Colleague Spotlight: Chris Lee, Senior Automation Engineer

Billy goat: a notoriously determined and adaptable animal that will always find a way to overcome challenging obstacles, in the wild or around the farm. No fence will keep a goat from getting to a tasty treat it spies on the other side. This versatile creature isn’t afraid of the occasional headbutt when a challenge arises. For these reasons, the billy goat is the spirit animal of our colleague, Chris Lee.

Chris LeeChris Lee, resident billy goat and Senior Automation Engineer.

Serving as Kinney Group’s talented Senior Automation Engineer, he is known to be proactive, precise, and someone who works tirelessly to automate and improve the build process, internally and for our clients. Colleagues say not only is he fun to work with, but he’s a trustworthy team member who has great field experience, which has readied him to be such an exceptional engineer.

The Inspiration: a Childhood Board Game Called Mouse Trap

Holding a degree from Purdue in Computer and Information Technology (with a security focus), Chris began his career doing scripting work as a Junior Developer. However, his skills evolved and he gained engineering experience on both sides of the house, “back” to the “front”. This has given him unique, holistic understanding of the entire Software Development Lifecycle. This practical knowledge resulted in him being the go-to-guy for automating systems, servicing, and connecting development to production.

With that, Chris found his niche, and as opposed to other engineering roles involving development, operations, or administration, he came to love interconnecting systems through automated solutions by using complementary technologies. Believe it or not, Chris states that his interest in automation stems all the way back to his childhood roots.

Looking back, one of his favorite games as a kid was Mouse Trap. You know, the 1963, 4-person board game in which the team works together to build a working, interconnected contraption. This masterfully orchestrated system has a singular goal: to catch the mouse. Essentially, automation and Continuous Integration/ Continuous Development (CI/CD) work in a similar manner to the board game because the engineering team has to use a variety of tools to create a single continuous system that accomplishes a solution.

The Journey: How Chris Lee Became an Automation Wizard

Before Chris joined Kinney Group as a Senior Engineer three years ago, he had varied IT experience through two other companies. At Interactions Corporation in 2006, Chris started as a Junior Developer, and he supported the creation of a Quality Assurance department, and then helped launch the automation of production deployments. In 2008, he joined Angie’s List as a Build and Release engineer, which converted into a Senior DevOps role allowing him to work with each team in the engineering department. He was the sole DevOps engineer until the department grew to around sixty engineers, each holding specializations in QA, DBA, and Ops.

In 2013 he joined at Kinney Group. Today, his responsibilities are heavily focused on Automation and Virtualization, all centering around Secure Private Cloud and Converged Infrastructure capabilities. He also utilizes automation for DevOps and security work.

Chris thrives in the satisfaction of overcoming challenging tasks and projects because it affords him the opportunity to learn and stay stimulated. Furthermore, the complexity of his work conveniently requires him to leverage the most cutting-edge technology platforms and most forward-leaning techniques to excel. Kinney Group tends to offer compelling work across the board, including for our tech-hungry engineers.

Over his years as a colleague, our beloved “billy goat” genuinely feels the phrase “Family First” is engrained in Kinney Group culture. When it comes to our work-life balance, Chris believes it is adaptable to any given situation. When he is insanely focused on a project he will take his work home with him, but otherwise Chris feels it is easy to detach and just enjoy being with his family at the end of the day.

Our Resident Billy Goat is a Lifelong Learner

Like a fortune teller looking into his crystal ball, Chris sees Kinney Group’s future: top talent, larger than life market opportunities, a global presence, and… a kegerator just for engineering. Because engineers love beer. It’s brain fuel.

All of his knowledge and unique skills gained throughout his career have made him an incredible colleague to have on the team. Chris is a great guy with tough, focused perseverance like the billy goat. We know he will just keep munching away in order to find a new patch of “grass-like opportunities” in his hunger for lifelong learning and his love for technology.

Kinney Group Quick-fire:

    • Where is your favorite place to visit in Indianapolis? Mass Ave. Look no further because it has the nightlife and great food while still being close to downtown.
    • What are your top restaurants to go to in Indianapolis? I highly recommend Bru Burger, Bakersfield, and Union 50.
  • Describe Kinney Group’s culture in three words. Progressive. Family. Opportunity.

Want to work at Kinney Group? Check out our careers page to see job postings.

