Emily Russell NOC The following “Get to Know Your NOC” is the eighth in a series highlighting our employees, their contributions and their interests outside of work.

The Highwinds support team is here to take your calls 24x7x365. As such, we hope to get to know you on a first name basis.

So meet Emily, Highwinds’ NOC (Network Operations Center) Supervisor.
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Greetings Emily, we appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today. Can you tell us a little bit about your personal and professional background?

Emily: I have a somewhat unexpected background for someone who works in technology. I have a degree in Technical Theatre, and have spent quite a bit of time in the entertainment industry. I’ve opened performing arts centers, debuted grand operas, and been a senior-level administrator of arts organizations.
Emily Russell
However, I’ve always loved technology. I put myself through college working for the school’s Information Technology department and found that while I love facilitating great art, I also love the logical nature of working with technology. I specifically love bringing the two together whenever possible. Art and technology can pair together in ways you’d never imagine, and it’s fun to let the two worlds collide now and then.

I also find that it hones my customer-service skills to put myself in the position of our customers from time to time. Prior to Highwinds, I have almost exclusively been in positions that provide support directly to the end-user, and I love helping customers resolve their issues. There’s something about facilitating a customer’s success that is very fulfilling for me.

When did you start working at Highwinds and what attracted you to the company?

Emily: In yet another unexpected twist, this is actually the second time I’ve worked at Highwinds! In 2011, I worked in the NOC as a Tier II CDN and network support technician. I stayed for about a year, and then I went to work for a professional theatre in town.

I missed the troubleshooting (and the schedule!) so much that I decided to come back about a month ago. I’m thrilled to join the team again as the NOC Supervisor. I think I really have the best of both worlds. I get to support our customers again, and I also get to facilitate the success of our support staff in the NOC, a position I am not only very familiar with, but also am passionate about.

Well, welcome back! Can you share a specific challenge or two that you’ve handled in your roles at Highwinds?
Emily and T Rex

Emily: I used to work the weekend shifts in my earlier days at Highwinds, and I really enjoyed the challenge and independence that came with it. You often worked with less support personnel, and inherently had more independence on those shifts.

Customers would come to us with issues or questions regarding their live stream, and they’d often have 15 minutes until it had to be ready for public consumption. We’d have very little time to set things up, and we’d work furiously to make sure the customer had a successful event — helping them set up their streams, proactively identifying potential road blocks and working around them.

I also enjoyed helping customers identify issues, and resolving them quickly. It was an excitingly collaborative process, and I always took a great amount of pride in seeing the customer go live on time, and with everything working exactly as they wanted.

Tell us about some hobbies that you enjoy. Also, how about letting us in on something that nobody (or most nobody) knows about you?

Emily: When I’m not here, you’ll often find me organizing a local arts event in some form or fashion, and I’m probably trying to find a way to bring new technology to live events. When I’m not out and about with the local arts organizations, my husband and I are probably looking for a new and exciting date night, or spending a day in a pool somewhere. (We are Floridians, through and through.)

Now, if you’re looking for juicy gossip, here’s a fun fact about me: I have a deep appreciation for flip-flops. Some might even call it an obsession!

Flip-flops? Now there’s a first for our NOC series! Moving on, can you share some trends you’re seeing with the companies you work with? Can you share some insights?
Emily and Tim

Emily: It’s been interesting to watch our customers realize that there are so many paths to a single point with delivery these days. I have an interesting perspective, given that I’ve been somewhat removed from the industry for a few years — a lot has changed!

Between the rise of dynamic ad content that can be updated constantly and delivered instantly, streaming media being readily available both live and cached, games being updated regularly with new features or patches, or adaptive bitrate streaming that allows consumers of widely varying connection qualities and devices to access multiple versions of the same piece of content on-demand; our customers are finding so many new ways to reach and interact with their viewers.

The demand for quality content has never been greater, and now, customers are realizing that the potential ways to meet that demand are only as limited as their imagination.

Obviously you liked Highwinds a lot as you’re back for a second time, but tell us, what do you like best about working here?

Emily: Highwinds has always held a special place in my heart. (Obviously — I came back!) We’re a diverse group of people with such varied interests, workflows, geographic locations … even languages!

We’re also always looking to the future and constantly re-evaluating how to provide the best product to our customers. We have a brilliant and highly-collaborative team that I respect and admire, and it’s clear that everyone is here because they want to be. That’s worth its weight in gold, if you ask me!

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Thanks so much for your time, Emily. Highwinds customers can count on Emily and the rest of our talented support staff to troubleshoot issues and provide helpful tips to improve their content workflow.

We never outsource support, and a highly-trained, professional support rep with full account access will answer your initial call every time.

Related Links

To reach the support team, click here. If you’re looking for technical support and documentation about Highwinds, we encourage you to visit the Highwinds Customer Support Portal.

Interested in working at Highwinds? Check out our current list of open jobs. We update it often so please check back regularly. We’d love to have you join our team!