What Does it Take to be a Winning IT Team?

The IT Heroes of 2021

Each year, leading up to System Administrator Appreciation Day, Lansweeper celebrates the work of system administrators around the world. We make it a point to celebrate these IT heroes who exhibit agility and ingenuity, especially in times of crisis, to keep their organizations operational. We are proud to present the 3 winners for SysAdmin Day Awards 2021.

Why Did They Win?

La Macchia Group's IT specialists - known as Team LGIT - took on a range of responsibilities to keep the company running during the pandemic. The tasks included supporting colleagues working from home, cleaning office equipment, introducing thermal scanners and assisting HR with contact tracing. And to prepare for the whole company returning to the building, the team updated offices and conference rooms.

On top of that, in the middle of the pandemic, they managed to complete an SOC 2 security audit. Lansweeper - which they had just began using - facilitated this critical task.

What Do They Think About Their Win?

"I was just shocked, totally surprised," admits Matt Huffman, describing his reaction to the news that Team LGIT had won. As the Information Technology Manager at La Macchia Group, he nominated the team, but without much hope of actually winning.

"If I'm being honest," he says, "we were up against much larger facilities, including hospitals that did so much to help during the pandemic. It made sense for people to vote for them. So, to be selected by peers, family, friends and the rest of the Internet shows that our work meant something to others."

What Does it Mean to Them?

For Team LGIT, this recognition isn't trivial. "We know that IT facilities incur costs. And in our company's industry it's not billable to clients. We're not the ones doing the actual work for customers. I can try to explain all I want about the importance of what we do. But when the appreciation comes from outside these four walls, it really sinks in."

And what does this experience mean for Matt himself? "I really appreciate this award," he says. "It's great to be nominated and then to win. It makes me want to keep getting better in my work and moving forward."

"I can try to explain all I want about the importance of what we do. But when the appreciation comes from outside these four walls, it really sinks in."

Matt Huffman, Information Technology Manager at La Macchia Group.

Donation of $1,500 to Help Wild and Stray Animals

The winning IT heroes receive a Lansweeper SWAG Pack with goodies, a free Fing Desktop Premium one-year subscription, and a unique 3D-printed trophy made from sustainable materials.

They also receive a charity donation of $1,500 given in their name. Team LGIT chose to offer their donation to the Wisconsin Humane Society Milwaukee Campus. Founded in 1879, the Wisconsin Humane Society is committed to providing protection, shelter, and care for wild and homeless animals. Funded entirely by donations, it operates several animal shelters across the state and annually serves 40,000 animals.

Why this particular charity? Matt explains: "We're pet lovers all. We're also owners of rescued animals past and present, and would love to give back. I've got two rescue cats. My co-workers have rescued animals too. During this year of working from home our pets have been especially important. People across our company love animals. At the annual company picnic our pet dogs are welcome!"

Why Did They Win?

Promoted to manage one of Orbia's main data centers, Erik Villalobos demonstrated winning qualities by quickly succeeding at consolidating the operational team. Other achievements included legacy upgrades and mitigating important vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, Marcin Twardowksi - not your everyday IT professional - showed heroic levels of experience and professionalism. In every project he exceeded expectations, streamlined things and met deadlines, despite juggling other projects.

The two winners are big fans of Lansweeper and are exploiting its versatility to make it an official workplace services tool, while also integrating it with other systems.

What Do They Think About Their Win?

What did the heroes think of their win? "It was quite surprising to be honest," Marcin answers. "The team tends to focus on the day-to-day. It was very nice to know that we were appreciated by Cesar Diaz, the security team colleague who nominated us. It also felt really good that the broader team knew about this and helped with voting. We've received a lot of congratulations."

How does a win like this affect the team? "Orbia is a global company active in 41 countries," says Erik. "This recognition helps to build relationships. It shows that we can cooperate across the world. The whole team was involved to help us to get votes. It's very motivating."

This is especially important now, as Orbia undergoes a transformation. "Different companies recently joined us and we're in the process of integrating the IT technologies," says Marcin. "Lansweeper is a good example," says Erik. "It's used in many places and we've found seven different installations. We're happy to integrate them as one of the key tools to improve cyber security. It gives additional speed to our integration."

"This recognition helps to build relationships. It shows that we can cooperate across the world."

Erik Villalobos, Sysadmin at Orbia

A focus on wellbeing

The winning IT heroes receive a Lansweeper SWAG Pack with goodies, a free Fing Desktop Premium one-year subscription, and a unique 3D-printed trophy made from sustainable materials.

They also receive a charity donation of $1,500 given in their name. The Orbia winners chose to offer their donation to The Global Impact Latin America and the Caribbean Fund. It helps to provide increased access to healthcare and education, job training, women's and youth empowerment, economic development, and a host of other services to those in need throughout the region.

Why this particular charity? Marcin explains: "Orbia has a lot of business activities located in Latin America. Some of the countries in the region are fighting against the really high impact of the pandemic on the everyday life of their citizens. We found it proper to suggest this organization. It supports a new Orbia strategy that focuses on the wellbeing of people in general, not only Orbia employees."

"Orbia has a lot of business activities located in Latin America. Some of the countries in the region are fighting against the really high impact of the pandemic on the everyday life of their citizens. We found it proper to suggest this organization."

Marcin Twardowski, Sysadmin at Orbia.

Why Did They Win?

Covid-19 was a game-changer for Kern Medical. Located in Bakersfield, California, the facility suddenly needed to reach people in underserved communities who were hesitant or unable to seek vaccination. 

The Kern Medical IT Team rapidly implemented a mobile solution allowing medical staff to take vaccination into the community. Lansweeper played a small but important role: helping the team keep track of the numerous iPads, laptops, printers and medical devices out in the field. Thanks to the IT Team, the clinicians could work faster and more efficiently - ultimately saving more lives.  

What Do They Think About Their Win?

"It was very humbling to be nominated in the first place," says Craig Witmer, Chief Technology Officer at Kern Medical. "To be chosen as a winner has been very exciting for the team, around 50 people. It's very nice to be recognized." Not just from colleagues at Kern Medical, he adds, but also from the wider IT community.

What Does it Mean to Them?

"IT sometimes flies under the radar," Craig explains. "Folks especially in infrastructure and support services are behind the scenes by design in the job role. We're tasked with proactively making sure things run smoothly, keeping the lights on. Unless there's a problem, the majority of the time we mostly go unnoticed by end users - clinicians in our case. So, it's been extremely gratifying to get this recognition."

"The majority of the time we mostly go unnoticed by end users - clinicians in our case. So, it's been extremely gratifying to get this recognition."

Craig Witmer, Chief Technology Officer at Kern Medical.

Close to the heart

The winning IT heroes receive a Lansweeper SWAG Pack with goodies, a free Fing Desktop Premium one-year subscription, and a unique 3D-printed trophy made from sustainable materials.

They also receive a charity donation of $1,500 given in their name. The Kern Medical IT Team chose to offer their donation to the Kern Medical Foundation to support underserved communities. This includes homeless, uninsured and undocumented people. The Foundation secures funds and resources for patient services, facilities, equipment and research. "We wanted to select a charity close to our heart. By raising funds for programs that address the needs of the underserved in our area, the Kern Medical Foundation is definitely aligned with what we're doing." said Craig Witmer.

Learn more about our SysAdmin Day Award Contest. Thanks to everybody involved for participating and voting. See you next year!

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