Q & A with NANA Employees

A Conversation with David Brown, Senior Integration Analyst at NANA

This is part of a series of interviews to learn more about our diverse employees throughout the NANA family.

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As the senior integration analyst at NANA, David Brown looks at how computer applications tie together to create an effective work flow. Photo by Craig Billingsley.

 

Where did you grow up?

I moved to Anchorage from Florida when I was 10, 43 years ago. Anchorage’s population was less than half of what it is now.

What was your first job?       

When I was 16, I worked at KFC (the Kentucky Fried Chicken store).

Where did you go to school?

I graduated from Bartlett and went to UAA (the University of Alaska Anchorage) for many, many years. Back then, UAA was separate from Anchorage Community College. When the two merged, 21 of my credits were lost, so I stopped short and focused on work.

What did you study?

I was pre-med. I took anatomy and physiology classes with Dr. Ted Mala. (Dr. Mala is a NANA shareholder, and the retired director of traditional healing at Alaska Native Medical Center.) When it got to blood work, I got squeamish and switched to psychology. My minor was in computer science.

What was your first job in IT?

I was the records manager at Carr Gottstein (a food company). Really, I was just the storage guy, retrieving documents. When we got a scanner system, my computer experience came in handy. Voila! I’m in IT. 

I held other IT jobs—at ASRC (Arctic Slope Regional Corporation) and IKON (office solutions) before working for Chenega (an Alaska Native village corporation), where I designed and integrated business processes and applications.

Is that what you do for NANA?

I’m the senior integration analyst. I’m responsible for process integrations and automation solutions development. I create processes that sync up line-of-business applications. Where appropriate, tasks are automated. The end in mind is a system that’s efficient and secure, with built-in accountability which ultimately saves money and time.

Explain what you do (to someone like me).

I work on lots of projects that improve processes. I look at how applications tie together to create an effective work flow, and I create new processes to eliminate steps and make it less cumbersome.

These applications are vital to running an enterprise—SharePoint (document management), Costpoint (timekeeping, expense tracking, billing), FootPrints (incident tracking), and BlueJeans (video conferencing). Interoperability is how these applications communicate with each other and exchange data. I develop and integrate them. I take what we already have, like a tool set, and make it more efficient, without spending a lot of money. It’s like solving a puzzle.

What do you like best about working at NANA?

We work well together. Co-workers become your family. It’s good to enjoy working with the people you spend so much time with in a confined spot. I love what I do, and I do it in a good environment. It makes it so much easier to come to work.

Throughout all departments, I work with the best of the best. We’re a high-quality team. We motivate each other. Good teams comes with good management and good management always makes the work experience, and your job, better. In the past, I’ve been a one-man army.

What do you like best about your job?

There’s a variety of projects. Every day there’s something new, some new challenge. I’m asked, “What do you think? How do we approach this?” I work with people who value what I do and who value technology.

Good management is key. Management offers enough guidance so our goals are clear. Then they allow me to do my job.

I like the structure of this team. It’s all about results. Without results, your job doesn’t have much meaning.

Who has inspired you?

My dad. He served in the Air Force for 22 years, then he worked for the municipality (Municipal Light & Power). In 15 years at MLP, he never missed a day of work. He enjoys work and being productive. He’s a man of his word. There’s no “maybe” or “I hope to … “

He’s not much like me, but he’s still my role model. The problem is, I’m a lot like my mom. [laughing]

What important lessons have you learned?

Keep realistic expectations. I’d rather be surprised than disappointed.

Don’t take people for granted, because you never know what will happen.

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David Brown was interviewed by Carol Richards, Director of Brand Communications for NANA Development Corporation.