All Featured Tech Field Day Events

Meet Field Day Delegate – Dan Kelcher

  1. Meet Field Day Delegate – Chris Arceneaux
  2. Meet Field Day Delegate – David Ball
  3. Meet Field Day Delegate – Alex Neihaus
  4. Meet Field Day Delegate – Denny Cherry
  5. Meet Field Day Delegate – Keith Townsend
  6. Meet Field Day Delegate – Brian Gleason
  7. Meet Field Day Delegate – Adam Post
  8. Meet Field Day Delegate: Nico Stein
  9. Meet Field Day Delegate – Tricia Howard
  10. Meet Field Day Delegate – Evan Mintzer
  11. Meet Field Day Delegate – Stephanie Ihezukwu
  12. Meet Field Day Delegate – Wes Milliron
  13. Meet Field Day Delegate – Shaun Bender
  14. Meet Field Day Delegate – Michael Davis
  15. Meet Field Day Delegate – Matt Callaway
  16. Meet Field Day Delegate – Scott Driver
  17. Meet Field Day Delegate – Dave Benham
  18. Meet Field Day Delegate – Manon (“Mae”) Lessard
  19. Meet Field Day Delegate – Haydn Andrews
  20. Meet Field Day Delegate – Timothy Dennehy
  21. Meet Field Day Delegate – François Vergès
  22. Meet Field Day Delegate – Jennifer (“JJ”) Minella
  23. Meet Field Day Delegate – Wences Michel
  24. Meet Field Day Delegate – Josh Fidel
  25. Meet Field Day Delegate – Chris Williams
  26. Meet Field Day Delegate – Kati Lehmuskoski
  27. Meet Field Day Delegate – A.J. Murray
  28. Meet Field Day Delegate – Josh Warcop
  29. Meet Field Day Delegate – Jeremy Schulman
  30. Meet Field Day Delegate – Micheline Murphy
  31. Meet Field Day Delegate – Scott Morris
  32. Meet Field Day Delegate – Remington Loose
  33. Meet Field Day Delegate – Stefan Fouant
  34. Meet Field Day Delegate – Bart Heungens
  35. Meet Field Day Delegate – Markus Leinonen
  36. Meet Field Day Delegate – Greg Ferro
  37. Meet Field Day Delegate – Gina Rosenthal
  38. Meet Field Day Delegate – Vuong Pham
  39. Meet Field Day Delegate – Ruairi McBride
  40. Meet Field Day Delegate – David Samuel Penaloza Seijas
  41. Meet Field Day Delegate – Faisal Khan
  42. Meet Field Day Delegate – Mary Fasang
  43. Meet Field Day Delegate – Kim Pedersen
  44. Meet Field Day Delegate – Tony Efantis
  45. Meet Field Day Delegate – Robb Boyd
  46. Meet Field Day Delegate – Jason Beshara
  47. Meet Field Day Delegate – Glenda Canfield
  48. Meet Field Day Delegate – Ben Mason
  49. Meet Field Day Delegate – Pieter-Jan Nefkens
  50. Meet Field Day Delegate – Tony Bradley
  51. Meet Field Day Delegate – Jim Jones
  52. Meet Field Day Delegate – Neil Anderson
  53. Meet Field Day Delegate – John Deegan
  54. Meet Field Day Delegate – Andy Thurai
  55. Meet Field Day Delegate – Calvin Hendryx-Parker
  56. Meet Field Day Delegate – Lariana Luy
  57. Meet Field Day Delegate – Kyle Jenner
  58. Meet Field Day Delegate – Dr. Avril Salter
  59. Meet Field Day Delegate – Shala Denise
  60. Meet Field Day Delegate – Jerod Santo
  61. Meet Field Day Delegate – Ben Story
  62. Meet Field Day Delegate – Chris Hildebrandt
  63. Meet Field Day Delegate – Scott Bollinger
  64. Meet Field Day Delegate – Phillip Sellers
  65. Meet Field Day Delegate – Steven Cortez
  66. Meet Field Day Delegate – Jason Collier
  67. Meet Field Day Delegate – Deirra Footman
  68. Meet Field Day Delegate – Jason Gintert
  69. Meet Field Day Delegate – Jamie Phillips
  70. Meet Field Day Delegate – Wolfgang Stief
  71. Meet Field Day Delegate – David Klee
  72. Meet Field Day Delegate – Chris Cummings
  73. Meet Field Day Delegate – Bryton Herdes
  74. Meet Field Day Delegate – Kerstin Stief
  75. Meet Field Day Delegate – Marc Staimer
  76. Meet Field Day Delegate – Demetrios Brinkmann
  77. Meet Field Day Delegate – Dan Jones
  78. Meet Field Day Delegate – Peter Mackenzie
  79. Meet Field Day Delegate – Mike Wade
  80. Meet Field Day Delegate – Rocky Gregory
  81. Meet Field Day Delegate – Landon Foster
  82. Meet Field Day Delegate – Firas Shaari
  83. Meet Field Day Delegate – Girard Kavelines
  84. Meet Field Day Delegate – Betty DuBois
  85. Meet Field Day Delegate – Craig Rodgers
  86. Meet Field Day Delegate – Tim Bertino
  87. Meet Field Day Delegate – Rati Jokhadze
  88. Meet Field Day Delegate – Vince Schuele
  89. Meet Field Day Delegate – Brian Knudtson
  90. Meet Field Day Delegate – Jim Czuprynski
  91. Meet Field Day Delegate – Lexie Cooper
  92. Meet Field Day Delegate – Martin Duggan
  93. Meet Field Day Delegate – Jordan Villarreal
  94. Meet Field Day Delegate – Dan Kelcher
  95. Meet Field Day Delegate – Paul Braren
  96. Meet Field Day Delegate – Chris Hayner
  97. Meet Field Day Delegate – Troy Martin
  98. Meet Field Day Delegate – Falko Banaszak
  99. Meet Field Day Delegate – Chris Reed
  100. Meet Field Day Delegate – Jay Stewart
  101. Meet Field Day Delegate – Charles Uneze
  102. Meet Field Day Delegate – Eric Stewart

