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Each month we recognize one of our Most Helpful Humans in Hosting®.
Meet Jeff Goudie
After studying Mechanical Engineering at Lawrence Technological University, Jeff Goudie earned a Computer Science degree at Eastern Michigan University. He began his career as a mainframe operator, unaware that the tiny IBM XT personal computers he was installing would take off and revolutionize the way we live. Once those little PCs became the way of life, Goudie was hired by Lockheed Martin and contracted at Ford for IT Support. Eventually, he was hired directly at Chrysler to support their lab equipment, computers, and dynamometers, a tech journey that led him to Liquid Web.
Now, Jeff is a Linux Support Mentor, helping to train and empower teams across Liquid Web on new technologies and processes.
Why did you join Liquid Web?
In 2008, when the Big Three (General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford Motor Company) went through their financial woes, they started offering buyouts to employees, which I accepted. Unfortunately, everybody in Southeast Michigan was looking for a job at the time. I had picked up Linux skills from supporting the engine dynamometers at Chrysler. Thankfully, a family member suggested Liquid Web might be a good fit for my skills.
I interviewed for an opening in Linux Support, which went extremely well. My first days were exciting as I acclimated to helping our customers over the phone and chat. I was pleasantly surprised to find how wonderful our customers are to work alongside and support.
What draws you to the Hosting Industry as a career?
To be completely honest, I didn't know much about the Web Hosting Industry until I joined Liquid Web. The more time I spent in Linux Support, the more I realized that customers I worked with didn't know what went on behind the scenes with services such as MySQL or Apache. However, I found that if I conveyed this information to them in conversation, they were appreciative and happy to better understand how the technology works.
In the long run, educating customers on technology empowers them to solve issues more quickly and keep their servers running smoothly, with our techs ready to step in when needed.
Is there something specific at Liquid Web that you just love?
Having dogs in the office might be my favorite part of the Liquid Web atmosphere. One of my goals in life is to pet all of the dogs, so having canine friends around during the workday certainly helps me achieve my goal.
What's your favorite part about the company culture at Liquid Web?
Out of all of the gatherings we have as a company, the Christmas Party is my favorite. It's nice to meet and talk outside of work while bonding over good food. It never feels like there are different departments or management levels at our events. It's just a good group of people with shared goals getting together and having fun.
Even in our remote work culture of today, we still know how to have fun during virtual events such as Hangout Roulette, Euchre tournaments, and virtual runs. The frequent company-wide gatherings are a fantastic way to meet new people and reconnect with colleagues.
In your eyes, what's the difference between Liquid Web and other employers?
Liquid Web truly has an “open door” policy between employees, management, and leadership teams. This availability and communication between departments is what sets Liquid Web apart from other employers, which usually require communication through the proper channels.
Knowing that my voice can be heard around new ideas for our customers and processes at Liquid Web is quite empowering, and very effective for ensuring our services remain competitive.
What is the biggest milestone you've accomplished?
Receiving my 10 Year Anniversary flag was a significant milestone for me. At the time, I thought back to how much the Web Hosting Industry had changed, and how Liquid Web has changed with it. When I started, customers used PIMS as their Liquid Web interface, and then we got fancy and offered Manage.
Now, our new My Liquid Web customer portal boasts a mobile-first design, easy navigation, and open tickets front-and-center, helping customers get their work done faster than ever. It is this customer-first approach that keeps me passionate about my work at Liquid Web.
What are you known for at Liquid Web? What do people specifically come to you for?
There are many qualified people at Liquid Web, but if someone comes to me, it’s usually with database questions.
Out of everything I learned in Training at Liquid Web, I feel the most comfortable with MySQL, and interfacing it with PHP was one of my first personal career goals. Some people's career goals are focused on developing cures for diseases or building rocket ships. Mine was exporting recipes out of Open Office Base into MySQL with a PHP website.
What is one thing you wish our customers knew about their hosting?
I wish customers better understood the ever-present danger of security issues due to unsecured servers, outdated software, and unpatched operating systems. Diligence should start before you are hacked, not as a result.
Control panels like cPanel, InterWorx, and Plesk provide many mechanisms to help secure sites with accounts to manage. However, many customers desire to place hundreds of client sites all under one account for easy management. I always caution against this practice, because it can allow nefarious and licentious processes to wreak havoc on multiple sites within one account.
The best solution is almost always the one with the customers’ best interests in mind.
Work aside, what are some of your hobbies?
I like going to the range with my Dad and punching holes in paper targets. Also, I bought a Dodge Magnum in 2004, and I enjoy working on it.
If you could have dinner with one famous person [dead or alive] who would it be?
I would love to have dinner with William Wallace. Scotland's history interested me long before Braveheart came out, especially with many everyday folks like William Wallace aligning with several nobles against a greater evil.
We know so little about his life before the fight for independence began. Did he have prior military training? Were the numbers of the English army truly as high as history says at Stirling Bridge? Was his spirit crushed at the Battle of Falkirk? Did Robert the Bruce only participate in the revolt to press his family's claim to the throne?
I'd love to be able to ask these questions over dinner to find out!
We hope you enjoyed our series, and stay tuned for the next Most Helpful Human in Hosting® profile.
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