This month we had the opportunity to interview our first subject matter expert stationed overseas. Philip Brooks, Account Manager for USPS – U.S. Forces in Europe and Africa, and NATO at NetApp, sat down with us to talk about the recent wins on his team as well as some career highlights that led him to his current position today. Philip’s extraordinary career began as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army serving in Germany. Over twenty years later, he is still stationed in Germany, this time in charge of the NATO account for NetApp. Continue reading for more.

GovDataDownload (GDD): Can you tell us about your role at NetApp?

Philip Brooks (PB): As an Account Manager for NetApp, I’m responsible for all U.S. Forces in Europe and Africa as well as the NATO relationship worldwide. NATO is such a unique account because the organization itself is comprised of 28 nations – all incredibly different from a cultural, political, and business perspective. There could actually be 28 different account managers and multiple resellers working on the same projects. My responsibility is to be the central voice of NetApp and represent the customer’s interests and ensure that our partners are aligned to support the customer’s priorities.

GDD: Can you tell us about your career before joining NetApp and how it prepared you for your current role?

PB: Prior to joining NetApp, I worked in sales for a global unified communications provider for many years. In my last role, I served as a territory manager for the U.S. Forces in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as NATO. There, I led a team that streamlined the processes for managing the very uniquely organized and complex account that is NATO. My role prior to joining NetApp very much prepared me for what I’m doing now.

GDD: Can you talk a little bit about what it’s like working overseas?

PB: It’s great to be so close to my customers here in Germany, and I truly believe that NATO understands and values the investment and resources that NetApp has put into local support. I would say one of the biggest challenges in working overseas is adjusting to the differences in time zones. Germany is six hours ahead of where much of the USPS team is located on the east coast so sometimes there is extra coordination that takes place when we communicate with each other. I’m fortunate to have a phenomenal team behind me at NetApp that’s very engaged and great to work with.

GDD: What are some of the successes you’ve had supporting the U.S. Forces and NATO?

PB: NetApp operates the north and south data centers of the NATO headquarters located in the third largest building in the world in Brussels, Belgium.  We’re also working together on NATO’s first-ever private cloud deployment.  With the use of OnCommand Insight (OCI), a multi-vendor solution management tool, we were able to identify where configuration errors were occurring in the data centers and able to and help the reseller and customer get the project back on track. With the use of OCI and collaboration between our sales teams the customer, and reseller, we were allowed to get deeply involved in the issue, add value to the project, and make operations more successful.

GDD: Is there anything you’d like to share with us that we can’t learn from your LinkedIn profile?

PB: I’ve actually lived in Germany for a total of over twenty years now. My time here dates back to when I served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army in the 1990’s via ROTC. I then worked in Germany as a civilian while obtaining my master’s degree and have been here since. I feel fortunate that I can work in a region of the world that truly embraces the “work to live” rather than “live to work” philosophy, and I am grateful to have such a supportive team to work with back home.