My name is Allen Licha and I’m a Senior Technical Operations Manager at HG Insights.
When I started working in tech in 1989, the landscape was entirely different. Most large corporations were still on IBM mainframe computers, and personal computers were making their way onto the fold. My first job was with Electronic Data Systems as a Systems Engineer (EDS was started by Ross Perot and ultimately acquired by HP for $13.9 billion). Then, I moved into project management. In my role as Software Project Manager, I managed several new implementation and functionality projects. Eventually, this work led me to get my PMP certification.
After seven years with EDS, I had moved on to other small software companies in the area. During the “Dot-com Bomb,” my company closed down and I found a job at a small start-up and as they grew they needed someone to manage the Tech Ops side of the business. This is where I started to build a range of experience in everything from corporations to small startups — an experience that helps me every day in my role at HG.
A Sunny Start
But first, a little more about me. I moved to Santa Barbara to go to UCSB and, like so many other Gauchos, couldn’t bring myself to leave. Thirty years later, I am married, and have a 17-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter who both love living here. They go to school locally and both play in the band, percussion, and trombone respectively.
One of the things I love about my job is the work-life balance. I get to spend time with my family and children, who are soon getting to college age! My colleagues with kids all say the same — it’s such a blessing to work at a company that values life outside of work too!
Here To Stay
Before HG I worked at a small manufacturing company. They didn’t have much of an IT infrastructure, so it was my job to build one from the ground up. Because their end product had such high precision requirements, I could not buy anything off the shelf that met the needs — I had to build a proprietary MES to manage everything!
Then, like so many other companies, when the pandemic arrived, operations slowed. The company’s culture waned. It felt serendipitous when I saw HG, a local company, was hiring for a role that needed my exact skillset. I reached out to Rob Fox, CTO, who I had known for a long time and coincidentally he had thought about me for the position. Three years later, I couldn’t be happier.
My Day to Day
I work hard every day to make sure HG Insights’ IT dept is serving our internal customers — the HG team!
To do this I lead a daily sync meeting with my team to review any new IT tickets submitted, assign all tasks out, and make sure everyone has the tools they need. We use so many different software, so a lot of my role is vendor management — it’s my responsibility to get ahead of renewals, renew what’s necessary, and keep an eye on our spending and all internal apps. I work with all departments to make sure we’re getting optimal use of all systems
Maybe this is a testament to my liking my job, but a lot of what I do isn’t necessarily my purview. But I feel so invested in making sure every department is successful and has the right tools to achieve it. Because I have three decades in the field I’ve seen a lot of things.
In my experience, one key to being successful is understanding that you deal with a lot of personalities. You have to be able to understand how to connect with everyone, in a way that will be productive. It’s a real art to be able to connect with them and establish relationships. After all — you’re dealing with everyone in the company!
HG’s Culture of Caring
HG has the best company culture I’ve seen across three decades of working in tech.
Everyone on the team is supportive and encouraging, and I have all the tools I need for success. In the other tech companies I’ve worked for, employees can be guarded about what information they share… they didn’t always give you the tools you need to succeed. That’s not the case here at HG. Everyone is open and willing to share what they know. HGers are all working toward the same goal and they want everyone to be successful. I think that stems from us feeling secure about our work, we know what we’re building is impactful and that it’s making a difference for a lot of people out there.
People here are positive. There’s a feeling of trust in the team, and that doesn’t happen unless it comes from the top. Our leadership is what creates and continuously cultivates our great culture, so I think that speaks a lot about the leadership here.
HG to Infinity
Economic conditions have maybe slowed the market down, but I don’t feel like it’s slowed what we’re doing here at HG. In terms of product and development, we continue to solve customer needs and problems — HG hasn’t missed a beat.
There’s a true desire to empower our customers and to continue to push the envelope of what’s possible with high-quality, data-driven insights.
And I’m excited to be a part of that. This is why I joined HG, and you should too!