In Technology


Melissa Chambal

Smile, Glasses, Jaw, Sleeve, Collar

Title: U.S., Canada, and Latin America Technical Manager

Company: CNet Training

Education: Construction management at New York University


Organizational Affiliations: Member of 7x24 Exchange Intl., Uptime Institute, and the Telecommunications Industry Association

My journey so far has been...

What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
Chuckle … well, I never really set out for a career in technology. But, that is not unusual for people in the mission critical industry. I originally moved to New York City from Texas as an economic and finance major with a brokerage firm, and on Wall Street, when they spoke, people listened. It was an internal transfer and a great opportunity that I could not pass up. Due to a series of events too long to go into, I found myself on the 72ⁿᵈ floor of 2 World Trade Center, working for a newly formed AT&T Information Systems branch that primarily focused on the financial industry. It was my first introduction to technology and high finance with demanding Wall Street clients. I never looked back, and I would not change a thing.

What three adjectives would you use to describe your journey in the industry so far?
Exciting, challenging, and incredible.

What is your personal mantra?
“Ancora Imparo” — Still, I am learning, accredited to Michelangelo at the age of 87. There is always something new to learn. I like to consider myself a lifelong student.

Describe the highest point in your career so far and how you got there, including all the hurdles you had to jump (and the ones you tripped over too).
That is a great question. There have been many “high points” in my career, but as I reflect on this question, there is no doubt I am exactly where I need to be and could not be happier.

I loved my time in “the field” as an IBEW Local 3 project manager in New York City. It was an incredible learning experience that no university curriculum teaches. Believe me, there were many lessons learned with every project. As a senior project engineer, I was asked by senior management to put together a ”hands-on” copper fiber standards program for some senior electricians in our shop. Talk about my Rodney Dangerfield moments, getting “no respect” and “heckled” by some of our seasoned union electricians. These were men that taught me so much on my projects (which they reminded me of during training), but, when it was all over, I walked away from that class realizing I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great sharing all of this information with these journeymen — discussing pros and cons from their perspective of implementation and discussing the standards that guide us to solutions. It was at that point I was bitten by the training bug.

Many years later, CNet Training’s president and CEO, Andrew Stevens, saw my passion for what I do made me an offer I could not refuse. CNet Training has allowed me to channel this passion for learning and teaching and share it with each class. I hope to make each program a great experience for the global professionals who come to our programs, hoping to send them off not only with useful information but also with a hunger or thirst for more continued learning in this fast-paced, uncharted industry.

What is your most admirable quality?
I am the “glass half full” optimist, living life with a grateful and positive heart. But, even though I hope for the best, I do plan for the worst, identify risks, and adjust my plan accordingly. And then I continue to hope for the best.

I'm looking forward to a future that is...

What aspect of the industry do you think has the most potential for growth, and, on the other hand, which aspect do you think needs the most improvement?
For potential growth — Remote monitoring, remote hands, and diagnostic capability will prove to be a skill set needed by owners/operators. Pandemic restrictions and other potential occupancy limitations will impact on-site personnel. Remote engineers will allow for the “real-time” view and management of the environment needed to support IT.

Other technologies, such as software-defined power or virtual power management, can provide useful in more effective powering of these mission critical facilities. Automation and predictive software for infrastructure systems will also add to the tool kit that operators can deploy.

For most improvement — Not because I am in the training industry, but the skill shortage in this industry is still a very real issue. Although remote monitoring and automation will lend to bridge some gaps, education in this field is necessary to fully appreciate how mission critical facilities enable the global digital infrastructure to flourish, despite the pandemic. I am seeing more momentum toward corporate-wide training programs for all employees to ensure a level of knowledge and competency. However, more work and attention should promote more effective knowledge sharing and training.

Trade schools and outreach about our industry could attract the engineers, designers, managers, and technicians of tomorrow.

When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
I believe the current pandemic has forced a change of perspective on the global criticality of the digital infrastructure age. On-site building engineers and IT technicians are viewed as essential workers and require access to facilities that are vital in our global digital economy. However, it has also forced owners/operators of data centers to address automation, remote monitoring, and other means of maintaining operation with limited access to either the enterprise, colo, or cloud sites. Innovation is happening at breakneck speed, and trying to “nail down” emerging tech has us all wondering what the future of technology looks like, as it seems to be a moving target. Just look how difficult it has been for the industry to define "edge," as it will be different for various reasons and purposes.

What is the most valuable life lesson you have learned so far and how has it helped you in your career?
Goodness, I’ve learned so many lessons, some tougher lessons than others. When I first starting training, I will never forget what a senior electrical engineer told me in class: “If you cannot explain it, then you don’t understand it yourself.”

What three adjectives come to mind when you think about your future path?
Unchartered, exciting, and fast-paced.

March 2021

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