Last week we welcomed a new delegate at Networking Field Day 28: Dan Kelcher! Dan is a  Enterprise Network and Cybersecurity Solution Architect. You can see more of Dan on his Twitter or on the Tech Field Day Website. Dan took some time to tell us a little more about himself – here is what he had to say!

How did you get into Technology and IT?

In the year 2000 <insert Conan meme> I was working at a hospital, and a coworker told me he was building a PC. With jaw agape I stared at this marvel of a man, master of technology. I had no idea that a lowly human was capable of such feats of wizardry. I started reading the ancient tomes. I learned about CPUs, AGP video cards, and DIP switches. I saved money (quite the challenge for a high-school kid).
Eventually, I bought the parts to build my first PC. I put it together, and fired it up… or well, tried to. It did not fire up. It did nothing. Luckily I was now an expert in all things PC, so I knew the problem was the PSU. I replaced it. I fired it up again for the first time, and by that I mean I tried again and failed. It must be the CPU!! A new CPU will fix it, so I bought one. Installed one. And miraculously, I failed a third time. Odd. Well, there’s nothing else it could be except the motherboard, right? I bought a new motherboard. I rebuilt the system with the new motherboard. Somehow this time I managed to fail for the fourth time. It was then that I realized the mistake I had made. The second power supply must have also been faulty. Darn the luck. I’ll get one more, and that will solve it. Only it didn’t.
This process continued until I had 2-3 versions of every component. I decided to lay them out on a table, and I was going to test out every possible combination until something worked. I had to have a working set in there somehow. In the spirit of efficiency I also decided I would save some time using a new trick I read about – short the pins on the motherboard for the power switch instead of putting everything into the case. This way I could quickly cycle out parts.
I put together combination #1, and fired it up. And it fired up. Wait, what??? IT’S ALLLIIIIIIIIIIVVVVEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!! No way! Finally, my luck had taken a turn! I shut it down, loaded my newly working build into the case, moved it to my desk and fired it up. But… it did not fire up. Uh…. That’s not how this was supposed to go. I decided I’d try shorting the pins again to see what happened, and it started up. After months of working, hundreds of dollars on parts I came to a realization. The case power button was bad.
At that moment I knew IT was the field for me. Never in my life had I put so much effort into something. Never had I faced so many failures and still kept coming back. Within months I was enrolled in an IT program to get my AAS degree.

What do you do now? Tell us a little about your current role.

I’m an Enterprise Network and Cybersecurity Solution Architect. I take the specifications from the customers and bring them to the engineers. I also work with customers to understand what those specifications should be. I try to understand what their problems and needs are, and how we can best solve their problems and meet their needs.

What are your biggest challenges?

