This month as we continue to meet the people behind the technology, we sat down with Mike Dye, Chief Technology Officer for Civilian Agencies at NetApp. Mike, a relatively new addition to the public sector team, brings with him a wealth of knowledge from an IT career that spans three decades. See what Mike has to say about why he’s proud to be part of the NetApp team and learn a little something about him that you won’t find on his LinkedIn profile.

Mike DyeGovDataDownload (GDD): Mike, thanks for sitting down with us. Can you tell us about your role at NetApp?

Mike Dye (MD): Thank you! It’s great to be part of this series. As Chief Technology Officer for Civilian Agencies it’s my job to see the big picture for an agency – to join the dots between the agency’s mission and how our solutions can help them meet that mission and provide critical services to our country and people. In part it’s about helping agencies adapt in a period of tremendous IT-driven change, but it’s also about listening to civilian agency IT leaders to hear their challenges in everything from budget constraints to delivering on the mission in special circumstances and creating solutions that meet these challenges.

GDD: Can you tell us about your experience prior to joining NetApp and how it prepared you for your career with NetApp?

MD: I’ve been in the IT industry for over thirty years, once you factor in that I started working in my father’s computer shop while I was still in college. My father was a civilian agency employee and once he retired in the early 1980s he opened a computer shop. Dad needed help in the store, so I pitched in, and that led me to my career! When I went back to the University of Maryland after that first summer working in the family shop, I switched my major from history to computer science and never looked back. However, I have found my brief period as a history major to be very useful in that it gave me the ability draw together key pieces of disparate information about an agency’s challenges to create a holistic picture and work out how the judicious application of technology can solve the problem at hand.

GDD: What do you find most rewarding about working with public sector customers?

MD: It’s all about the mission! Nothing is more rewarding than finding a way for an agency to meet its mission and provide critical services to internal stakeholders and citizens in the most efficient way possible. One of the most rewarding things I’ve been involved with in the course of my career is in working out ways for NASA to transmit, store and recreate images from outer space, which in turn helped create more detailed and useful maps. Technology shouldn’t be used for the sake of technology – it’s a tool that’s there to make life better!

GDD: Can you tell us something about you that we can’t learn from your LinkedIn profile?

MD: I love building things. I’ve always been a tinkerer and a fixer, but recently I took on the challenge of building my own house. I acted as the general contractor and also did the framing and the electrical work. I’m happy to report that the house is standing and the lights are still on! Now that that project is pretty much complete, I’m also looking forward to getting back to brewing my own beer.