Jennifer is the Digital Content Specialist for MATRIX. Her mission is to understand what information our various communities want and need from MATRIX, and to deliver it in ways that are enlightening, engaging and in sync with who we are as a company. She loves pop culture, Oklahoma football, and the great state of Texas.
MATRIX Consultant Spotlight: Doug Burr
Meet Doug Burr. Doug has been consulting for MATRIX for the last six years at a large oil and gas company as a Cognos Reports Writer. In addition to his day job, Doug is a father of four with a notable music career. Read how he balances it all and how it's paid off to get him where he is today.
Tell me about your background.
I grew up in Denton, TX and went to college there at the University of North Texas. I got my degree in Business Administration and Marketing so that I could easily find a job to allow me to start a family. My true passion was music, but having a career in music was always a huge “if”. I started playing guitar when I was 16 but it took me a while to figure out my voice and my sound. There’s no real music background in my immediate family, but I grew up singing hymns in southern Baptist church, and that played a big part in shaping the music I make now. It took me a while to have the courage to come out and say these are songs I want to share with the world. By the time I did that, I was in my late twenties, married with kids, and working 8 to 5 in IT.
What has your career path looked like?
After college, I got into HR doing data input and support roles. It was an easy transition to go from HRIS to IT and reporting. I didn’t have an IT background, but I picked up things along the way. I found tutorials online to learn web development, which helped me both in my day job and in building and maintaining a website for my music.
What do you like about contracting?
My first job was a permanent position, but I quickly learned that my role came with a lot of instability. When layoffs came around, my job was likely one of the first to be cut. With that in mind, contracting made the most sense for me. It actually provided a sense of stability that perm jobs didn’t – which sounds backwards, but it was true for my job. As a musician, I also like the idea of contracting because it gives me a little more independence.
What have been the most challenging and rewarding parts of your career?
The most challenging time was when I first got dropped into my current gig and had to learn a lot on the fly. It all worked out when I got up to speed and I improved my skillset because of it - six years later, I feel incredibly blessed to still be here at a company I love. It’s funny to think I almost didn’t take the job because I was intimidated by the role seeming a little out of reach for me.
What I love about IT is solving someone's problem and helping them do their job better. I love providing them something they didn't have before that makes their life easier. And I have a sort of code of doing business I developed at the beginning of my career about solving someone's problem as far as I can take it, so I'm not trying to hand something off to the next guy or stop calling the customer back because it's a tedious process, or find an excuse to say, 'not my problem'. I try to come back with a solution for them and explain it in a way they can understand. My end goal is to make everyone I support really happy. And I think that philosophy works, and has allowed me to stay at a company like where I am now for so long. I'm never the smartest guy in the room, but customer service - that I can always deliver. When the customers are happy, the bosses are happy.
Tell me about your life outside of work.
One of my biggest passions is making music. I wasn’t ever confident I could make a living off my music, but it’s definitely a big part of my life. Performing doesn’t come naturally to me, so I had to get used to that aspect. I love writing and recording songs, and it’s humbling to get to share that with people when I do perform live. Some of the highlights from my music career have been the people I’ve been fortunate enough to open for. Son Volt was a big influence on me when I was starting out, and I got to do a week-long tour with them which was a major high point for me. I also got to open for Hall & Oates and Chris Isaak on a couple one-off shows. Now I mainly record in the studio and play gigs around DFW to be close to my family. I have four kids and they are all creative and musical in their own way. They come with me to the recording studio and we write songs and play instruments together. I would love for them to join me onstage one day. At the end of the day, I have a career that affords me to spend time with my family and pursue my passion for music. Doesn’t get much better than that.