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Nova Place Influencers: Jonathan Rosenson

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Live, work, play – that’s what we do best at Nova Place. There are many players at our 30-acre commercial space that contribute to our relevance in the Pittsburgh market, including Expedient, a cloud and data center infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider.

 

Making the news recently, Expedient expanded their Nova Place location by adding 10,000 square feet of new raised floor computer room space and cloud capacity for IaaS and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions. Read about their $14 million expansion of Nova Place data center here.

 

Expedient’s commitment to their Nova Place home goes beyond their recent expansion – in fact, they’ve been on this location for about 10 years, and experienced firsthand the transformation from Allegheny Center to Nova Place. Stating that the redevelopment helps with the quality of customer service they can provide, they were also able to expand their data center because of the flexibility of leasing at Nova Place.

 

We learned all about Expedient’s journey through Jonathan Rosenson, the Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives during our interview. After touring the brand-new data center, which didn’t disappoint, we sat down and learned more about how Jon contributes to the success of Expedient, and how he got to be the influencer he is today.

 

His story begins back in high school, learning about computers at Mt. Lebanon High School, listening to music, and working at the Gap. Before Jon even attended the University of Pittsburgh and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in rhetorical criticism, he co-founded a self-coined “accidental startup,” called Stargate, which, fast-forward nearly 10 years, became Expedient. Stargate was a local Internet Service Provider (ISP) that started out hosting websites and selling dial up. But like many other startups, began in his friend’s bedroom with one server and a T1 line system. As the technology industry changed, the Stargate team transitioned their business model to match what the customers were looking for, which made them attractive to an investor that bought the company in 2003, and from there Expedient excelled. After rebranding and re-strategizing, today’s Expedient helps guide their ideal clients into a cloud strategy that will help them achieve the outcome they’re looking for.

(Photos of the new data center courtesy of Expedient)

As the current Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Jon is responsible for overlooking and working with multiple teams including the operations support center, the Information Systems team, the marketing and sales enablement team, and more. He also develops messaging and communications that are distributed to clients.

 

At Expedient, the customers’ needs are always a priority. They focus on agility, availability, cost control, and risk mitigation to allow the customer to focus on things that are strategic to their business for driving success. For more on Jonathan Rosenson, check out our Q&A below that we transcribed from our interview!

 

Q: What does a typical day look like?

 

A: Hmm good question! I typically arrive (after I drop my daughter off at school) early and have 30 minutes to myself to catch up on email and anything that happened over night. I’m on call, as are many of our people, 24 hours a day. Then, my meetings will start, and I have between 6-8 meetings a day. They could be internal or with customers. Monday is typically my day to catch up with some of my direct reports. I try to prioritize the larger teams with most people first to make sure they’re all heading in the right direction. But, I make sure I meet with everyone. I spend a lot of my day reading things – I often act as a proofreader for communications that are going external to the company. I’ll also meet with the marketing team to view their creative concepts and validate that they’re heading in the right direction. I do travel a fair amount to our other locations and vendor and partner events, but my typical day you’ll find me at Eco Bistro and Federal Galley grabbing lunch or having lunch meetings and traveling between my office in Nova Tower 1 and the data center in the Concourse throughout the day to check on customers and hold meetings.

 

Q: What keeps you going during a tough (or any) workweek?

 

A: Running is a lifestyle for me. I started running about 8 years ago for stress relief, mostly because I was dealing with technical support issues then, and people would get upset if something wasn’t working correctly. Now running is integrated in my life, and I do it to keep myself active and sharp. If I were just sitting a desk all day, I just wouldn’t feel good. Being routinely active for me is running 3 miles every morning, and then it’s done, and I can go on with my day. By setting myself on a schedule I manage stress well.

 

Q: Besides running, what do you do when you’re not in the office?

 

A: We have a young daughter, and I like spending time with her. We like to ski. And I take her to a lot of her events like birthday parties, etc. My wife and I like to go out to dinner and spend time together and equally on our own hobbies. We like to have a fairly reliable routine most days that I’m in town so that I’m home for dinner, and on the weekends, we all do something together at least once. I’ll also run 5Ks in my neighborhood.

 

Q: What’s a customer or Expedient success story that you’re most proud of?

 

A: Generally, we’ve become incrementally successful over time. It’s been about 2 years since we began transforming marketing, and by doing that, we moved from a transactional based selling process to an outcome based selling process and that opened for us a different level of customer – a larger customer and a customer that has more complicated requirements that appreciates the unique capabilities we have with our own data center and cloud. There’s a list of customers on our website, like Fortune 100 customers that we didn’t have less than 5 years ago because of the innovations that our product strategy team has created, and that the rest of our organization has operationalized and created and told the story about. That has helped us achieve industry recognitions and that recognition helps us to get even more customers because there’s a level of confidence built between us and the marketplace. What I’m proud of is our ability to make the shift to leverage all the things we did to get bigger and bigger customers and bigger opportunities from those customers.

 

Q:  Would you have done anything differently career wise?

 

A: I thought about majoring in Library and Informational Sciences at Pitt, but quickly I learned what they were teaching was outdated at the time, because the stuff I was learning through books I purchased at the mall was ahead of what they were doing in class. Not that it wouldn’t have been valuable to learn that, but I just didn’t have any interest in it. I think building the more general life skills that could be applied to any career worked out well for me, rather than specializing. Would I change anything? Sure, there’s plenty of stuff, but woulda, coulda, shoulda. I’m not much of a broad advice giver because I like to know who I’m talking to when giving advice, but if I could say one thing I do would be to use the lessons that I’ve learned and if I fail, just don’t fail as hard as I did the last time.

 

Q: Are there any tools you’d give someone starting out at Expedient?

 

A: The advice I give everyone starting out at Expedient is that the only thing you can count on for this job is things are going to change. No one is typically comfortable with change, but if you are acutely aware to expect it, then it won’t surprise you, and you won’t have more anxiety about it than you need to. Some anxiety is good because it’s what pushes us forward. Even to this day I have a little bit of anxiety when I start something new, and that’s how I know I’m learning something. It’s great to have such an awesome team of people at Expedient to help support each other because we know what each other is capable of. If I’m not as strong in “X,” but I’m really strong in “Y”, then my colleague who’s really strong at “X” is going to add that value, and we’re going to move forward together.

 

Thanks again to Jonathan Rosenson from Expedient for being our first Nova Place Influencer for 2018.

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