Member Spotlight: Rodney Barnhardt

The Hero That Data Needs

When you lose your data and it’s not looking good, who ya gonna call?Barnhardt_03

You might call Rodney Barhnardt (rbarnhardt). His passion for back up recovery and disaster recovery is what propelled him to his most current line of work: document retention and e-discovery, which comes in handy for lawyers who are looking to pull up long-forgotten documents from the past.

Hailing from North Carolina, Rodney’s career has taken him to all different places, from wind farms to great firewalls in China. The great thing about Rodney and many other people who work in technology is that there is no clearly defined career trajectory path. Ultimately, it all starts with a two-stage question: “how does it work, and how do I fix it?” From there, it’s just a matter of finding the next thing that is just waiting to be solved.

No Bachelor’s Degree? No Problem

With an Associate’s Degree in Electronic Engineering, Rodney had always been a natural with hands-on problem-solving. He started out at a place called BancTec Service Corporation working on the large, bus-sized IBM 3800s and 9400s that were used for check processing. He was there for 11 years during which time the company became the national warranty provider for Dell computers. This lead to him earning his A+ Certification, followed by becoming a Dell certified as a field technician and warranty provider. When BancTec split into two divisions, he moved onto the Computer Services side, which is essentially what launched his whole career.

It was around this time that he started to realize the industry was beginning to move towards software automation and away from hardware. Seeing the need to expand his skill set from strictly hardware repair, he secured a job with an outsource servicing company called Advanced Technology services after being laid off by BancTec.

It was here where he got into server and network administration. ATS turned out to be a great place for him to apply his self-teaching initiatives — he began to analyze the accounts network infrastructure and would take on extra work in his off-hours so that he could get more practice working on these unfamiliar technologies.

Eventually he progressed far enough to where he was working with companies who manufactured wind turbines. Inside each turbine is a computer that monitors the speed, rotates the blade, and tracks the voltage output. It was Rodney’s job to get up on these high turbines if there was a problem with any of these computers. Talk about reaching new heights.

Following another layoff, he got hired on as a Systems Manager at a company called LandDesign. Here he worked with desk side and server support services, network infrastructure, firewalls, and cisco switches among others. It was also at LandDesign where he had the opportunity to travel to China prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was in charge of evaluating their network connectivity because of the terrible connectivity between China and the US sites.

He discovered that the network infrastructure in China is not guaranteed to even work unless you pay a certain amount. In an attempt to boost the speed, he installed a juniper firewall that connected to the US DMZ to try and transfer data more efficiently. Ultimately, despite his best efforts, there was no way to guarantee reliable network speed.

Today, Rodney has applied all of this varying areas of expertise into his current position at Charlotte Pipe and Foundry, where his job is centered around storage and server infrastructure. It was here that he first got introduced to creating virtual environments with VMWare. He is currently working on getting his EMC VNX certification.

Finding Value in Experts Exchange

While working for ATS back in 2002, he didn’t have much experience working with Citrix and Terminal Services. After Googling the issues he was having, he found the solution on Experts Exchange. Finding it valuable enough to pay the subscription fee, he got his answer and then let it sit at the back of his mind, using it only to ask questions every now and then.

In 2007, he realized that if he started answering questions he could have his membership for free, so over time he began to answer more questions and wrote a number of articles based around interests. He also created 23 video micro tutorials on data backup and recovery.

He enjoys providing solutions that help other people, and when his answer is accepted by the asker, it’s a rewarding feeling. If there is information he feels the community needs to know about or a problem that was difficult to solve, he’ll create an article for it. Sometimes he’ll also write an article on something he’s passionate about, such as the product Avamar from EMC.

He finds Experts Exchange extremely useful when he encounters Active Directory and Exchange issues. When he needs to migrate to a new version, he’ll reach out to the community for feedback on the changes. He also enjoys the Infrastructure type support that he can find on the site.

Realizing Personal Goals

When he’s not working, he enjoys golfing and other outdoor activities like gardening and going to the beach with his wife. Nearly all of his four children are grown and out of the house, with the youngest on the cusp of their teenage years.

One thing he’d love to do more is travel — he’s looking forward to taking his wife on adventures when they become empty nesters. In the meantime, Rodney has just achieved a huge personal goal. As of March 2015, he has completed and earned his Bachelor of Science degree, proving that even after a busy and rewarding career, there’s still more to learn.

About Experts Exchange

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