About StratITss, PTP, and ME
A little bit about me, Dustin Howard, owner of StratIT Safety & Security, the parent company of Practical Tactical & Prep and other ventures.
Interesting Fact: "StratIT" means "Strategic IT". Being that the last (almost) 3 decades of my life has been in technology, I coined "StratIT" a while back and named my company thusly. The company focus, designs, plans continued to morph and while I'm still in Information Tech, eventually, I will NOT be, and that's where my other companies serve as the foundation for future phases of my career. Now the name "StratIT Safety & Security" covers the full array of what I was, what I am, what I am becoming, and what I can be.
From a professional perspective, and so you know I'm a real person, here's my LinkedIn profile so you can see my career history, where I've worked, what I've done, some key skill sets, and most importantly, a whole lot of personal recommendations from others that I've worked with. I am indeed a real person, running a real business.
But ME the person, here's a little more than just what the LinkedIn "resume" view will tell you.
(in Shrek voice) Like an onion, I have layers. There's so much more to me than just what I've done in my professional career, and here I'm going to share some of it with you.
I was born and raised in Southern California, the youngest of 5 in a little town called Indio.
Interesting fact about me: I went to Coachella Valley High School. The "Coachella" music festival that's now so popular is held at the Polo grounds out in Indio area. As a child (8-12), teenager, and young adult, I used to work the polo grounds when they were still alfalfa and asparagus fields. My father's best friend was a farmer who owned the lands, and eventually sold them to the Polo Grounds. So I chuckle when people talk about going to "Coachella"....like, been there, done that, but there was no music back when I worked the farms, but there were lots of snakes, skunks, broken irrigation, and asparagus to pick. 😊
I've been married over 30 years now (to the same beautiful woman), with 3 adult children, and three BEAUTIFUL granddaughters and one grandson. My wife and I moved our young family to Arizona back in 2000, and it's been 21 years now, so I think I'm officially an "Arizonan" (both parents were born here, as well).
I'm a former Boy Scout, then a U.S. Marine, so I know a LOT about outdoors, prepping, survival, etc. Being a Boy Scout and Marine defines some things about me; the Boy Scouts instill certain morals and values, and if you let it, the Corps emphasizes those traits in you permanently, and that's OK, because they're all good traits.
I joined the Corps at 22 (turned 23 in boot camp), and was already a married father of two, so I had some separation from the family during initial training. I'm very proud of the fact that I was one of the Few, the Proud.
Another interesting fact: I joined the Corps as an Financial Accounting Specialist, but quickly was reassigned to be the "network guy". I officially changed my MOS (military occupational specialty) to be a Small Systems Computer Specialist and my career has stayed along that path. Truth be told, it's the best thing that could have happened for my career.
I'm currently an IT Management\consulting professional, and my professional experience includes IT positions over 28 years including military, consulting organization, and small to large corporations that include healthcare, banking, government/military, and education. I've been a member of the technical staff all the way up to the VP and Chief Information Officer of small to large IT Teams.
I've worked in professional services, on the reseller side, and as a customer. I've seen the I.T. Industry change a LOT over the last 28 years. Think about the change to your technologies over that period of time; now imagine the backend, what goes on behind the scenes to make that happen.
I have a Bachelor's of Science in Business Management and a Master of Information Systems degree, both from the University of Phoenix, and I did my courses online.
Another interesting fact: Long ago, I finished the first 3 years of higher education in Accounting and Finance before I realized I did not want to be an accountant and changed my studies; however, this education has given me really good insight into managing IT budgets. I'm dang good at managing budgets, creating cost savings (avoidance), and finding cost reductions (existing).
My technology certifications include the CISSP (since 2001) and SOX-P (since 2007) certifications, as well as holding technical certifications in Cisco, Palo Alto networks, f5, HP Networking, Hitachi storage, and others. Blah-blah-blah.
What I am is a learner. I learned to fix cars (mostly), I learned wood working, I learned IT, I learned to fix things in my home on my own. I've completely redone my kitchen, bathrooms, and closets, laid all the wood flooring in my house, and had a great time doing these projects.
I'm a lifelong learner but also an a lifelong adjuster. What worked for me in the past, may not work again, as our technology changes so rapidly. I pride myself on being an adapter. I like to learn new, better ways to do things.
A strength or a weakness is that I'm pretty transparent and straight forward. I've long believed we don't have time to sugar coat. I'm a firm believer in "discuss, resolve, commit" to get everyone on the same page as quickly as possible. Some people love this about me, while it annoys others. I'm also a proponent of the mantra to "question everything", and I challenge those that work for me to do the same. Ask questions so we're all in a mutual understanding. Questioning leads to thinking, which leads to coming up with improvements to the original direction. We're all the better for it.
My hobbies outside of technology are helping others by preparing for survival situations, wood work, and overall building things. I'm also a history buff.
I LOVE to laugh and joke, and have fun at work. If you're not laughing, you're not enjoying it! We give up more than 25% of our weekly hours to our employment or career; it's only fair that we enjoy what we're doing. I've heard the saying "those who enjoy what they do, have never worked a day in their life" and I share that.
I love what I do (I.T.), where I live (AZ), my family, my upbringing, and my hobbies.