Time/knowledge. In the IT world there’s a massive amount to know. There’s the different domains of network, security, wireless, storage, compute, virtualization, etc. Then each domain has vendors – Cisco, Juniper, Arista, Aruba, etc. Then there’s the different technologies – VXLAN, BGP, SNMP, etc. There’s products and licensing from each vendor that has different implications on the technologies supported… The list goes on, and on, and on. To make things even more challenging, all of that is constantly changing. There are new vendors, products, services, etc. Licensing models change.

It’s impossible to stay 100% current on all things IT. I’m always working to learn and stay current, and that will be a challenge for the rest of my career.

Where do you see IT going in the next 3-5 years?

There’s a few of today’s buzzwords that I see becoming mainstays in the future – automation, FSO, and hybrid cloud.
Automation is huge right now. Every vendor, every platform is working to add/improve APIs. The benefits of automation are near limitless. Automate the repetitive tasks and empower people to work on bigger, cooler stuff.
Another key area is Full-Stack Observability. Monitoring is now an ancient concept. Siloed information is not good enough. An IT team, and a business need to be able to understand how something like a failed link, or overloaded server can impact an application. More importantly, they need to understand how that impacts operations. Does it impact user experience? Does it impact revenue? Being able to see that data immediately is going to become more and more important.
Finally, hybrid cloud. For a while everyone wanted to send everything to the cloud. Then they found out that some applications don’t actually benefit from being in a cloud, or may even be worse off. I expect there will be a better understanding of when a cloud solution is best, but also when using on-prem datacenters or edge compute will be a better solution. Our tooling will improve to allow more seamless moves between edge, datacenter, and cloud deployments.

What was your first computer? What was great about it? What is your go-to computer now?

My first computer was an Compaq. No idea what the model or specs were. I was young, and it played Red Alert. That was enough for me.

Today, I use a machine I built a few years ago. I run large virtual labs (CML, GNS3, VMware, etc.) which meant I needed a huge amount of RAM. At the time, the only desktop CPU that could go above 128GB were the AMD Threadrippers. Which means I have a 24-core Threadripper and 256GB RAM. I also have 7TB of storage across three NVMe drives. It’s a beast of a machine and I can run pretty much any lab I can dream up.

How do you manage your work/life balance?

Working remotely has definitely improved the balance for me. Now I’m not spending hours stuck in my car each day. I’m also able to help out with shuttling kids to and from events mid-day. With the flexibility in my schedule it doesn’t bother me as much when I need to work late.

One other tip that I can give – Turn off push notifications on your phone. When you are not on the clock only check email when you want to. Don’t interrupt dinner because someone else decided to work late.

If you weren’t working in IT, what would you be doing instead?

Probably some other form of engineering or architecture. I enjoy tinkering, designing, and figuring things out.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?

Spare time… heh. That’s funny. I like to throw large chunks of meat on a smoker. I have a drum set that collects dust. I used to play video games. Now life is mostly work, family, and the occasional book, movie or show when I can find the time.

What were you most excited about seeing at the event?

Nothing specifically. I was excited to generally see what different vendors were doing with automation and monitoring/observability. I think every presentation at NFD28 touches at least one of them if not both.

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

Probably not the answer that would be expected, but my home office. I’m working on putting in a standing desk, LED channels, green screen, etc. With remote work being my new normal I decided it was time to upgrade the home office.

Who inspires you?

IT authors, bloggers, teachers, training content creators, etc. I wouldn’t have made it where I am in my career if it weren’t for the dozens of people that shared what they’d learned. I’ve resolved countless issues because someone else posted a solution in a blog or forum. Those people are the unsung heroes of the IT field.

As a child, what did you want to do when you “grew up”?

Astronaut, NFL player, construction worker, cop, robber, musician, monster truck driver, actor. I was all over the place.

What super hero movie character would you like to be and why?

Anyone that can control time or time travel. Dr. Strange, Thanos, Cable, Bishop, etc.

What is your favorite thing about what you do?

There’s two things, and they go hand-in-hand. The first is learning new things. In this field there’s always something new to learn. The second is teaching. What good is knowing a bunch of stuff if I’m not helping other people build their skills?

If you won the lottery and could retire, what would you do with your time?

Get a CCIE. Learn to play the drums. Cook. Start a non-profit focused on getting people into IT without the debt or headache from traditional methods.

Thanks for sharing, Dan! You can see Dan as a delegate in the videos from Networking Field Day 28!

About the author

Andrew Blackburn

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