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Brian Millsap is the Chief Information Officer of Hampton Products, a manufacturing and distribution business headquartered in Southern California. Every day the Stanbridge College IT alumni works with and manages people who are passionate about working in IT, which in turn makes him passionate about his career.
Brian’s journey into the IT profession started 15 years ago, when he decided he wanted to begin a second career. After working as an operations manager in the Import/Export industry, Brian was ready to find a career that could support business operations.
“I didn’t want to be just a Microsoft Exchange administrator or security administrator. I wanted to be an IT administrator so I could touch all parts of IT and connect that with my business background,” stated Brian in a recent interview with Stanbridge College.
Brian started looking for an education that would aid him in achieving his Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certification. At the time online options were limited so Brian decided to audit classes in different local colleges to find the right fit for him.
“I could tell there were a lot of colleges where the students were there just to pass their tests, but at Stanbridge College the atmosphere was different,” remembered Brian. “I could tell the students wanted to be there and the instructors wanted to connect with them and make sure they were successful.”
Even before completing his IT certification, Brian was offered a position as the IT manager at Hampton Products. At that time, he was the only one in his department supporting a large company, but because of his education he felt confident that he could handle the role.
“Stanbridge College gave me the confidence to know that I could be responsible for a major operation’s IT needs. I walked into my new job on the first day and I knew that I was the only one that everyone was going to rely on for email, internal enterprise resource planning systems, shipping and billing systems and everything else including their copy machines.”
“Stanbridge allowed me the hands on experience that made it easy to transition into my professional job. I also knew that after I had graduated I was still able to contact my instructors for help if I had an issue.”
In 14 years at Hampton Products, Brian expanded his department to 10 people. The organization itself has grown and acquired several businesses. As CIO, Brian interviews candidates for IT roles within his department and believes that having a passion for your profession is critical above all else when applying.
“People who are applying to IT positions need to market themselves, know the industry buzzwords and display an understanding of how IT should align with business goals. Education and certifications are also vital. However, I always look for someone who has a passion for IT. An ideal candidate is someone who uses computers and technology creatively throughout their daily lives in work and at home.”
Brian attributes his success primarily to the successful hiring of passionate people. “They are easy to manage, they love what they do and they love doing it well.” says Brian when asked why he spends so much time in finding the right candidates for jobs at Hampton.
“For me, I am passionate about service, in the Information Technology field, everything moves and changes so fast that I would get left behind if I didn’t have a great staff of geeks who live and breathe technology. Unfortunately I’m not smart enough to consider myself a geek, but I really enjoy working with them (secretly I wish I could be one). I love to harness the power of my team and use it to serve the business, I think that is how I have been successful in my career.”