An Interview with AIM Consulting Principal, Stephen Verstraete
Title: Principal Consultant, Application Development
Question: What drove your desire to work in technology consulting?
Stephen: To be honest, I think it was sheer dumb luck. I’ve always been someone who enjoys figuring out problems. I remember a friend of mine once asked me, “What do you want your brand to be?” and I remember saying, “I want to be the guy who solves the hardest, gnarliest problems that no one else wants to touch.” Given that goal, being a consultant made a lot of sense, and I was lucky to have support in finding those kinds of challenging projects.
Before AIM, I was working as the VP of Engineering at a Medical startup. I enjoyed having my hands in so many different business areas, but I missed being the person who was there to solve problems. Some of my favorite aspects of working are the areas that consulting focuses on; challenge, leadership, enabling people and making a difference. I wanted to get back to figuring out the problem, outlining the solution, and defining what it will take to get it done. When I was looking into consulting, it was the people I met, and AIM Consulting’s project consultant model was very appealing to me. I’ve been a part of growing consulting companies in the past, but the problem with most of them is that you can only scale as deep as your bench.
I’ve been at AIM for almost a year and a half now. I had an incredible first impression. I can remember walking into the office (you know, when that was still a thing), and everything was very well presented from the setup, a welcome sign, swag, and more. I remember feeling special, and everyone was so welcoming. That welcoming element is how I would describe the culture here. Everyone I’ve met or worked with has embodied this same inclusive mentality.
Question: You mention the first impression was incredible. What sets AIM’s culture apart?
Stephen: The people at AIM. I love being able to call someone and have a conversation. We have excellent team banter and camaraderie, but at the same time, we work well together to solve client problems. It’s a great dynamic. There’s also a fantastic support network. If I’m struggling with something, I know someone on the team can point me in the right direction to help me figure out the solution. In addition to my role, I’m excited to see the DEI initiatives AIM Consulting has taken on. DEI is important to me, and I’m happy to see AIM making strides in this area. When they started this, I saw it (and still do) as an opportunity for growth and something that I can get behind to influence workplace culture positively.
Question: What activities help you balance career and home life? Any new adventures during the pandemic exploring Washington?
Stephen: My wife and I are currently looking into getting a tow trailer to travel around the PNW on long weekends. When I was growing up, this is something that I would do with my parents, and I’d like for my daughter to experience this as well. On top of the trailer, I’m always working on our house. It seems like there is a never-ending list of things to do around the house, but I really enjoy tinkering and learning how to do new things. I hold two certifications from the International Sommelier’s Guild. I spend a decent amount of time tasting new wines and expanding my knowledge in the wine space. I’m also on the PSA board as the VP of fundraising for my daughter’s school, so I keep myself pretty busy!
Question: What do individuals need to do when moving from in-house technology roles to consulting?
Stephen: Embrace a culture or mindset of continual learning. This is crucial to consulting, especially in technology. If you’re not willing to continually improve, it’s going to be a tough transition. I also recommend recognizing that consulting is hard, but that’s the fun of it. There’s a lot of work and challenges that come with consulting, but it’s gratifying.
Thinking about consulting?
If you’re someone who has spent your time in-house throughout your career but are looking to drive more change or looking for new challenges, consider a career in consulting with AIM Consulting. We’re always on the lookout for top talent. We encourage you to browse our current openings, #AIMHigher and become part of AIM Consulting!
About AIM Consulting
AIM Consulting, an Addison Group company, is an award-winning industry leader in technology consulting and solutions delivery. AIM’s differentiation is our collaborative engagement model that provides cross-functional results. We work with clients, shoulder to shoulder, for one goal – their success. Founded in 2006, with offices in Seattle, Minneapolis, Denver, Houston, and Chicago, we are ranked among the fastest-growing private companies and best companies to work for due to a long track record of success with our partners and consultants. Our long-term relationships with the best technology consulting talent allow us to deliver on expectations, execute on roadmaps, and drive modern technology initiatives.
AIM Consulting is an Equal Opportunity Employer. AIM Consulting provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. AIM Consulting complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. Reasonable accommodation is available for qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.
I remember saying, “I want to be the guy who solves the hardest, gnarliest problems that no one else wants to touch.” – Stephen Verstraete
Stephen has over 15 years of experience in software development and technology management, specializing in application architecture, cloud, and microservices. Stephen’s philosophy is that projects and technology should be simple, truthful, and beautiful. He believes in setting clear expectations, and honest communication is essential for project success. He enjoys working with both technical and non-technical people to innovate solutions that provide value. As a leader, Stephen believes in creating team learning environments where communities can learn from collective experience and adopt practices that improve the overall team performance.
Before AIM, Stephen was the VP of Engineering and Technology at ORHub, Inc, where he was responsible for the overall technology vision, development, and delivery strategies across the company. He managed a team of engineers, data scientists, and security personnel to create products delivered to customers in the healthcare industry. Prior to ORHub, Stephen was a consulting manager at Pariveda Solutions, where he offered solutions to a broad portfolio of customers.
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