This is the second installment of a new series of "Day in the Life" articles featuring IMS team members and how they spend their day on the road supporting our clients. This is the recent "day in the life" of Daniel Flynn, Integration Project Manager.
It's 4am on a brisk October morning in Philadelphia. I can see my breath as I blankly stare at the calendar on my phone, silently converting conference calls from Eastern to Pacific time in my head. As I realize that I can join one of my scheduled calls during a layover in Minneapolis, the Economy Parking shuttle arrives at ‘stop H’, my first of many “offices” for the next few days.
Next stop: airport security. After a brief discussion with one of the officers regarding all of the spare cables and connectors in my bag, I reassemble my personal effects and head for the gates. Like a typical Project Manager, I am already thinking about tasks that I can tend to before my first flight.
“I have my mobile wi-fi hotspot. I can update a materials pull for our warehouse tech. I can send a change order request to one of our engineers. I can…smell coffee!”
After I obtain a large cup of dark roast, I set up my second makeshift office for today, Gate D12. I take care of the pull list, send the change order request, and even find a few minutes to review our installation calendar. I respond to an email thread about a few architectural changes that will affect a video wall that IMS is preparing to install, and the boarding process begins. Time to pack up office number two and prepare for take-off.
While standing in the seemingly eternal jetway line, it occurs to me that I might benefit from a few hours without wi-fi or distraction from the many emails that I’ll receive this morning. While the folks around me might be looking forward to a few chapters in their book or simply more sleep, I’m smitten with the idea of creating a project plan without interruption from the waking world that is soon to be 20,000 feet below.
I board the plane, glancing at my ticket and noting my next place of business, seat 14E. When I arrive at the “office” I’m greeted with a few smiles from an elderly couple who are very obviously excited about their trip. When I set up office number three, the husband instinctively asks “What line of work are you in?” “AV, Audio Visual Integration.” I mutter back. “Oh, like TVs?” he says. “Yeah, lots of TVs.” I reply with obvious sarcasm. Little does he, or sometimes our clients, know the detailed process and extensive milestones that we accomplish in order to provide these state-of-the-art systems. I begin to explain that I’ll be working on a project plan for a room that does incredible things. “It’s going to have four projectors and two giant displays and the staff that use the room will be able to collaborate face to face with their counterparts on the other side of the world. All of those incredible things start right here on this plane.” I say this with the type of pride in my voice that you might hear from a union ironworker or steamfitter - someone who is truly proud of their industry and what they do. I think he began to realize I was working on more than just TVs.
We land in Minneapolis and taxi toward the runway. The plane fills with the sound of text and email messages arriving in mass quantities. My phone buzzes in my pocket as I reach for it in anticipation. While I’m standing in line waiting to exit the plane, I remember that I have a conference call in just a few short minutes. I dial in and announce my presence. As the construction team on the other end reviews the two week look-ahead, I am walking toward my next office, Gate B3. When I arrive, I immediately open my laptop and get back to business. I answer a few questions about floor box requirements on the call, and field a few email requests from our installation team. Before I know it, it’s already time to board another plane and set up another mile-high office.
When I finally touch down in California it’s, 12 noon on the dot. I scramble to get through all of the incoming notifications on my phone and dial in to the daily IMS scheduling review call. I’m confused when none of my typically punctual teammates are on the call. Then I remember standing at ‘stop H’ at the airport in Philadelphia. I knew then that I would miss this meeting. I’m three hours too late, having gone through a few time zones since then. I’m just so used to being on that call at noon every day I almost forgot that I’m on the West coast now.
I pick up my rental car and head to the job site. Here I spend the remainder of the day directing technicians on a variety of tasks from the installation of a room scheduling touch panel to changes regarding tabletop AV connections. The technicians were able to complete my punch list while I tested the various aspects of each system. In all, it was a very productive visit that left the client happy and excited to have their new Video Conference hub ready in time for the following week’s high-level meetings.
By the time I check in to my hotel that evening, or office number seven as I liked to call it, I realize that it’s been quite a journey today. I think about the other Project Managers on my team - and where they may have been working. Some on a construction site in New York or at a University near IMS. Others at IMS headquarters collaborating with our in-house commissioning team or reviewing a project with one of our engineers. No matter where they were, it’s certain that they worked in a variety of environments, each with its own challenges and diversities. That’s why today was an excellent example of what being an Integration Project Manager is all about - working with a variety of people from diverse backgrounds in a broad spectrum of environments, managing a busy schedule, helping others complete tasks, and delivering the best results from all of those things to our clients.
Article written by Daniel Flynn, integration project manager for IMS Technology Services