Aliter always has a people-first approach to everything we do. Today, as part of our People of Aliter series of interviews, we showcase the people behind the brand.
Our guest today is Tim Teenstra – Networks Solutions Specialist at Aliter. Tim has been working with us for more than eight years now. We talk to him about his experiences with Aliter and how work has progressed despite a global pandemic.
Can you tell us about your role and what made you decide to join Aliter?
Back in 2004, I was working at a job that didn’t have many challenges, and the office was also far from home. I knew Heath back then, and we were friends. It was from him I first heard about Aliter Networks back in 2012.
He got in touch with me and said he had a job opening with a lot of technical challenges and that they were expanding and looking for some help. It sounded like something I would be interested in, so that’s how I got into Aliter. But the refurbished business wasn’t new to me – I had eight years of experience even before I joined Aliter.
“The refurbished business wasn’t new to me – I had eight years of experience even before I joined Aliter.”
What do you love most about your role, and what exciting projects/moments have you been involved in?
I love the challenge of working in Aliter. Every day there are different sets of equipment that need to be tested. I contribute to the processes that enable us to test thousands of new equipment like routers, switches, and firewalls.
The category is broad, and we have to work as efficiently as possible, so you really aren’t done with learning. We also have scripts that need to be adapted to new equipment, and I’m able to assist the development team with my experience.
No day is the same here, and that is something I look forward to. There’s never a boring day at Aliter, and I keep myself engaged with most processes that happen here. About exciting moments, I remember once I drove to Calais, which is about four hundred kilometres away from Almere because a client really needed equipment delivered.
“There’s never a boring day at Aliter, and I keep myself engaged with most processes that happen here.”
Heath and I ended up working well into the night and the next morning too. This was important to me because the client wanted this done just before the Christmas Holidays. Not many companies would do this, but we enjoy going above and beyond for our customers at Aliter.
What’s your favorite part about the place you’re working from?
Well, for starters, I’m pretty close to work now, which is a huge advantage. I prefer to avoid long commutes because traffic can get a bit much sometimes. Another reason is that Almere is one of the fastest-growing cities today.
Twenty thousand homes are being built soon, which offers a lot of potential for the growth of the industry. It also means that there are a lot of young people, which is a dynamic that I like. We are also expecting the Floriade in Almere next year, which is also something I’m looking forward to. Innovative things like these always keep happening in and around the city.
What was your experience like as a candidate?
To be honest, I never had a “classic” interview process with Aliter. I was looking at other opportunities when I was in my last job. Heath, who was my friend and now employer, heard through a friend that I was seeking a challenging position elsewhere. So, for me, it was more of a conversation that I had with Heath.
What makes your department/team so special?
Something which I notice at Aliter is that we are all trying to get things done at the end of the day. I try to be involved with whichever department requires my help. I love getting tasks accomplished at work, and I’m not someone who’s only focused on a single area.
And in the office, I always see people helping each other, and they take their responsibilities seriously. This, to me, is a sign that we have the right people here. Our teams consist of people all over the world, and we’re all driven to become successful and, most importantly, happy.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to work remotely?
Being someone who needs to be at the office to get my job done, I don’t think I have many insights on remote work. For example, if a tech needs assistance with a piece of equipment, I have to be there in person and cannot be done remotely.
And considering that I’ve been doing this for 18 years, there are a lot of things I could contribute to help with the newer techs in Aliter.
But even when we were at the office, we did observe all the social distance norms and kept within our own “bubble,” which meant we had zero incidents.
How do you find working remotely, and what do you do to stay connected to your team?
I don’t work remotely, but some of my team do. Most communication happens through emails and phone calls. There is a company-wide session 9-11, which happens in the morning, where our Singapore team also participates.
Here, if there are important updates or announcements to be delivered, it is usually taken care of by Zimin, Maria, Tamil, and Odette. But apart from that, it’s usually just the whole of Aliter wishing each other well and a good day ahead. Each team has its own catch-up sessions happening at different times in the day as well.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Aliterians?
I think it’s important to understand that sometimes you need to take an extra step to make a difference, both for yourself and the company. Of course, there might be times when that is difficult to do owing to commuting, children, or other responsibilities.
Talking about equipment, I think it helps to invest some time to learn about the products we work with on a daily basis. We deal with a huge spectrum of devices, and this knowledge is invaluable for a team and the individual. Also, this is something that you need to do on your own time because Aliter is a fast-paced work environment.
“We deal with a huge spectrum of devices, and this knowledge is invaluable for a team and the individual. Also, this is something that you need to do on your own time because Aliter is a fast-paced work environment.”
Most of us are too busy with work and the pressure of deadlines to be learning about new products on the job. Certifications and studying do help, but gaining product knowledge is something that I feel is more hands-on.
There are training materials at Aliter, which I share with people who have just come into the company. At the end of the day, for me, working at Aliter is a commitment to learn and be more efficient at what you do.
This way, you grow and become more important to the company and the people around you. It’s all about making a difference wherever you are, and this is what I think being an Aliterian is about.
Aliter is an equal opportunity employer and is on the lookout for people who love being part of something bigger than themselves and have fun doing that. Check our careers page for opportunities that suit your skillset.