for Consumers Energy 10 years ago, I have met many intelligent, hardworking, and nice people at my work place. I feel that Consumers Energy has the best in class when it comes to their employees. I am fortunate to have the chance to work with such excellent people.
Describe yourself in three words.
Results, laidback, and friendly.
Tell us a quote you live by.
If you fail, try again.
Success without struggle is just luck, not real success. Lessons learned from struggling to become successful will enable more successes later. This is true in all walks of life, so I am not afraid to fail.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I co-own a small microbrewery in Jackson, and one of the things I learned is, if you are passionate about something, the hard work is worth it.