Paladin: Where Certification Counts
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.
When asked why he chose to go to work for Paladin Data
Systems Corp. earlier this year, R. Ward Ralston admitted,
“Well, actually they chose me. When they find somebody
they like, they pretty much find a spot for the person.
I was working for the U.S. Navy in the computer repair
lab, and had come to Paladin to take a class—Paladin
was impressed with my performance and immediately hired
Year’s Best Companies!
Data Systems Professional
services firm specializing in
Microsoft and Oracle-based solutions,
and training; about 75 people
Poulsbo, Washington-based Paladin Data is a professional
services firm specializing in implementing Oracle and
Microsoft-based solutions, Oracle database development,
consulting, and remote administration, enterprise network
services, and education and training. For three years
in a row, Paladin has been recognized as “One of the 10
Best Small Companies to Work For” by Washington CEO
Aside from great benefits and pay, Ralston found the
size of the company—about 75 people—incredibly appealing.
In the relaxed atmosphere of a small company, everyone
knows everyone’s name. As Ralston notes, “You see [the
company’s founders and CEOs] Gary, Jim, and Bob going
around in jeans and T-shirts, and as a company, we do
a lot of fun stuff. For example, we’re having a picnic
in a couple of weeks... just because.” Ralston thinks
of the company as an extended family. For instance, monthly
newsletters commend employees’ sons and daughters for
making the honor role or placing in gymnastics competitions.
Other benefits include all-expenses-paid training two
weeks a year for every employee in whatever he or she
wants to certify in. Bonuses are also paid for certification.
Ward will add to his MCSE and MCT credentials this year
by having Cisco come out to train a few of Paladin’s employees
as Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNA). Certification
is considered during compensation reviews and for promotions.
Paladin gives to the community in a number of ways as
well. As Ralston says, Paladin gives “a scillion dollars”
for a Christmas tree in the community’s yearly Festival
of Trees; all the money goes to local Harrison Hospital.
The company recently gave away three scholarships to high
school seniors, including an MCSE and two A+ scholarships
totaling more than $18,000, and computers for college.
Earlier in the year, the company partnered with local
AATPs at area high schools, donating time and resources
to train the staff that in turn trains students. When
school districts received a $100,000 grant from Washington
state and came to Paladin for training, the company matched
half the training in-kind, boosting the grant to $150,000.
Actions such as these have led the state to honor Paladin
Data Systems with the Innovation in Education Award for
its commitment to education.
About the Author
Sandy Burd is a contributing writer for Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine.