Author Archives: Joe Blasz

Playing “What If?” With Capital Tech Projects

AT-b-RiskMgmtWhether renovation or new build, technology project plans and designs are subject to a number of uncertainties no matter how well conceived they may be. From market forces to unforeseen technical or manmade obstacles, all construction projects have elements of risk in their planning and design, and technology projects are no different.

For the technology component of a capital project, Risk Management focuses on reducing the exposure to potential barriers a client faces in the delivery and implementation of technology infrastructure and related systems on time, in spec and within budget.

Developed during the planning and design phases of a project, a Risk Management Plan:

  • Identifies potential obstacles to project completion.
  • Provides metrics against which to gauge project progress.
  • Recommends alternate paths should an identified risk be encountered.

One Risk Management example would be an enterprise that wants to upgrade its wireless (WLS) infrastructure in multiple buildings within the same year. However, the enterprise has not yet:

  • Evaluated its existing Telecommunications spaces and backbone infrastructure to ensure that each has the capacity to support ever-increasing space and bandwidth requirements.
  • Clearly identified the standards by which the new infrastructure should be designed and constructed.
  • Communicated project expectations, goals and commitments of the internal stakeholders to potential vendors.
  • Secured enough funding based on the above findings.

A Risk Management plan for this project would identify these and other potential project pitfalls to create a foundation by which the client can make smart, strategic decisions. Getting this strategic advice early in the planning process is critical to avoiding unnecessary cost and schedule overruns during project construction.

JoeBlaszLook for future blogs about this and other important topics that can affect your current or future projects.

— Joe Blasz, Higher Education Practice Group Leader, Project Manager and RCDD

Every Veteran Has Their Own Story To Tell

Scanned DocumentIt was the United States Air Force (USAF) that gave me my first real taste of what, exactly, “telecommunications infrastructure” meant.

During my four years in the USAF, first with the 31st Expeditionary Communications Squadron in Italy, and later with the 96th Air Base Wing at Elgin AFB in Florida, I was exposed to field maintenance, troubleshooting and installation of a variety of communications system types and components including microwave antennas and fiber optic and copper-based systems.

One of my best AF gigs was helping maintain the microwave antennae system that runs down the center of Europe called the Digital European Backbone or DEB. This system ran squarely through that Alps where I got to ride to work in style. Plus, the views were magnificent.

JB-HeliRideWhile I never took my responsibility and duty to the troops whose efforts I supported lightly, I was never in what could remotely be called battle conditions. That’s why I was a little surprised to receive a call from an elderly statesman the first November after I started working for Cornell University. This gentleman, who was a co-worker and Vietnam War veteran, called to thank me for my service in the USAF. Here was this guy that saw real action and he took the time to call to thank me?

The incident remains so vivid that, to this day, I make a point to reach out and thank all the veterans I know for their service on November 11. I count myself fortunate to have served with such distinguished company. Happy Veteran’s Day.

Joe Blasz, Higher Education Group Leader, Project Manager, RCDD and former Senior Airman of the United States Air Force. Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win.

Preserving History While Creating A Future On Higher Ed Campuses

Effectively Integrating Technology Within Distinct College Cultures

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When it comes to technology infrastructure and the Communications, Life Safety and Automation (CLA) systems it connects, few settings match the complexity and challenges of today’s wired college campus. With dozens of buildings of all ages and with different functions spread across miles of geography, the cohesive connection of the discrete systems within a facility and to each other is a daunting task at best.

That’s exactly what I like about my role at Archi-Technology as a Project Manager where I’ve worked with literally hundreds of colleagues to help develop technology infrastructure that’s smart, scalable and performs to spec from day one. I’m fortunate to have spent most of my professional career on higher ed campuses and have learned about organizational structures  that can be as complex as any of the systems that we design.  Yet for all is complexity, I have found the higher ed market to be a place where “everybody knows your name.” Relationships are long term and you have time to really get to know the client’s needs.

Another favorite part of my job is exploring turn-of-the-century buildings—or even older—and finding places that have gone unseen for decades; kind of like Indiana Jones but I’m searching for hidden cable pathways instead of ancient relics. In the age of wireless, people forget just how many miles of fiber and cable needs to be behind the scenes to support WiFi access. Given the historic nature of many college buildings, higher ed campuses regularly offer this type of opportunity.

As Archi-Technology’s new Higher Education Practice Group manager, I’ll be blogging on different aspects of technology’s impact on colleges and universities, paying special attention to the network-hardened infrastructure that needs to be in place to keep all those  1s and 0s moving in the right direction.

JoeBlaszI welcome your feedback, opinions and insights, and look forward to hearing from you in the future.

— Joe Blasz, Higher Education Practice Group Leader, Project Manager and RCDD