A Few Things About Me

Background & Skills
Rick Mahn

Background

With 26 years of industry experience, I’ve developed solutions to business technology challenges and opportunities as an IT Specialist, Analyst, Consultant and for the last 7 years as an IT Architect. During the past decade, I’ve also explored the world of social media as it was emerging, pairing it with my passion for technology to discover new solutions to modern business needs.

Starting in the late 1980’s, I have had opportunities to work in multiple fields within the technology industry. From a low-voltage and fiber-optic technician, to an IT Architect, my career has delivered one exciting experience after another across many facets of the diverse and rapidly changing information technology industry.

I continue to look forward to the evolving future of the information technology industry, knowing that every change, every disruption to how we’ve approached things in the past, is simply an opportunity for growth.

Interests

Outside of technology, I truly enjoy getting outdoors. This past summer, I traveled nearly 12,000 miles on my motorcycle. It was my second year back ‘back in the saddle’, and I look forward to some trips touring the U.S. in the coming year.

Along with motorcycling in the summer, I get out hiking and backpacking as often as possible.

During the cold season, it doesn’t hold be me back either. Usually, I’ll get out snowmobiling or snowshoeing a couple times a week along with keeping the snow cleared off the driveway. Hopefully, I’ll add camping to my list of winter activities this year.

Some Numbers

Years in Field

Managed Devices (within a single infrastructure)

Years as Consultant

Common Questions

Experience

For the past 26 years, the Information Technology field has been extremely rewarding. From the early days of MS-DOS and i286s, to today’s world of BYOD, virtualization and cloud computing. Our industry does not disappoint in challenging us to grow every day.

Innovator

innovator_smallI am always looking to improve efficiency, not only by leveraging industry best practices and my experience in the industry, but also by exploring new possibilities and applying these to business needs in the real world.

Managed Devices
The maximum number of devices I have managed at one time within one organization is over 200,000 endpoints. A mix of both server and workstations. This was in a global organization, so multiple time zones, teams, languages, and regional perspectives needed to be taken into consideration at all times.
Consultant vs. FTE

consulting-vs-fte_smallAbout a third of my career has been spent as either a consultant or freelancer within the Information Technology field. This time is split about 50/50 as contract or consulting. I enjoy both engagement types.

 

As a full time employee, my longest role was 10 years with Michael Foods and I credit the time spent there in helping me more fully understand the “big picture” aspect of IT. Much of that experience has ultimately enriched my skills as my career has progressed.

Why Not Management?
Basically, I am not interested in moving to a management role. My strengths are in learning and understanding business requirements, then working to solve the technological puzzle to support those needs. Moreover, I really enjoy the technical aspects as this is where my strengths lie.
What was my first computer?

Tandy_Model4P_System_2A Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 4P! That’s ‘P’ as in ‘portable’, mister… all 26lbs of it. Mobility was on my mind, even in 1984, even though it never left the desk in my bedroom (hey, I was a geek then too). Mine had dual TEAC DSDD 5¼ inch floppy drives, and a 128KB RAM upgrade. It was a great introduction to early computers, programming in MS BASIC, hacking away at the operating system in HEX editors, and some dabbling in assembly language compilers. Ah, good times.

Skills & Technologies

Some of the skills and technologies I’ve mastered during various projects through the years that I’ve participated in or led include:

  • Microsoft System Center (including earlier versions):
    • Configuration Manager
    • Operations Manager
    • Orchestrator
    • Service Manager
  • Active Directory and Group Policy
  • Windows Server
  • Windows PKI Architecture
  • Systems Deployment & Management Architecture (supporting over 100,000 end-points)
    • Specializing in SCCM Operating System Deployment (OSD)
    • Leveraging Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) for for UDI, ZTI, and LTI
    • Integrating Software Updates through WSUS & SCUP
    • Integrating System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP)
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
  • Application Virtualization (APP-V, MED-V)
  • Remote Access with 2-factor authentication (RSA, PKI, Cisco, RADIUS)
  • Scripting, including highly customized HTA solutions:
    • VBScript
    • Hypertext Application (.HTA)
    • PowerShell
    • Batch/CMD
  • Extensive Documentation
    • As-Built Docs
    • System Maintenance Docs
    • Technical Training Docs
    • End-User Training Docs
  • Microsoft SharePoint Site Design
  • WordPress infrastructure & implementation
  • Social tool integration
  • Web Technologies:
    • HTML (and XHTML)
    • CSS
    • PHP
    • LAMP Stack
  • Real-time database encryption (Protegrity)
  • Mentoring, Teaching, and Speaking on technology & social media
  • Founded Social Media Breakfast – Minneapolis / St. Paul, an organization of like-minded individuals, participating in global discussions of technology & social media.
  • Former Board of Directors & Consulting Partner with National Institute for Social Media.

Skill Levels

  • Systems Management 97%
  • Configuration Management 95%
  • Software Deployment 96%
  • Software Update Management (Patching) 97%
  • Operating System Deployment (OSD) 100%
  • Driver Management 100%
  • Scripting 94%
  • Documentation 98%
  • Customer Happiness 100%

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SMBMSP

Great People! Social Media! Bacon!

When I started SMBMSP, I had hoped to learn new things from the people I met. That hasn’t changed in the years since.

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