Name/Title/Company: Darren McBride, Sierra Computer Group
Number of years with company: 30
Number of years in the profession: 33
Education: BSEE (electrical engineering)
Last book read: How we know what isn’t so
Favorite musical group or genre: Boston
Spouse, kids or pets: 4 Kids Meredith, Sam, Jac and Chris (Law school, PhD at MIT, Pre-med, and BS in Physics)
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position.
Darren McBride: Sierra Computer Group is an IT services and sales company. I tell people “CEO” stands for Customers, Employees, Owners. If the CEO makes employees happy, they will make customers happy, which will make shareholders happy. That in a nutshell is what being CEO means
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
McBride: I worked for a Carson City computer manufacturer and I felt those who resold the equipment didn’t understand it well enough. I found Sierra Computer Group to give customers the most knowledgeable technical help available in the area.
NNBW: What do you enjoy most about working in your field?
McBride: It changes constantly so we always have new challenges and problems to solve
NNBW: What is the most challenging part about your job?
McBride: The urgency of fixing IT problems when things go bad. When a customer’s computers are down they expect service now.
NNBW: What do you foresee in the future of your profession?
McBride: More devices, including health monitors (smart watches), Internet of Things devices (wireless sensors on everything from refrigerators to cars) and more “bad guys” who try to hack into small business networks.
NNBW: What advice would you give someone who wants to get into your profession?
McBride: Setup a network in your home and have passion for knowing how it works. We tend to hire people who think computers and networks are so cool they’re willing to invest in owning them.
NNBW: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you either professionally or personally?
McBride: Pay attention to people, not just technology.
NNBW: Has there been someone who was especially influential in helping you establish your career or in reaching your higher goals? If so, who and how?
McBride: My Father. He owned his own business and made me believe entrepreneurship was the only career path for me. He led by example.
NNBW: Do you belong to any professional/networking organizations? How has membership benefitted your career?
McBride: The local Entrepreneurs Organization (EO Reno Tahoe). Everyone in the group is a business owner and have saved me thousands of hours of frustration over the years.
NNBW: Is there any educational advancement that is essential for someone in your career field?
McBride: Some base level certifications such as A+ or Network + from a group called Comptia are minimal entry points for supporting computers and networks. Microsoft certifications can help too.
NNBW: How do you manage your time between the responsibilities of your profession and your personal life?
McBride: I’ve come to empower my employees more to avoid burn out of doing everything myself.
NNBW: What was your first job?
McBride: Design engineer for Cubix in Carson City
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming as a kid?
McBride: A writer and teacher.
NNBW: What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time away from work?
McBride: Hiking and boating
NNBW: Is there a nonprofit or charitable organization that you like to donate your time to?
McBride: I like to help those that help themselves. I give most to Habitat for Humanities.
NNBW: Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
McBride: Lake Almanor, Calif.
NNBW: Is there a place around the world you have never been to that you would like to visit?
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
McBride: No, I like what I’m doing too much
NNBW: If you had the chance to have dinner with someone, who would that be and why?
McBride: Vladimir Putin. I’d like to hear his side and perspective on some of the things he’s done such as invade neighboring countries. Alternatively, I’d like the perspective of Kim Jong Un.
NNBW: What is a unique characteristic or attribute about yourself that makes you stand apart from other people?
McBride: Work ethic and willingness to get dirty and stay until the job is done.
NNBW: Is there anything in your life that you wish you could do over again? Why?
McBride: I wish my first wife and I saw a counselor every month for relationship health visits. If we’d done this I feel we’d still be married. There was too much priority on work and the kids and not enough on our marriage.
NNBW: If you had one moment in time to cherish for the rest of your life either professionally or personally what would it be and why?
McBride: The birth of my children because it made me realize why I was working so hard.
NNBW: Last concert or sporting event attended?
McBride: Elton John. I don’t like crowds so I tend not to go to either these days. I’d rather spend a quiet day in the woods.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like about living/working here?
McBride: I stayed in Reno for the quality of life, the space, the outdoor activities. I love to hike and boat and feel closed in when I go back east.