Thanks for tuning into Beyond the Data! This month, we’re featuring Principal Solutions Architect, Frank Rischner.
Fun Fact: Frank is the second employee hired by phData. Having been here since the beginning, Frank has a very unique perspective on the company and a long track record of helping customers solve complex problems. He’s also from Germany! Get to know Frank more personally in this blog.
Tell us your name, where you’re from, and a little about you.
My name is Frank Rischner and I currently live in Eagan, MN with my wife and our son. I am originally from Germany. I initially came to the United States for graduate school but ended up staying long after graduation. In fact, I’ve been living in Minnesota for almost 10 years now. I have to admit that even after spending a decade here, winters are still not my favorite.
What does "Principal Solutions Architect” mean? What do you actually do on any given day?
As a Principal Solutions Architect, I work on our customer’s problems. A big part of that job is staying on top of the newest technology trends. Having a job in the Data industry requires lifelong learning, which is something I really enjoy doing on a daily basis. Besides client work, I manage a team of Solutions Architects and Data Engineers. I am also involved in the pre-sales process by either scoping new projects or reviewing the scope.
Tell us about the Data Engineering team. What is it like working with them every day? What can you tell us about your team that we don’t know?
We are hired to solve really tough problems, which makes the work enjoyable and interesting. It amazes me how committed our team is to customer success. I truly believe it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with the smartest folks in the industry. I also get to learn new things every day. The caliber of Data Engineers and Solutions Architects is truly stunning and I’m so proud to be able to be part of that team.
How long have you been with phData? What past experiences have prepared you for your job at phData?
I’ve been with phData for a little over five years now and it has been a fun journey so far. I don’t regret a single day. The culture at phData is incredible and senior leadership is so approachable and humble. I went to grad school at St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN to get a master’s degree in Software Engineering with a focus on Big Data. After grad school, I started consulting at a large corporation where I was able to apply my school learnings. While the technology might have changed a bit, the concepts still apply.
How has your career path evolved since starting at phData? (Promotions, certifications, etc.)
In my first year, I started as an individual contributor, purely focused on client work, but then taking over some management responsibilities where I now lead a team of Solutions Architects and Data Engineers. Lately, I had the chance to be more involved in pre-sales activities, which brings a new (positive) set of challenges.
What is the one thing you want customers to know about phData?
Everyone at phData is dedicated to the success of our customers, the work ethic is incredible. All Data Engineers and Architects put customer success first and are more than willing to go the extra mile for a successful project. When you hire phData, you don’t just get the few Data Engineers and Architects you asked for, behind them there is the large team of all employees who are always willing to help out each other.
What are the most exciting things you’re working on and how do you see them positively impacting our customers?
How do you like working from home? Do you have any WFH tips that have helped you during this challenging time?
It certainly has changed the way the world works. Pre-pandemic, I used to travel to customer’s sites which I truly enjoyed. When the WFH thing started, I moved my office in our basement to get the required quiet time. I have the opportunity to have lunch with my family almost every day which brings more structure to our son’s routine. Working remotely certainly requires a bit more work, which offsets the missing commute.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Be open about having questions, there is no such thing as a dumb question. This is one thing we live by at phData, no matter the role an employee has. No one has the answers to all questions.
Outside of work, what's your life like? What do you do for fun?
I mentioned above that I am originally from Germany, so naturally my wife, son, and I try to travel often to Europe to visit my family. For our five-year anniversary, my wife and I traveled to Rome, which we truly enjoyed! We are hoping to get back to Italy soon. During the pandemic, like many phData employees, I picked up a new hobby: smoking meat. The results have varied, but overall I am happy with the flavor of the meat.