My name is Michael Koetsier. There are actually 7 people who are part of Arctic Windmill project, but none of them wanted to share their stories, so I'll share mine.
If you Google my name, I'll probably come up associated with the University of California, Irvine where I worked for over 25 years as an IT director. It may not seem like glamorous work, but I managed IT for an athletic department - having a dedicated IT team for a college athletics department was unheard of in this industry and we were trend setters in many ways. We were at the bleeding edge of several initiatives that other major campuses later copied. This certainly wasn't easy, but I found out I had a unique set of technical and leadership skills that made seemingly impossible things possible.
Unfortunately the university's administration wanted to go into a different direction and decided to consolidate all IT. As often happens with consolidations, jobs also become consolidated, automation eliminates others, and eventually the entire team is at risk of being consolidated away from the original objective of supporting the athletic department. Eventually, all that made the unit competitive, unique, and successful was also consolidated away. This taught me something important: consolidation and the consequent commoditization of services stifles innovation, originality, and ultimately growth. It also had that effect on me, so rather than to stay, I decided to move on. Sometimes we cannot save an entire sinking ship on one's own, that is the time to jump on that life-boat so as to live to build a new ship.
That is when I partnered up with some amazing people to form the Colégas Group, an SAAS company with some amazing IT talent behind it, not to mention the charismatic CEO, Dr. Marie Nubia-Feliciano. Being an internet startup, the Colégas Group was just the place for me to continue innovating and evolving my craft. Over the years, I've discovered that one of greatest talent lies in finding new ways to do things where others see only roadblocks. There are no roadblocks on the path to success, only sharp turns - the trick is to know when to turn the wheel.
Seeing turns instead of roadblocks is a state of mind. This state of mind is something I learned from my father, Albert Koetsier, a successful engineer, world-famous artist, historian, and lecturer. Over the years he also encountered many turns, but it never stopped him, he always seemed to find a way forward. The one thing that I admire most about my father is his positive outlook on everything - he never criticized anyone professionally, and is able to talk to anyone, no matter how disagreeable. My father never measured his IQ, but I have to believe he is one of the most intelligent people alive today. If there is one thing that I could criticize him for was that the rest of the family wasn't always ready to follow him to the ends of the earth and he doesn't always see this, but perhaps this is the push that we needed as a family.
My mother was the one who was always grounded in the here & now. She taught me to stand up straight, drive s stick shift, get a job, and understand that everything isn't always academic. She also reads a dozen books a week, if not more. She knows a lot more than most folks give her credit for, and if she was a contestant on Jeopardy, she would even give IBM Watson a run for the money. But most importantly, my mother is the one who brings harmony to our home. The most important lesson I learned from her, and I have to admit it is a lesson that I still struggle to apply, is that it isn't always important to be right, if the alternative is to just get along.
So why the long discussion about my parents? Because they are an integral part of who I am. I bring the lessons they taught me to everything I do. I believe that in the professional world we often forget to consider the importance of where we came from and how our families shaped who we are today. That is a pity and frankly, misguided. Sure everyone says positive things about their parent, but if you met my father, you would probably concur that he is gifted this way, and if you met my mother you would invite her over for dinner. They are just those kinds of people and what they taught me is what I bring to the table in what I did at UC Irvine, and now bring with me to the Colégas Group.
This is also what I bring to the table here at Arctic Windmill. We are the sum of our skills, our experiences, and our backgrounds. It shapes who we are and what we do from here on out. By the way, if you want to know what we do, you can check that out here.
Now if I can only convince the rest of the team to post their stories...