You’ve heard the buzz and we have one more exciting announcement! Stefan Fouant is coming to Networking Field Day 21 as a first-time delegate. We have a full line-up of companies and delegates. We are excited about next week’s FOUR-day event and that Stefan will be a part of it! We invite you to connect with Stefan at @SFouant on Twitter, the web, or the Tech Field Day web site.
To start, please tell us a little about what you do now, in your current role.
Currently, I work as the Vice President of Technology and Engineering at Sun Management. We are a small VAR located in the DC metropolitan area focused on commercial and federal, with a sizeable footprint in the DOD space. In my current role, I spend most of my time heading up engineering initiatives, spearheading conversations with customers, or looking at new and exciting ways to deliver new and compelling services to our customers. One of the initiatives that I am looking at now is launching a new managed services operation and managed security operation for our customers.
What are your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge that I currently have is that change within the technology landscape seems to be accelerating at an exponential rate. Keeping pace and abreast of the latest trends in the industry always seems to be a daunting proposition especially given how wide the industry has become.
How did you get into Technology and IT?
I always knew I would work with technology in some capacity. From the time (in the mid-80s) when my mother brought home our first IBM XT Personal Computer, I fell in love. I started dabbling in BASIC programming, and by the time I was 11, I was starting to get into Bulletin Board Systems (BBS’s) – this was in the late 80s and early 90s, before the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW). So back then, if you wanted to virtually connect with people online, you did so via a BBS, or Prodigy, Compuserve or AOL. I loved those days and it felt like you were part of a select group of people, because not everyone knew how to set up their computers and modems with terminal software which would allow them to connect with others. I later ran my own BBS for a few years out of the basement when I was in my early teens, and even learned C programming so I could modify the source code of the BBS software to meet my particular needs.
As soon as I graduated high school, I knew I was going to get into the business. I loved networking, so I pursued the Certified Novell Engineer 3 (CNE3) and CNE4 certifications, followed by a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer in NT4 (MCSE4) — I only achieved these certifications so I could get my foot in the door as these certifications were more IT-focused and less so on the core underlying networking components. Once I got in with a good company, I was quick to move to the networking side.
What was your first computer? What was great about it? What is your go-to computer now?
My first computer was an IBM XT Personal Computer that our mother brought home from work. It was great because my mother worked in IT at the time and was able to give me some early tutorials on how to use the machine… from there I started dabbling in basic programming and learning the basics of Microsoft DOS. Today, I switch between a Macbook Pro and an Windows machine, depending on what I’m doing. Don’t really have a preference here as it’s largely dependant on what the workload is and what’s the appropriate machine to use for the job.
Where do you see IT going in the next 3-5 years?
More automation! More AI. More capability and more simplicity. I believe that intent-based everything will be huge, with the software powering many systems becoming much more simplified and intelligent in terms of attempting to determine the intent of the end-user.
Let’s talk work/life balance. How do you manage it?
I have learned all too well the value of work/life balance… after working 70-80 hours a week consistently in my previous job and my health and personal affairs suffering as a result, I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s important to find a workplace that stresses and values a healthy work/life balance. Now, I, rarely if ever, work more than 40 hours a week. I put an emphasis on making time for exercise and nutrition, and spending time with family and friends. I try not to let work creep into my home life or personal affairs after the workday is over.
Do you have any hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?
Outside of work, my life is pretty much all about food and wine. I’ll add beer to that category as well, as I am an avid amateur winemaker and beer brewer. I’ll be honest though, my beers are much better than my wine. I love to check out new restaurants in the area, and I can often be found at a local vineyard on the weekends. In addition, I spend a great deal of time in the kitchen attempting to work on my culinary skills as I thoroughly enjoy cooking for my family and friends.
What would you be doing, if you weren’t working in IT?
If I wasn’t working in IT, I’d love to own my own craft brewery and work in the brewhouse making different styles of beer all day long.
If you could have ONE super power, what would it be and how would you use it?
Solve world hunger! Is that a super power??? Snap my fingers and make loaves of bread appear out of thin air. I’d love to be able to help all the people in the world that are less fortunate to be able to eat and have sustenance.
What is your favorite movie, favorite characters or parts?
I’d have to say that one of my favorite movies is “The Shawshank Redemption”, and of course, my favorite part is when Andy Dufresne escapes from the prison. I also enjoyed “The Count of Monte Cristo” for similar reasons, as these forms of escape represented in these movies to me symbolizes freedom and a break from the chains that might restrain us.
What is your favorite kind of ice cream?
I love vanilla ice cream… especially when coupled in a warm brownie sundae or perhaps with some deep fried Oreos… Alas, I am lactose intolerant and have been known to clean out rooms after indulging in ice cream, so I don’t eat it as often as I would like to.
What are you most excited about seeing at the event?
Definitely excited about seeing all the presentations from various vendors on the latest aspects of their technology and any new or compelling architectures or different approaches towards solving common IT related issues and problems.
Thanks, Stefan! This has been great! See you soon!
Don’t miss a minute of Networking Field Day 21; happening October 1-4! Join the conversation and use #NFD21.