In-Depth

LAMTEC: Sole IT Guy

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.

Along with his holiday bonus check and some profit-sharing monies, MCSE John Schramm appreciated the gift he received from his company last year: a Sony DVD. Plus, he enjoys the privilege of taking home networking equipment as needed for practice purposes. Of course, it’s not all paradise working for Flanders, New Jersey-based manufacturer LAMTEC. For one thing, Schramm is the sole IT guy. For another, “What we do is not pretty, but is very functional.” Schramm is just wrapping up his first year as MIS Manager with the company, which makes vapor retarder materials for insulation. He provides services for about 30 users, several of whom are off-site.

This Year’s Best Companies!
LAMTEC Corp. Manufacturer of vapor retarder materials for insulation; about 30 employees
Nominated: Flanders, New Jersey
www.lamtec.com
800-852-6832, 973-584-5500

In his first week of work, Schramm recalls, he “got rid of NetBEUI and dropped static IP addresses, set up a DHCP server, started in-house DNS, and upgraded the modems on the dial-up RAS server.”

A key to his success on the job, Schramm says, is that his boss understands technology. In fact, Schramm considers Paul Bocchino an IT equal in every way, even though he carries the title of CFO. “This makes it easy to get purchases through,” Schramm explains. When he wanted to upgrade a server, the only question Bocchino had for him was how much RAM he needed. It’s a far cry from “the four pounds of paperwork and two to three weeks’ lead time I was used to where I worked before.”

Schramm says that so far in his short stint, he’s rebuilt all of the company’s servers, redesigned its network, and redone two of its affiliate companies’ networks. He’s also installed a T-1 line, moved the company’s Web site to an in-house server, and rewired a Cleveland, Ohio-based company owned by LAMTEC’s management.

Now Schramm, Bocchino, and another MIS person are getting ready to build a network at the school attended by the daughter of LAMTEC’s president. Among its components: 150 workstations, at least four servers, a firewall, a fiber connection to the administration building, a T-1 line, and a fractional T-1 line for Internet access. “Plus,” says Schramm, “we’re supposed to be setting up a Web server and securing parental access to grades.” He calls all of this a good “part-time project.”

Bocchino says a crucial part of keeping IT people happy is for management to understand the kind of working environment they need. IT workers have to be challenged, he says, and “they need to have access to things. You can’t say to them, ‘I want you to put in an ideal network, but you have to use the old machine.’”

His conclusion: “A lot of people who run IS areas don’t understand what’s going on... You need a manager who will show off the accomplishments of your staff.”

For his part, Schramm highly recommends working for a small company if it’s run by “smart people.” The only downside for others seeking a similar opportunity at LAMTEC: “They aren’t hiring! Sorry!”

About the Author

Dian L. Schaffhauser is a freelance writer based in Northern California.

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