At Remote Learner, our greatest strength is our staff. We have a diverse group of employees around the United States and Canada, individuals with the unique backgrounds and skills needed to meet the challenges faced by our clients. This year, we’ve been profiling some of the staff members that make the Remote Learner team strong. This week we talked to Kyle Armstrong, Senior Manager of Client Support.
Name: Kyle Armstrong
Position: Senior Manager of Client Support
Home: Olathe, Kansas
Brief: Kyle Armstrong is Remote Learner’s Senior Manager of Client Support. Kyle enjoys spending time with his wife and young daughter as well as following the Boston Red Sox.
Q: Thanks for talking with us today, Kyle. Tell us a little more about yourself.
A: I’m originally from Paola, Kansas, a small town about an hour away from Kansas City, Missouri. My parents still live there. I moved to Olathe after college because I felt like there was more job opportunities near the city and I wanted to be closer to downtown as well. My wife, Erica, and I like to spend all of our free time with our daughter, Iris, who just turned three. We like to go to the zoo, farmer’s markets, concerts, and other local events. My wife enjoys making lettering art, so we also like to attend museums and art fairs as well. Our family really enjoys following our local favorite sports teams and my favorite since childhood, the Boston Red Sox.
Q: Tell me about how your career path led you to Remote Learner?
A: I earned my Bachelors in Computer Information Systems from Pittsburg State University – that’s Pittsburg, Kansas not Pennsylvania. Pitt State is where I first met Erica who was getting her Bachelor of Education degree. Come to find out, Dakota Duff (another Remote-Learner employee) attended at this time as well in the same field.
After college, I started working for the U.S. Goverment on a project for the Department of the Interior. I worked with a group to archive Native American records in the United States. My job was setting up and running the systems and networks for capturing all those records. I went to these really remote areas and saw amazing historical documents. My favorite was one that had signatures from President Taft. I had a security clearance, which is part of what initially intrigued me about the job, and our office was actually in a cave. You would drive through this cow pasture in the middle of nowhere and all of a sudden there was the cave entrance. After driving about a mile inside, there was an office building where all the records were kept. I felt like Batman driving in there. I was with this project for seven years.
After that project ended, my wife got a job as a special education teacher and it turned out that the other special education teacher she was working with was Dakota Duff’s wife. I hadn’t seen him in close to ten years. I found out through his wife that Dakota’s company, Remote-Learner, was hiring and it went from there.
My story at Remote Learner is unique in that when I first started, every single support case came through me and then I passed it on if I couldn’t solve it. I gained a lot knowledge from that experience. I saw everything and I watched how others solved things that I didn’t know how to fix. I went from that role to being a technician, to being an assistant manager, to managing the support team. I’ve now been here eight years, six months, and ten days.
Q: What’s a Remote Learner day like for you?
A: The one thing I really like is that my days are always different. I don’t know what question I’m going to get asked or what new issue I’m going to have to research. I usually start my day by looking through the case queues to see what’s come in after I last logged off. Then I direct those cases to the appropriate place to be solved as quickly as possible. I also have a lot of conversations with different departments on topics related to support. Support plays a big role in any project, whether its a site migration or a new product release.
We also do upgrades, plugin installs, maintenance, and other projects that have to be done during off-hours so that we don’t disrupt client sites. The support team members each take at least one night a week to do scheduled tasks to make sure we’re meeting our clients needs. We’re also on a rotation where we give 24/7 emergency support.
I’m always keeping an eye on specific projects and the support team as a whole as it relates to things like response time. I try to find areas where we can improve through training, tools, and resources. I really take pride in the improvements we’ve made in our support process. The support we provide now compared to what we provided 8 years ago is unrecognizable. It’s so much better than what we’ve ever provided before and I am excited to see how we can continue to grow in this area.
Q: Based on your experience in support, do you have any tips for clients?
A: The biggest one is to keep your site up to date on the latest version of the software. I know that clients want to keep things stable and running all the time but making time to keep your site up to date will help in the long run. Eventually, all sites have to update and the more up to date you are, the smoother your transition to the next level will be. There’s this misconception that upgrading your site is a cumbersome, negative thing and it really doesn’t have to be if you’re making it a practice to keep your site up to date. Keeping your site up to date also gives you a higher level of security.
Q: What makes you feel good about your work at the end of a day?
A: Every role in the company has an impact on our clients. But support is at the front lines in terms of interacting directly with our clients. That comes with a lot of pressure but it also comes with a lot of praise that feels good. We get to see our impact every day. I don’t think every role in the company has that. It’s like painting a room – when the room is painted, you can look around and see what you’ve accomplished. Our clients had a problem and we fixed it. It’s very tangible.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, Kyle!