Might as well start somewhere…
My name is Joey Feci(FeeChee) and I’m the Wireless Engineer at Northeast Georgia Hospital System in Gainesville, GA. I’ve never had a blog, never enjoyed writing, and grammar is not my strong suit. Hopefully this blog will help me learn about Wifi AND writing!
I first got started in IT in 2005 when I got sick of playing original music(drums) for tables and chairs in Atlanta for $25 bucks a night -split 4 ways. Not knowing anything about researching schools or choosing colleges, I saw an ad for DeVry university being the leader in technical education and chose to go there because there was no entrance exam really, I only had to sign some papers about loans, and they had the word Cisco in one of their program listings. Ahh, to be young and dumb.
Stepping back a little further, I built and owned my first PC only two years prior in 2003. While visiting some friends back home in Virginia Beach, I had the budget to get my first computer from a tax return and was guided by one of the most awesome guys I know(Tim Gawne) into the world of building your own PC because it was cheaper and you could get better components. Before this, I had only surfed the web on friends’ computers, and gotten completely addicted to Half-life and Counter-Strike.
So my DeVry education in IT started. At the end of 2006 I received an email from a friend of mine with a job description attached. It was for a repair tech in the Repair Services Department of LXE, a manufacturer of rugged scanners and computers. I went in for a basic interview where it was determined that my current skill set was not enough to be one of the techs they were hiring for. However, a couple days later I got an offer from the manager for a QC position. I would be checking all the repaired computers; configuring them back to customer settings; and passing them to shipping so they could be returned. It paid a little more than my current job in an appliance warehouse and was in the field I was studying for so I accepted and my career began…
Since the computers and scanners that were built were for warehouse installations, I was then introduced into the technology of wireless communication! Through the next couple years I was able to learn the complete product suite of LXE terminals while configuring and learning different client configuration parameters. Most of the configuration I was doing was to Cisco Aironet and Summit wireless radios. I’d configure the authentication and encryption methods as well as power management settings, roaming thresholds, and tx power settings.
I graduated from DeVry in 2008 with loads of debt and not much education. I had moved around Repair Services and ended up back in the QC position when the new guy couldn’t handle the position and I was brought back in to clean up his mess. For some reason I was the only guy in the department that could QC and configure 100+ terminals a day without holding up the line. I was eventually introduced to the Technical Support manager and after 6 months or so, I was offered a position on their level 1 team. This is when I finally learned that brain power was worth a lot more money than man power, lol. Unfortunately, 2009 had taken its toll on LXE and EMS(its parent company) and the company was put up for sale and bought by Honeywell in 2011. Thats when I learned about corporate takeovers. In the beginning it was “We are going to work together and make the warehouse terminal world a better place!” 3 months later they had fired all my friends in repair services and moved everything else to China. Kumbuya. Technical services and some sales and engineering were kept around because of contracts and knowledge transfer but everyone else was told to have a good life. I missed the layoff by 1 month.
I stayed with Tech Services for another year, all along, putting my resume on every site there was and submitting to every craigslist post that had the work “network” in the title. I sent 200 resumes and got 3 responses. In 2011 during the takeover, I had started going to Gwinnett Technical College where I was able to graduate from the OFFICIAL Cisco academy and started pursuing my CCNA.
Then in 2012 during the end of my Cisco course I received a random email. A company called Layer 3 Communications had received a resume from somewhere and called me in for an interview. 6 hours later I was hired and my call to Wireless Engineering was confirmed. I started in September of 2012 with the best company I’ve worked for so far and enjoyed a quick 2.5 year span with them before joining the hospital.
During my time at Layer 3 I was quickly thrown into the world of Wireless design. RF topics were not really mentioned in meetings and some of my first networks (I’m ashamed to say) were designed with Visio instead of Ekahau or AirMagnet. We had an older copy of AirMagnet but it was a couple months before I installed it. Luckily, that was short lived because we were getting ready to purchase Ekahau for the increased workload. Through the Ekahau site and videos, I was able to hear about people such as Keith Parsons, Devin Aiken, and Andrew Von Nagy. After seeing a bunch of Twitter handles, I figured out that it was the fastest way for me to learn from these guys. I created an account and so far I’ve built up a following list of 168 Wifi professionals and I check it daily to get my 10 minutes of Wifi training or at least some laughs about RRM.
Then I got the opportunity of the year. I had the interview with my hospital and took the position -starting on Memorial day of 2015. On my first employee-less day (remember “Memorial day”?) I was walking around with a colleague and lo and behold, here I am standing in front of Mr. Devin Akin. Devin had been contracted by the hospital before I got hired to perform a completed predictive design of 7 major buildings in the vicinity of our main tower. 1465 access points. Through the next 6 months I was able to build up a pretty good friendship with Devin and learn more than I had in the past 6 years of doing it on my own. While the education was mostly about design, I did have a fun time going toe to toe with a particular vendor that Devin later wrote about on his blog (http://divdyn.com/blog/). Just search “Technical Analysis”. You’ll figure it out. If you already know -then yes, I’m taking credit for that introduction. You’re Welcome.
Recently I was able to attend the WLPC2016 conference in Phoenix and meet some of the people that have helped me and others that are in the same boat. It was an awesome experience and hopefully I will continue to get the opportunity to go in future years.
’til next time…