In this Nomad Futurist podcast, Bill Skinner, Operations Services Manager at Bloomberg LP, shares a dynamic journey highlighted by a commitment to constant learning in the critical infrastructure space — a path that has led him to operationalize training programs at Bloomberg and serve as a data center evangelist within the tech community through his position as President of the NYC/NJ metro chapter of AFCOM.
Skinner had a natural proclivity for tech from an early age. His first computer was a Tandy 500 which he tinkered with, broke, reassembled and improved. In high school he excelled at computers, studying programming languages and software development as well as electronics.
“My dad said,‘you're going into computers.’”
After graduating college with an IT degree and despite the dot-com crash, he managed to get hired by Sun Microsystems supporting Bloomberg financial. He hit the ground running. At Sun he received intensive training in data center engineering, learning about hardware, and working on what at the time were supercomputers.
“Where I really learned was on the job. I've always been able to jump in and learn new things.”
Skinner talks about his career evolution, how he gradually became aware of the myriad elements that make up the data center environment: the servers, the racks, the power, the batteries, the cooling.
He moved into middle management in Bloomberg’s New York City data center and was tasked with transforming the siloed work culture. He asked workers to expand their remit and found that those that met the challenge excelled.
“My passion is leadership at this point…really growing people and helping them succeed, growing the department.”
Skinner talks about the importance of having ongoing conversations with technology vendors to stay ahead of the curve, ensuring that the right questions are being considered and the right issues addressed.
“You go out there and ask what’s coming? What should we be learning? What should we be addressing? Never hire for what you need today, hire for what you need tomorrow.”
He also highlights the importance of continuous training and how that has been incorporated as an ongoing process at his company where they have instituted weekly internal seminars to challenge their employees and help teams grow.
Skinner also talks about his leadership involvement with AFCOM where he was instrumental in revitalizing the NYC/NJ metro chapter after superstorm Sandy flooded and disrupted much of lower Manhattan. As a strong believer in the power of collaboration and community, Skinner’s focus for the organization stressed and continues to encourage education, networking, and the pooling of information.
“Let's see how you're doing it. Are we doing it differently? Are you doing it better? Let's compare notes so this will help everyone!”
Bill Skinner has twenty years of experience in the Data Center and Technology Infrastructure environment and is currently Operations Services Manager for Bloomberg LP, managing a range of teams responsible for automating infrastructure services for the company’s extensive engineering/developer community. During his 17-year tenure at Bloomberg, Skinner has managed data center facilities, developed new standards, processes, and technologies, and built and enabled highly successful IT teams.
Bill Skinner is a frequent speaker at industry events and is the President of the NY/NJ Chapter of AFCOM. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Plymouth State University.