In-Depth

Compaq's Employee Investment

Like your job? Here's your chance to compare your company with eight of the best—at least in how they treat their Microsoft Certified Professionals.

As a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider, and a company with its own highly regarded hardware certification program, the Compaq ASE, it’s evident that Compaq Computer Corp. has a vested interest in hiring and retaining well-trained, highly qualified professionals.

This Year’s Best Companies!
Compaq Computer Corp. One of the largest sellers of PC desktops and servers
Nominated: Colorado Springs OMC Facility; 50 employees Colorado Springs, Colorado www.compaq.com

Compaq, one of the largest sellers of PC desktops and servers, two years ago acquired Digital Equipment Corp., at one time a heavyweight in the midrange market (remember the DEC VAX computers or the DEC Alpha chip?). In the acquisition, Compaq interviewed and eventually retained a large number of DEC’s technically trained staff: help desk technicians, network administrators, and systems engineers. And a good number of DEC employees who were hired through the acquisition, like server administrator Derrick Bourgeois, had already obtained an MCSE. Following company acquisitions or mergers, you might hear anecdotal tales of employee unhappiness with the new company culture and a slow exodus. Not true here: Bourgeois’ path, like many of his fellow former DEC employees, took a turn for the better.

Three years ago, DEC hired Bourgeois to be a field engineer in its New Orleans, Louisiana office. With the acquisition, his future was up in the air, but because of his expertise—like many DEC employees with MCSEs—Compaq offered Bourgeois a transitional position, moving him unilaterally into a field engineer role at the company’s Houston, Texas facility.

Bourgeois stayed there another year and then was offered a promotion to server administrator at the Colorado Springs OMF facility. He works with a team of about 30 technicians who provide IT services for a large Compaq client in the area.

Bourgeois is actually one of 50 technicians in the Colorado Springs facility, 25 of whom hold MCSEs. A few other team members have Citrix and Cisco certifications, and senior-level managers typically hold Compaq ASE certification. Although senior manager Damien Kay admits that “there are no direct plans to support Windows 2000,” Kay says there is a push to get the staff trained in preparation for a migration if the current client asks, or if the team takes on a new client who demands it. For now, Kay says that they’re sending administrators to training “in groups of two or three.”

Bourgeois doesn’t hesitate to call Compaq “the best place to work.” It helps that he lives in what he considers the best place on earth, with a spectacular view at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, and within walking distance from home to office. Also, the company has been generous in offering him and others incentives for sharpening their expertise, and has publicly lauded employee achievement of a career milestone through email. Plus, MCSEs at the company can wear their accomplishments, since Compaq provides a leather jacket emblazoned with the Compaq and MCSE logos for those who complete certification.

Looking back over the last three years, Bourgeois couldn’t come up with one legitimate complaint about the company except—if anyone’s listening—he wouldn’t mind “a leather chair in a big corner office.”

About the Author

Michael Domingo is Editor in Chief of Virtualization Review. He's been an IT writer and editor for so long that he remember typing out news items in WordStar.

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