When I started working as the Community Manager at Experts Exchange my goal was to meet some of the admins and volunteers that give their time and expertise to the site. The volunteers suggested that I try answering some questions on the site to walk in their shoes.
Having worked at VMware previously, I set up a search to see what was being asked in the VMware and Virtualization topics. This is where I discovered Andrew Hancock. Andy was nominated as an MVE (Most Valuable Expert) in 2013, has won several Expert Awards, and has been Expert of the Year for the last three years. I contacted him to set up a Skype meeting, below is what I learned.
His Back Story
Andy is currently the sole owner of a top tier IT consulting company in the UK. He works with a great team of consultants, whom he admires and “has complete faith in.” With core technical strengths in VMware technologies, storage and networking, his company has emerged as a leading global virtualization solutions consulting firm.
Prior to that, Andy worked in the defense industry in the late 90’s. He worked on large scale deployments as part of a defense company’s IT department for the UK Government. Before that he worked in technical support for a small private software company in the Commercial and Leisure Maritime Markets, which is where his appreciation for helping others stems from. Later, in 1999 he started his own consulting company, Cyrus. Over the years his business has grown and gained enterprise accounts in both Europe and overseas.
Around 2004, he started to do some soul searching. He was successful in business and was looking for ways to give back, so he began to look into organizations that struggled with IT because of budget constraints or lack of building infrastructure skills. He began to focus on skills based volunteering for educational institutions, work that he continues through this day.
His desire to give back is a huge reason why he is so active on Experts Exchange. He feels very lucky to have gained such vast experience with innovative technologies in his professional tenure, in particular VMware.
His Experts Exchange Story
Andy tried out the site in 2003 and didn’t find the solution he was looking for, so he walked away. Until another expert, his friend Richard Quadling, contacted him saying “Experts Exchange is missing your talents.” Richard was referring to his strong VMware and virtualization skills. Andy still wasn’t interested in being an expert but challenged Richard with a statement, “If there is a VMware topic area then I’d be interested.” Then, in late 2010 Richard informed him that a VMware topic area had been created, so he came back and eagerly began helping other members.
The more he interacted with Experts Exchange members and helped solve their issues, the more he began to see his younger self in them. He has walked in their shoes and understands the situations they are in. Lack of training, budget constraints and pressures to cut costs have all affected Andy in his career as well. It is with these shared experiences that he is able to effectively assist others in finding solutions to their technology problems.
What Drives Him
Andy absolutely loves going to work every day, when we met via Skype, he was speaking to me on a lunch break from a small data center at a local university where his most recent project was.
As an expert on Experts Exchange, he doesn’t mind the big challenges and enjoys working on major problems with members. He’s even built an article repository of best practices and guides to help him quickly assist others. He admitted that his biggest weakness is that he doesn’t have enough hours in the day.
He does find time to keep bees on the side as a self-taught bee keeper. This side activity helps him create balance and escape the world of IT.
I enjoyed speaking to Andy and I admire his passion for all he does. Stay tuned for other spotlights on our expert volunteers.