5 minutes with. . .Martin Simunic IT manager, International Freight Services

5 minutes with. . .Martin Simunic, IT manager, International Freight ServicesComputerworld: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Martin Simunic: I wanted to be a policeman. I really admire our police, they do so much for so little reward, and it really makes me mad when I hear people knock our police because they do so much and they risk their lives for us everyday. We should give them the repect they deserve.

CW: How long have you been in IT?

MS: I have been in IT for three years, before that I was in freight and customs clearance for 15 years. IT was always an area of interest so when the opportunity came to move into that department, I jumped at it.

CW: What do you enjoy most about your current position?

MS: Working for a company that is not afraid of technology. The directors give me the freedom to try new things; the freight industry is ever changing so we are constantly trying new ways to improve how we service our clients, such as freight tracking, EDI and so on. I guess what I enjoy the most is the change - every day is different.

CW: What is the downside -if any - of having a career in IT?

MS: For me there isn't any yet, I still love what I do; when you get up in the morning and look forward to your day you know that you're in the right job.

CW: What is the most interesting task you've undertaken during your career and why?

MS: Putting our disaster recovery plan into action after the hailstorm last year.

I was actually in the building at the time and it was like someone had a machine gun filled with cricket balls and started firing.

Our 11,000sq metre building was totally demolished. We managed to move all operations into the car park under the building and be fully operational the next morning.

Then we moved to demountables in temporary premises while our building was repaired and then back to our old premises.

Moving back is what I am most proud of - after months of planning we shut all the servers down at 5pm on a Friday and were totally operational with all services by 2AM the next morning.

Our interstate and international offices would have never have noticed a thing; for them it was business as usual.

That was an adrenalin buzz.

CW: How long have you been working for International Freight Services?

MS: After the last 12 months, it feels like forever. To be honest I have lost track; I have been involved with the owners of the company since my first job in the freight industry.

CW: What major projects or issues are you working on at the moment?

MS: Installing Exchange will be our next major project. Our mail was a mixture of cc:Mail and POP and the migration was a slow process due to the storm last year and all the other things that just needed to be done first. We hope to have it all finished by the end of the month, and then we may look at Win2K.

CW: Have you ever considered becoming a contractor?

MS: Yes, I thought I could consult on disaster recovery . . . one day I may but right now I still find what I do challenging and rewarding.

CW: Who are your key network products suppliers?

MS: We buy our desktops and laptops from Gateway, our servers are Compaq and IBM, and our printers are Hewlett-Packard and the rest I shop around for.

CW: How do you hope your career will progress over the next five years?

MS: I hope to move into a technical project type position. Implementing the disaster recovery plan has given me a taste for managing people and resources.

CW: Is there any part of the IT industry that you would like to learn more about?

MS: It is all fascinating. Every day is a learning experience.

Security is an area that has always interested me, especially as more of our clients want to do business over the Internet, we need to give them and ourselves a secure environment to do business.

CW: How do you like to spend your free time?

MS: With my wife. To me the most important thing in the world is family; we like to get away for a week end every five or six weeks, usually to the Hunter Valley or up the coast.

My other passion was martial arts, which I hope to go back to now that things have settled at work.

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