A couple of weeks ago the Cireson team was at TechEd North America. What a great event! We really enjoyed meeting with all of our friends in the community and making new friends. While it was sad to see the Microsoft Management Summit be retired, there was still a strong community feel for the management industry within the TechEd event. All the usual suspects were there. Speaking of usual suspects, Wally Mead, one of the most iconic community members was there, but was wearing a shirt of a different color than his usual Microsoft blue shirt. In case you haven’t heard, Wally Mead joined the Cireson team as of May 1st. We are absolutely thrilled to have Wally join the Cireson team! I’ve known Wally for going on 12 years now and I have deep respect for him as a technologist and a standout human being. Wally and I fielded a lot of questions about his departure from Microsoft and joining Cireson. We thought it would be interesting to put out an FAQ blog post to make sure the story came straight from us and not through the rumor mill. Here’s a sample of the most frequently asked questions from TechEd and Wally’s responses. You can also catch his Channel 9 interview at TechEd here.

Q: Wally, I hear that you have left Microsoft. Is that right?

A: Yes, it is true. I have recently left Microsoft where I had a very long and very good career working with Systems Management Server and System Center – Configuration Manager. I met a lot of really great people there (many good friends still work there) and had a great time. It was a tough decision to make to leave Microsoft, but I am excited about the future.


Q: How long were you with Microsoft?

A: I was with Microsoft for 22 years (April of 1992 to April of 2014). That’s a really long time and most people don’t make it nearly that long before moving onto other opportunities.


Q: Why did you decide to leave after 22 years with Microsoft?

A: The time was right for a change. Microsoft was changing as a company with new management and I decided it was the time to move on to the next chapter of my career. I briefly thought about just retiring and doing nothing, however that thought lasted about a minute before I decided that I’d be too bored. 🙂 I really just wanted to be excited about getting up and going to work again and I was not as excited about my job at Microsoft any longer. Life is too short and we spend too much time at work to not look forward to going to work.

Q: So, where are you at now?

A: I joined Cireson as of May 1 of this year. Cireson is a System Center software and services company specializing especially in Service Manager currently with aspirations for getting more deeply into the Configuration Manager product space with apps and services.


Q: Where are they based and are you moving?

A: The corporate headquarters is in San Diego, CA and no, I have no plans on moving. I love the Seattle/Redmond area and want to stay here. I’ll be working from my home office.


Q: Why did you decide to join Cireson?

A: For a couple of reasons. I’ve known Travis for quite a number of years and is someone I really like and respect. Knowing him as I do, I had someone on the inside that could really tell me about the company, the vision about where they were going, how successful they are, and so on. The second reason, which was a really key one for me, is that Cireson is really big into System Center community activities. With that, they want me to continue to do as much for the Configuration Manager community as I can just as I had been doing for Microsoft. I also now get the opportunity to get back into the classroom as a trainer where I started my career with Microsoft. So, I’ll be doing some training on Configuration Manager around the US as well as Europe.


Q: Rumors are rampant out in the community, that given your departure from Microsoft, the end of Configuration Manager is imminent. What do you think about that?

A: I can’t comment on Microsoft’s long term plans for Configuration Manager. However, what I will say is that I am a Configuration Manager guy – that’s all I know and it is the product I still love. I would not have joined Cireson, or any other company, to work on Configuration Manager if I felt that it was a dead end technology.  If I really felt that was going to be the final scenario, I would have seriously considered retirement.


Q: Some people are concerned that you will no longer be involved in events such as TechEd. Is that true?

A: Absolutely not. In fact, I just got back from TechEd in Houston where I delivered a dozen instructor led labs at the event on behalf of Microsoft. As I mentioned previously, Cireson is really big in the System Center community and they want me to still be as involved as possible in community events. We’re working on my schedule for the rest of the year and I do expect to be at a number of conferences, events, and user groups over that time, including System Center Universe and TechEd Europe. So if I’m allowed to speak at events, I do plan to do so as much as it makes sense to do so. Y’all are not getting rid of me that easily.


Q: Outside of training and participating in community activities and events, what types of things will you be working on at Cireson?

A: Well, one of my goals with Cireson, outside of trying to provide whatever help I can to the community is to help get Cireson even further along in their support for Configuration Manager. As such, I’ll be working with the team on product planning for future development of apps to integrate with Configuration Manager. Cireson currently has one integration point in particular that I am going to focus on – an IT Asset Management solution – to pick up where Configuration Manager leaves off with asset management. I’ll also help the services (consulting) side of the house with architecture guidance, help services with any of the more difficult or higher profile customer environments, and so on.

Q: Where and when can we catch you next?

A: That’s a great question. Here’s the current schedule (of course subject to change as scheduled events could change dates or locations) of where I’ll be for the next few months:

June 2nd – 6th in Minneapolis, Minnesota delivering training (http://www.mnscug.org/misc/articles/327-the-extreme-configmgr-2012-week)

July 7th – 11th in New York City delivering training (http://www.labcenter.se/Labs#!lab=The_Extreme_ConfigMgr_Week)

August 25th to 29th in Stockholm, Sweden delivering training (http://www.labcenter.se/Labs#!lab=The_Extreme_ConfigMgr_Week)

September 17th – 19th at System Center Universe in Basel, Switzerland (http://www.systemcenteruniverse.ch/)

The week prior or after in Copenhagen, Denmark delivering training October 20th – 24th touring Europe presenting at user groups

October 27th – 31st in Barcelona, Spain at TechEd Europe (http://europe.msteched.com)

November 10th – 12th in Minneapolis at the Midwest Management Conference


Thanks Wally!   Welcome to Cireson!