Meet Derek Newsome, Business Recovery Expert and Operations Manager at Agility Recovery
Derek Newsome has been on Agility Recovery’s operations team for over a decade. Last year, he moved to a place he’d never even visited before, Las Vegas, to build and lead our newest testing and distribution facility. Derek has a Rolodex of business continuity and recovery stories and is a delight to talk with.
You’ll meet Derek if you test at our Las Vegas site, but in case you haven’t booked your tickets yet, we sat down with Derek to hear a little more about him and his experience with Agility Recovery.
How long have you been with the company?
Tell me a little bit about the role you started in, and what role you’re in are now.
I started as a Technical Engineer in 2008 at the Forest Park facility which is now the Duluth facility in Atlanta. I transitioned to Technical Engineer/Mobile Operations and along the way picked up PC imaging. I transitioned from that to Technical Support Manager, and from that position, I was offered the opportunity to come up to Las Vegas become the Site Manager.
How long have you been in Las Vegas?
I moved here a year ago in July to facilitate the building of the Las Vegas warehouse and testing facility. I worked with the general contractors to construct the office. We officially opened the office in December 2017.
What makes business continuity interesting to you?
The variety of it. Every recovery I’ve been on has been different. There’s always a different cause or requirement. It’s the tiny things that you’d never think of all the way to regional weather events. It keeps you on your toes. It’s definitely not a repetitive job. Every day is a new adventure.
Can you tell me a memorable recovery moment for you in the last 11 years?
I have so many stories… I’ve done a lot of recoveries in my years here.
One great story was from the Kentucky ice storms. One of the recoveries we did there was for the 911 center. One of the things people forget is that the businesses they are so accustomed to always being there can fail.
People assume some organizations like 911, city government, and the police are indestructible because they’ve just always been there. It was very fulfilling and eye-opening to actually have to recover and help a 911 center get back up and running. Some of these events can be so disastrous they affect our core societal functions, like reporting emergencies.
Can you tell me a little bit more about the Las Vegas site? What was like to start it up and create something from nothing?
It was very interesting. I’d never been to Vegas before so there was a little bit of excitement and a little bit of hesitation at the same time. But fortunately for me, I had worked with the company doing the expansion of the old Forest Park office and the build-out of the Duluth office so it was kind of doing this exercise again but in Las Vegas. Since we had this blank canvas, we could pull from the success and failures of the other facilities. We learned over the years what worked and what didn’t work so we were able to build this into a great facility. We wanted a very functional and customer-friendly environment and I think it worked out beautifully. So far we’ve had nothing but positive feedback. The testing experience for customers, especially, has gone really well.
What was it like on like opening day?
Well, the actual first day wasn’t filled with the pomp and circumstance that most people would expect. We didn’t have any scheduled tests and we weren’t serving any recoveries. We were answering a lot of emails that day and it was pretty quiet.
The day of our first customer test we really felt like we were open for business. It was a fun experience and everyone from our team participated. We all jumped in to support the test and our customer enjoyed every moment of it.
What is something that you wish more people knew about business continuity and recovery?
Testing is one of the biggest benefits of business continuity. It’s difficult to think about everything you’ll need to get your business back up and running. If you just go through it in your head, you’re going to miss some pieces.
When people come to test with us at one of our facilities they learn a lot. They realize they didn’t think about a software they need for critical operations or that their backup is in the building that may not be accessible during a crisis. It’s an eye-opening experience for our customers.
It would be amazing if we could have everyone test. It would make their lives a lot easier in their time of need and ensure we know exactly what they need to recover.
To finish up our interview, I have some quick questions to get to know you a little bit better.
Coffee or tea?
Books or movies?
What was the last one you watched?
Window seat or aisle seat?
Shoes or sneakers?
Downtown or the Strip in Vegas?
If you could switch lives with someone for a day, who would it be?