VP of People Operations Named as TechPoint Tech25 Class of 2016 Honoree

Amy Oviedo, VP People Operations, Named to the Prestigious TechPoint 2016 Tech25 Class for Her Work Spearheading a Strong Culture With a Sophisticated, Analytics-based Approach to People and Talent.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 12, 2016) — Amy Oviedo, Kinney Group’s talented VP of People Operations, is a Tech 25 Award Winner. Nominated by company leadership, Amy is in the Class of 2016 with honorees from other companies like Sigstr, T2 Systems, Geofeedia, Vennli, Lesson.ly, Angie’s List, and Appirio just to name a few.

TechPoint, the growth initiative for Indiana’s tech ecosystem, is recognizing Indiana’s tech builders with the announcement of the second annual Tech 25 Class of 2016. This listing a prestigious selection of twenty-five individuals who are critical and exceptional performers helping to grow our community’s tech and tech-enabled companies, but who — not being the CEO or other top executives — don’t get celebrated publicly as often as they deserve.

Amy OviedoAmy Oviedo, VP of People Operations and TechPoint Tech25 Class of 2016 Honoree.

Tech 25 winners represent a wide range of roles within tech companies, such as software developers, financial analysts, marketing directors and product managers. Executives could only nominate one team member for the Tech 25 Class of 2016, and a total of 57 Indiana technology companies participated in the nomination process this year. Check out the full story on TechPoint.org here. Get the full list of honorees’ bios here.

The nomination: read how Amy was honored in the Tech25 Class of 2016

Amy Oviedo, VP of People Operations at Kinney Group, Inc. (KGI), is one of the company’s most influential leaders. Three primary dimensions have earned her tremendous respect amongst colleagues and in the community: her steadiness, her ability for team play, and having a progressive outlook for managing our number one resource…people. Amy has been a critical driver of KGI’s ability to scale the organization.

After earning a B.A. in Organizational Communication from Ball State University, Amy’s career spans 18+ years of focused Talent Acquisition, Training, and Colleague Development. She recalls the days of sifting through paper resumes and placing her first internet job board ad. Growing up in the industry, she’s tried everything in the fight for talent, from camping out at local coffee shops, to running open house recruiting events, and even executing comprehensive branding campaigns to source hard-to-find talent.

Amy’s desire to put her fingerprint on a growing organization that focuses on people and culture as its primary differentiator attracted her to KGI in October, 2012. Leveraging her years of experience in a variety of industries and company sizes, Amy set out to create a culture for colleagues rooted in training, development, and career growth.

As a builder of her department, Amy’s first challenge was determining how to develop KGI brand recognition, which would help her attract elite talent. It’s a tech talent land grab in Indy, so Amy knew she needed to leverage social media and tackle a website refresh in 2014 (in the absence of a marketing department). As a result, she has routinely hired top engineers to work with the most cutting-edge cloud technology platforms.

Another core challenge was hiring an elite team with a unique combination of credentials for strict security environments. KGI serves Fortune 1000 companies, and the company earned its stripes working with Federal agencies. Amy has successfully led an initiative to keep KGI competitive in Federal work, as well as bringing credibility to our commercial offerings.

With her team, Amy successfully implemented a robust HRIS, individualized colleague roadmaps, and consistently deliver the Unexpected Experience, which will facilitate KGI’s ability to scale for years to come.

These milestones have enabled KGI to add a network of colleagues (remote and executive level talent) that support customers, as well as give the brand a national footprint. Amy actualized on her vision: to turn KGI’s human resources department into a progressive culture-building, talent-attracting machine by harnessing data driven tools.

Ms. Oviedo’s career in fast-paced technology environments has helped her shape her philosophy: that culture is hardened by a focus on unrelenting communication and organizational health. She is committed to driving strategies and tactics that help her company hit goals while maintaining a progressive environment.

About Kinney Group

Kinney Group is a cloud solutions integrator harnessing the power of IT in the cloud to improve lives. Automation is in Kinney Group’s DNA, enabling the company to integrate the most advanced security, analytics, and infrastructure technologies as an optimized solution powering IT-driven business processes in the cloud for federal agencies and Fortune 1000 companies. Learn more at www.kinneygroup.com.

About TechPoint

TechPoint is the nonprofit, industry-led growth initiative for Indiana’s technology companies and overall tech ecosystem. The team is focused on attracting talent, accelerating scale-up companies, activating the community, and amplifying stories of success. For more information, please visit www.techpoint.org.