BigPanda Reveals Winners of 2020 Incident Commander Awards
October 01, 2020
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BigPanda and online incident management academy Blackrock 3 Partners announced the winners of the 2020 Incident Commander Awards, honoring individuals in support, ITOps, DevOps, SRE or in the NOC who go above and beyond when it comes to IT incident response.

The companies identified three Incident Commanders and two Incident Command Officers, all of which have shown the ability to handle large-scale, high-impact global incidents with style and grace.

“Incident Commanders are key to the forward momentum of the resolution effort. Without confident and clear leadership, incidents tend to wander forward with little direction or clarity,” said Rob Schnepp, founding partner of Blackrock 3. “This year’s group of Incident Commanders have shown repeated willingness and talent to lead a team of responders to solve outages and other IT issues at all hours and in high-pressure situations.”

This year’s Incident Commanders are:

- Lynn Deppe, Incident Response Manager at Progressive Leasing. A tireless Incident Commander, Lynn has helped transform the company’s thought process around driving to root cause and affecting meaningful change based on data-driven analysis of what causes outages. “Focus on people’s strengths and learn how to help them find new ways to use them for the achievement of your team, department and company’s goals. By doing this, you will find a deeper sense of personal and professional satisfaction.”

- Jackson Hickman, Manager of IT Delivery and Incident Management at Unum. With Jackson’s leadership and expertise, his team has gone from strength to strength continuing to meet individual, team, and enterprise goals. Meanwhile, his 24x7x365 support and willingness to adapt to whatever situation sets a great example. “If you can not be calm under pressure, you will not be successful.”

- Eric Norman, Head of Operations at InterContinental Hotels Group. Eric’s superpower is remaining calm under pressure, and his advice to anyone working in ITOps is to seek knowledge and learn about the business. “Knowing how the business utilizes technology is key to making the right decisions.”

The community also voted for Command Officers. This year’s winners are:

- Sharmila Sogan Kumar, Senior Manager of the Network Operations Center at LogMeIn. Sharmila was instrumental in guiding LogMeIn’s operations center through the unprecedented and unexpected growth and scale brought about by the global shift to work-from-home during the global pandemic. “No question is trivial — be open to learning, as it’s a never-ending learning platform. Only you can put a limit to it.”

- David Levinger, Head of Operations at Machinify. Whether helping people think strategically about how to leverage an Ops approach to give customers the best experience, automating the deployment of new containerized distributed systems in the cloud, or designing processes to drive efficiencies, David loves finding new ways to bend technology to his will. “You must be obsessed with the quality of what you deliver to your customers. It needs to be almost personal when it breaks.”

Iain Armstrong, VP of Sales Engineering at BigPanda. “While we are celebrating Lynn, Jackson, Eric, Sharmila and David today, there are thousands of others working tirelessly who deserve this recognition.”

BigPanda and Blackrock 3 Partners developed the Incident Commander award program to specifically acknowledge individuals who rise above the alerts and outages to perform their jobs like true Incident Commanders. Winners were nominated by their peers, finalists were posted on Sept. 10, 2020 and the community voted on the three they felt were most deserving. Winners each received a $2,500 gift card from Global Giving to donate to the charity of their choice, a 10-hour Incident Commander Blackrock 3 Partners course for five members of their team. Command Officers receive a $1000 gift card from Global Giving to donate to the charity of their choice and an individual 10-hour Incident Commander Blackrock 3 Partners course.

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