Technician Spotlight: Aleksandr “Alex” Malin, Intelligrated

Modern talks to a regional manager of lifecycle support services about encouraging young people to consider a career as a technician.

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Aleksandr “Alex” Malin
Regional manager, lifecycle support services
Location: California
Duties: Manage a team of technicians, support equipment

Modern: How did you get into this field, and what do you like about it?
I started as a field service technician and worked my way to field service supervisor and now regional manager for lifecycle support services. I still spend lots of time in the field and my favorite thing is the people. I meet so many very good people, and I find the job is a unique blend of technical and people skills.

Modern: What would you say to young people considering a career as a technician?
It’s a very rewarding environment and any future technician should know this is one of the best places to start. I recommend even software engineers spend three years in the field before they get into the office environment. You see students heading straight to the cubicle, but in a modern environment, graduates should be looking at field experience before that. A number of field engineers have moved to the design side, and it will prove especially useful if you want to advance to management.

Modern: What are the most important skills for a successful technician?
There are some key fundamentals. Number one is customer skills, which is easily the most important thing. Next is the capacity for teamwork, and then the technical skills. Ten years ago, technical skills were considered more important. It used to be hard to find a programmer, now it’s hard not to find one. But today’s environment is extremely competitive and emphasizes customer skills. Technical knowledge can be learned, but people skills are often innate.

Modern: How do you keep up with new technologies?
This job requires the continuous sharpening of skills and ongoing training. At this time, we’re looking for technicians with an associate’s degree, and since technology doesn’t stay in the same place I send my team to training four to six times a year for about a week at a time. We treat that training the same as any job assignment, whether the technician is new or a 30-year veteran—and my team has both.

Modern: What technologies have helped you become more effective?
Remote monitoring is one of the most important tools in the modern environment. I can see what’s going on across the country, coordinate responses and team members, and work together with the help desk to relay information and troubleshoot over the phone. We’re moving more and more toward remote support, as the technology permits. Being able to connect and modify a program as needed helps on both sides, since my team can react quickly without necessarily traveling to the location and the customer can preserve uptime. Also, when a technician needs support in the field, he has access to the same resources. Joe can call Bill, Bill can connect to the system, and two or three people might talk to each other to find the solution. What would have been a 10-minute fix can now be handled in one.

About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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