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MATRIX Consultant Spotlight: Gary Speights

This month's MATRIX spotlight is on Gary Speights, an Informatica consultant working in Dallas on behalf of a global metals company. Read about how Gary got his start in contracting as a DBA and how it led him to where he is today.

MATRIX Consultant Spotlight: Gary Speights

Tell me about yourself.

I was born and raised in Dallas. I got in a motorcycle wreck after high school and my leg was crushed so I moved to California where my parents were living so they could help me recover. I started school at San Diego State and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics. I stayed in California for nine years before moving back to Texas. When I graduated, I asked my employer at the time for a raise but they said no, so I quit. I was unemployed and sitting out by a pool when my brother called and asked if wanted to be a DBA. I said, “Sure, why not” and started as an Oracle DBA contractor with zero experience. I did that for several years and taught classes and led DBA boot camps while being on my company’s bench.

How did you wind up at Informatica?

After several short-term consulting gigs, I got to a point where I needed a long-term job. I was hired at a company that got bought by Informatica and that’s when I first started doing software implementation. I moved to Dallas and was allowed to work for Informatica remotely. The reason I have a job now is because software is buggy and hard to implement – if it was easy, companies wouldn’t need me. It’s been rewarding to go into organizations and help where I can.

Do you prefer contract or permanent jobs?

I would say I prefer contract. When you’re on salary, your employer can make you work long hours and you don’t get paid for it. As a contractor, I have never minded working more hours. Ever. I worked 108 hours in one week once. On another job, my normal workweek was 80 hours. I don’t mind when I’m getting paid for it. But that gets old pretty quick and it’s time to move onto the next gig. Contracting allows me to do a lot of different kinds of jobs. At one point I was only working 20 hours a week for a company that was doing an Oracle E-Business Suite implementation on Oracle On Demand, where I did the database and applications patches for the development environment. Basically I would run a command and wait 20 minutes, and then repeat that process over and over. I did it in the evenings from 6:00 to 10:00 PM so that I had my whole day.

The most rewarding part of my current contract with MATRIX is the fact that there are so many puzzles to solve. Instead of something dragging on for a long time, I’m constantly accomplishing something.

What do you do in your spare time?

In the summer, I go water skiing every morning - as long as there’s no wind or rain. Luckily, there’s a lot of flexibility and great work-life balance with the company I’m currently contracting for. I can come in really early or really late depending on if I’ve been out on the water. I also love to snow ski but I only get to go about once a year. Other than that, my wife and I have five dogs that keep us pretty busy. 

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