Employee Stories

The following are a few stories of how our employees Adapt and Overcome in and out of the office.

Kandis Harter

TALENT ACQUISITION MANAGER

In 2018, Kandis Harter’s life was changed forever when, at 7, her son Graham was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. At his annual check-up, he had only gained one pound since the previous year’s appointment. His bloodwork showed his sugars were abnormally high, and he was admitted to Upstate University Hospital where their journey began.

“Our entire family has had to adapt to this new lifestyle,” said Harter. “We had to educate ourselves and get prepared, since this condition
requires constant attention. We’ve had to learn what foods make his blood sugar spike and what activities can make it drop dangerously low. We always carry candy or juice in case his sugars drop, and we stay in constant contact with his school nurse to properly monitor his activity. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs, but I am so proud of him and his perseverance. Since being diagnosed, he’s gained 13 pounds and has grown three inches.”

Brian Weigel

RESEARCH SCIENTIST

Brian Weigel wanted more leadership responsibility on his team, but knew he needed to work on his public speaking and communication skills in order to reach his goal. He joined Toastmasters, a club aiming to promote communication, public speaking and leadership skills and practiced both in and out of work. His dedication resulted in him winning a speech competition in 2020 and becoming an integral part of his team’s technical leadership.

“I used to attend a meeting but not contribute, even if I had something to say,” said Weigel. “I began to realize I seemed unapproachable and distant at work, so I knew I needed to improve my communication skills. I had to really push myself outside of my comfort zone, as I’ve never been very comfortable speaking and I’m still working to overcome that ‘fear of judgment’ feeling. I’ve expanded my comfort zone so speaking is now something I can confidently do both publicly and privately. It’s helped me immensely here at work, and people quickly noticed a drastic change in me. The best analogy I can make for confidence in public speaking is akin to exercising. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. You get better at it and the less intimidating it becomes. It’s a small boost that has helped me walk just a little bit taller.”

Scott Murray

BUSINESS SYSTEMS ARCHITECT

It all started in 2018, when Scott Murray was tasked with implementing a new contracts system to increase efficiency within his department. He quickly realized that handling system implementations was an underserved area of the company. Now, he runs the Business Systems Group and is AIS’s own in-house Business Systems Architect.

“Setting up a system is one thing but managing requirements and effectively communicating change is entirely different,” said Murray. “Our group works within the many constraints placed upon us to best manage change, ultimately driving corporate efficiency. The systems we support and implement impact every employee, so we have to be flexible in budgeting, planning and tasking. New projects are introduced every day; we have enough projects to keep a team of 10+ people employed full-time and we currently have two, including myself. Through all these challenges, I’m proud of how my team has integrated the AIS values into everything we do. When difficult decisions need to be made, we always hold ourselves to the values.”

Greg Getek

HELP DESK SUPERVISOR

Working in the IT Department at an industry-leading cybersecurity company with locations across the nation can be a challenge. Greg Getek knows this challenge well, as he has been with AIS for nearly a decade. In 2020, Getek was promoted to Help Desk Supervisor, with the goal of continuously improving the way the IT Department delivers services to AIS.

“The Help Desk serves as the face of the IT Department,” said Getek. “The level of service we provide to the company is a direct reflection of our department as a whole. Continually providing the highest quality support can be challenging at times as we are often faced with shifting priorities, while at the same time working to accommodate each and every user request. The landscape of our department has changed dramatically since I started with the company eight years ago. This enabled me to broaden my skillset and learn new and exciting technologies to meet the changing needs of the company. In this role, my ultimate goal is to provide the highest quality IT support to AIS employees at all locations. This includes a focus on customer service and improved communication.”

Yvette Ford

FINANCIAL SPECIALIST

On October 28, 2018, Yvette Ford suffered a total loss fire of her home. The fire started at 2am while everyone in her house was asleep. Ford heard tapping on her window and woke up to see flames in the rear of her home. She quickly ran to wake up her daughter and her dog. Thankfully, they all got out of the house in time.

“During this difficult time, I realized that there was nothing that I could do but stay positive and move forward,” said Ford. “The fire was no fault of my own and I am forever grateful that everyone survived without harm. Today is still a struggle because there were many things that I was unable to ever recover or replace, like important documents and family memorabilia. I began to think of recovery in a more simplistic way; I felt some of it was like a cleanse and time for reflection. AIS and my colleagues were generous with donations, gifts, prayers and words of encouragement. My daughter and I are very grateful that we both work for wonderfully supportive employers and with the additional help of family and friends, we were able to stabilize quickly. We will never forget how truly good people have been to us. We continue to pay that love forward and have learned to downsize and appreciate the smallest of things. Most of all, we recognize that God was on our side that night and awakened me with those taps on the window.”

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