Meet Bruce Berends, Senior Solution Engineer out of our Melbourne, Australia office. Learn about his AvePoint story, top three career lessons, what he enjoys about his role, and more!
How did you first learn about AvePoint?
As someone who has worked in a few different IT consultancies over my career, AvePoint has always been a business whose capabilities have been discussed in the professional arena. The first I learnt of AvePoint was at OBS – I had just started a role as a SharePoint Infrastructure Consultant in 2013, and I was approached by my manager at the time and asked to “Learn AvePoint.” I logged onto the LMS system at the time and proceeded to learn a little about DocAve. Unfortunately, I never actually finished any of the courses or certifications – I really wish I had, as it would have made my job as a Solution Engineer much easier!
What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far?
- Keep striving to be the best. I think in the tech world, people can sometimes become a little complacent when they think they have hit that certification or milestone that puts them in high esteem amongst peers. Unfortunately, these don’t usually last very long, as the tech world moves so quickly. As soon as you’ve reached your high, the person next to you is about to exceed it!
- Always be learning. You have two choices when it comes to technology and learning, you learn and evolve, or you don’t. Luckily, the majority understands this, and continually evolves by learning new technologies and features to keep on top of things.
- Never under-value experience. Some of the best people in the industry are the best because of the experiences they’ve lived and the context that real-world scenarios give them.
What advice would you give to future new hires?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. All too often when people start new roles, they feel that they have to be the “perfect hire” that knows everything and doesn’t want to trouble anyone or ask questions. However, people tend to grow faster when they have the freedom to make mistakes, as they tend to learn more from them (over any tech or employee manual).
What do you like most about your job?
The variety! In my job as a Senior Solutions Engineer, I get to work with a range of fantastic clients across a range of industries. This, coupled with a vibrant sales team and a product set that caters to most business types means that I’m rarely bored and always learning. This also stretches to the variety of people that work at AvePoint. It’s a cultural mix of people from many different backgrounds, beliefs and values. It’s a fantastic experience to be able to pose a question in the office, and have people come at if from so many different points of view – especially ones that I may not have considered previously.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Having Italian genes (despite the Dutch side winning in the looks department) means I have a few hobbies outside of work which I find the office tends to benefit from:
- Wine Making. Since 2013, I’ve been making Shiraz with local grapes sourced from one of Victoria’s best Shiraz regions, Heathcote. The process itself takes 10 or so months from grape to bottle. I make it with a few of my friends, and we usually start in March and bottle in late September. Then, after a year of maturing, it’s at its best to drink (if you can wait that long).
- Meat Curing. More recently, to complement my wine making, I completed a course on meat curing. I had my first attempt at making my own Pancetta this year, which I am happy to report cured really well and was super tasty. This year, I am going to try my hand at some salami, and a capocollo is on the cards.
- When COVID hit, I decided to try my hand at sourdough bread. I’m happy to say that I still have my starter which has been going for 9 months strong now, and I try to bake a loaf at least once a week.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
My Daughters. I’m married with two daughters, Lilla (12) and Ava (9). Everything I do, I do with them in mind, and I try to give them as many opportunities as I can to ensure they are able to achieve their dreams. They continue to be my inspiration and motivation to improve and succeed.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Try and stay in your lane, and run your own race.” In life, sometimes things don’t go as planned. Ultimately, these scenarios are often out of your control. If you focus too much on what is happening to others, the politics and emotions that come out of the situation is usually not worth the stress, and can result in giving those same people a reason to not help you achieve your goals.
I find that keeping focused on your goals, and focusing on the things you can control to achieve them, will usually set you on the best course for success in achieving them.