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Build IT Together is all about two things: IT and community, and we’re aiming to bring these together under our new monthly blog series, 12 for 12.

By interviewing 12 IT leaders over 12 questions, we’ll get to know each other a little better, and get unique perspectives on the industry. This month, we kick things off with Ryan Russey of Newmind Group based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

What is your official title?

Vice President of Newmind Group, Inc.

What does “IT” mean to you?

For me, IT generally means business-related technology. IT’s job should be to manage a business’ technology and make it function as smoothly as possible for all the employees in that business.

What daily task in your job do you find most fulfilling?

I like solving problems, and I always have. Simple as that.

You can choose one common IT problem that you can instantly solve with the snap of your fingers, every time. What problem would that be?

Probably network access and speed. Whether it’s wireless, or not, just ubiquitous access across all devices—it just connects and works.

If you could instill one habit in every one of your clients and colleagues, what would that be?

It would probably be to schedule time specifically for thinking and reflecting once every day. Like to set aside just 30 minutes, in the morning or somewhere else in your routine, and use that time to just plan for the day and reflect before getting started.

What’s one step that you never miss when taking on a large project?

Probably what I answered for #4. The key for me is always reflection—I have a lot of time built in to my day, whether it’s the drive in to work, or yoga in the morning, when my brain is just engaged in thinking about a project I’m working on or a problem I’m trying to solve, and I have a bunch of things built into my day where I’m giving myself the opportunity to think about it, wrestle with it, and hopefully, solve it. All without just sitting in front of my computer, staring at a screen.

What has been your most memorable support issue in IT?

Helping an executive figure out a way to print all of his emails. All of them. And what’s important to note is the year that this request was made—this wasn’t in the 90s, this was in 2012. It was a coaching opportunity, we’ll put it that way.

7. Can you tell us more about your background, or a passion you have outside of IT/technology?

Remodeling and home improvement, and working on antique vehicles—motorcycles and trucks. I’m also a musician, and I enjoy creating music with friends. I play bass guitar primarily, and enjoy a bunch of styles of music. Most recently I was in a loud, punk and hardcore influenced band.

What was your favorite 1990s (or fading) piece of technology?

I wore the heck out of some cassette walkmans back in the day—even the ruggedized ones with rubber bumpers and whatnot. I went through probably a dozen of those in their time.

What is the Medieval equivalent of an IT professional?

Well we almost can’t function without technology today, but it’s not essential to living—eating, breathing, roof over our head… So the equivalent, I guess, would be something like a blacksmith. You need one for almost everything you’d like to do, but they’re not essential to basic, day-to-day life.

If you could have lunch with any technologist that’s ever lived who would it be?

Christopher Walken. Not technology-related, but that’s who I’d have lunch with.

If you could make one piece of SciFi or futuristic piece of technology a reality, what would it be?

Teleportation, because I hate to travel. If I could just teleport everywhere, that would be a huge win for me. That’s a close tie with flying cars, because I think road maintenance is ridiculous in this day and age—we should at least be hovering a few inches above the ground. You don’t have to necessarily fly, but at least hovering, to alleviate the worry over potholes and salting the road. It baffles me as to why we don’t drive hovercars today. That would solve a ton of issues—road maintenance—just let all the concrete and asphalt deteriorate and return to dirt and green space.
For more IT stories check back with Build IT Together again, or subscribe to the Build IT Together newsletter! And be sure to check back next month for our next 12 for 12 IT leader.