Having been with Scality for almost seven years, Chris Harvey, Lead Architect, is a highly-respected go-to man with answers, advice, and a stalwart willingness to help. “‘What’s the answer to this question?’ is probably the most basic question I always get,” he muses. Aiding the sales engineers in their sales efforts involves quite a range of missions, from providing oversight and guidance, to participating in conference calls (“I come with a bit of gray hair and sometimes that helps”), to helping partner organizations, to “building tools when I see that they need to be built.
Despite the long hours that these responsibilities amount to, Chris always makes a point of meeting with customers in person. His approach stems from an old-school mentality that he worries much of the newer generation is losing hold of in the age of electronic media. “I think the interaction you get with customers is really quite important. I really like going and seeing customers and understanding what their challenges are, because sometimes our view over the telephone of what drives them is very different from what it really is when you sit and have lunch with them.”
As one of the Scality “elders,” Chis is always ready to roll up his shirtsleeves and step in to help when the need arises. His manager, Emilio Roman, confides, “What I admire about Chris is his attitude of openness and willingness to help, whether it’s his own team or any other team in the company. By helping the SE community with the more demanding customers and projects, he’s making a difference on the business side.” Case in point: Just the day before I spoke with him, Chris had stayed up late assisting an SE with a malfunctioning demo system. And his involvement extends to taking it upon himself to create tools to fill existing needs. “One of the things I like about Scality is I get the freedom to do the things that I see are needed,” Chris explains. “For example, a while ago, the SE’s didn’t have a demonstration platform. It was clear that we needed to do something, so I just took those reins and evolved it.” He goes on, “It’s part of being a small company. You muck in wherever’s needed.”
It’s no surprise that Chris goes to such lengths to ensure a smoothly-running ship. “This isn’t just another company for me,” he asserts. “This is a company that I helped start. I want to see it be a success because I truly believe that we’re doing something different.” Emilio adds, “With his hard work and commitment, Chris has certainly contributed to Scality’s success. Definitely one of the pillars of the company.”
Besides Chris’s spirited commitment, his helping nature also stems from his lifelong guiding philosophy: Pay it forward. He recounts an anecdote from his younger days in D.C. when he was at a Denny’s late at night. “There were two young guys on a double date with two girls. The guys were cutting back on their orders because they clearly didn’t have enough money to pay for the date.” Chris called the waiter over and arranged to quietly pick up the four young people’s tab. “I just wanted to know that they would have a nice surprise and that the guys would get to look good in front of their dates,” he reminisces with a smile. “If you have an opportunity to do something good for someone, just do it.”
While Chris’s distinguished career clearly reflects his passion for engineering (he was 16 when Sinclair’s ZX81 was introduced, and the rest is history), it also reveals his love of sales. After working for the likes of Hewlett Packard, Openwave, and Archivas, he became a distinguished engineer at Comcast. It was his desire to get back into sales that brought him to Scality. “I really am a salesman at heart. I like the cut and thrust of working with customers, trying to land a deal. And when you get the deal, it’s great. It’s a statement of trust from the customer.”
When Chris isn’t hard at work, he enjoys traveling with his wife and three children, sailing, and off-road cycling. In fact, he’s looking forward to sailing in Sweden this summer, where one facet of his life will come full circle. Having learned to sail from his father as a young boy, Chris will soon be passing this tradition on to his own son. “My son is going to get to a stage where he can sail on his own. So I’m really nervous but also looking forward to watching him blossom into that.”