Kevin Lynch is a Senior Manager at FTI Consulting, a company that provides businesses around the world with short and long-term guidance to excel in their field. Working with a team of twelve, he manages a Salesforce application, the internal, cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that keeps FTI Consulting running smoothly.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Creative Writing, and Economics from The College of William and Mary and an MBA in Management Information Systems and Services from the George Mason University School of Management Kevin could easily be described as a Renaissance man.
Over the course of his career, he has served as a Cloud solution architect, a Salesforce configuration specialist, and a business consultant. While at the General Services Administration (GSA), he provided configuration and analysis for Force.com applications for the Federal Cloud as a part of the administration’s Enterprise Knowledge Base Initiative. Kevin also developed an in-house Salesforce Working Group and trained others for the Force.com Certified Developer exam. He has analyzed Enterprise Architecture business processes to develop customized Salesforce solutions for IT Standard request tracking, IT expenditure request processing, Event Planning, and Cloud-based project management applications. The list goes on, and it’s impressive.
After over 20 years in the tech industry Kevin’s role as the go-to tech guy might seem like one he was destined to take on, but if you ask him what he really wanted to do when he was younger his answer might surprise you: Growing up in Long Island, NY Kevin dreamed of becoming the next great American writer. He followed his passion for writing down to the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA where initially he immersed himself in writing classes, focusing on short fiction and journalism. However, as semesters passed, programming classes took on a larger role in his course load.
The thrill of solving a problem through logical thinking was what first attracted Kevin to the world of computers, leading him to accept his first job out of school working in IT in the technical department at the Associated Press’s DC office. Kevin accepted the job with the hope of transitioning into one of AP’s journalism or broadcasting positions. With only one wall separating the tech department from the broadcasting department he was certain that, given enough time, he would find his way back to his true calling as a writer.
Years passed and Kevin continued to grow in his technical expertise at AP, but he wasn’t finding any type of satisfaction from his job. The relationships he’d formed over 20 years’ time were what kept him coming into the office, not any sort of passion for the work. When an opportunity to get trained and certified in Salesforce came his way, Kevin took advantage of it with the hopes of increasing his marketability.
Shortly after getting his certification as a Certified Force.com Developer Kevin was hired by a firm that consulted for the General Service Administration. Unfortunately, the long commute, pace, and work itself were not satisfying. While working at AP Kevin had been able to find enjoyment in the relationships he’d built over the years, but it was difficult to make a connection with anyone in his new office.
The uncertainty caused by the government shutdown drove Kevin to look for new work. He took a job at a consulting company in Germantown that serves the private sector. With only a 20 minute commute (compared to his previous four hour round trip commute!), coworkers he loved, and work that felt meaningful Kevin had never been happier. This ideal set up was short-lived though. When everyone except for him in the office got fired for budgetary reasons Kevin found himself driving into an empty office each day. With the rest of Kevin’s team located in New Jersey and no good reason to continue renting an office space for only one person his boss requested that Kevin start telecommuting.
At first telecommuting seemed like the piece of the puzzle that had been missing from his life. It opened up time for him to spend with his twin daughters (age 11) and take part in the lives of his family in a way he previously under the burden of a long commute. But, eventually, the isolation of working by himself every day wore on Kevin. He stopped dressing nicely, put on weight, and rarely left the house. Without a reason to take care of himself or get out life became a struggle.
Kevin soon began asking around online if anyone knew of an office he could rent. The idea of spending money on yet another space in which he would sit alone wasn’t very appealing, but he knew something had to change in his working life. Luckily, someone recommended that he look into Cowork Frederick. Almost instantly Kevin fell in love with the “homey, connected vibe” of the shared office space and knew it would be the perfect place for him.
What does Kevin love most about Cowork Frederick? “There’s no shop talk.” He feels that without a common employer people are free to skip the small talk that seems to come standard in the typical office environment. He enjoys the variety of conversations and people he meets, describing Cowork Frederick as being at once a workspace and a great place to hang out. And during those times when he needs space to himself? Well, he’s discovered plenty of quiet corners throughout the building to get a little alone time.
After being a member for about a year Kevin describes Cowork Frederick as his “happy place,” and it must be since he has one of the longer commutes of any coworker. Located in Damascus, Kevin spends about 30 minutes two to three days a week getting to downtown Frederick. He doesn’t mind the drive though. Traffic is always going in the opposite direction, and he finds the city much more charming than Damascus.
Between a job in which he excels, his “happy place” at Cowork Frederick, and more free time to be involved with his family, Kevin is feeling like he’s finally achieved that perfect work-life balance. He loves that the rest of his work team is located far enough away that he gets to be just a voice on the phone, sighting that the separation gives him autonomy. Just like when he was at William & Mary, Kevin’s favorite part of his work continues to be solving problems, though now he prefers solving business problems to programming ones.
Kevin is a “semi-avid runner” (his words) and has set a goal of training for (and actually completing) a half marathon in 2017. He’s also “a semi-retired Dead Head, who attended (best guesstimate) between 40 and 50 shows and has several boxes full of concerts on cassette, taking up way too much room in my garage” he notes. He’s embraced the additional time he now has for family. “I spent a huge chunk of the summer building and managing the twins’ swim team’s website, and Saturday mornings with stopwatch around my neck timing at all the meets.”
One of Kevin’s biggest takeaways from his career is that quality of life far outweighs financial perks. He believes people should be happy with what they do and get compensated fairly for it, but, at the end of the day, should have something of themselves left for the ones they love. “The job is just a job. It’s a means to an end.”