When you have a team who are exceptional at their job, they need a manger who can take care of business around them so they’re free to do what they do best. For our tech team, Engineering Manager, Adrian Stopp, is that person. We caught up with Adrian to talk about having the right skills for the right job, why trust is so important at Avinode and why the recruitment drive never stops.
Tell us about your role, Adrian
I’m Engineering Manager which means I manage the people, resources, and processes in
our tech department. It’s my job to keep everything running smoothly.
The tech guys are so talented. When it comes to developing our products and what code
goes where, that’s where they excel. But I take care of the many other things around that,
such as having good processes in place, ensuring that people are happy in general and
hiring new team members.
Although I don’t have any technical experience myself, the team is happy because it means I
can’t micromanage them even if I wanted to.
So, you bring those ‘softer’ management skills to the team
That’s right. It’s really common for example that the best Sales Manager becomes the Sales
Director. But wouldn’t you want your best salesperson doing what they do so well? If you
have someone who is good at managing people but not so good at selling, it makes more
sense for that person to be Sales Director.
The same goes for tech. You don’t want your best engineer also taking care of the other
aspects of a role that will mean they have less time to code.
This is not your first role at Avinode, is it?
No, I’ve been with the business for 10 years. I arrived as an intern and after six months I was
hired. And I’m still here!
I started off in sales, taking care of the Nordic countries before expanding into other
European territories. I did that for five years but began to feel that sales wasn’t my calling in
life. The novelty of traveling so much on my own was also wearing off.
And then you took a sabbatical
I did. In Sweden we’re lucky to be able to take a sabbatical and keep our job. It’s great to
have that security of knowing you have a role to go back to.
So I went to China for a year. I lived in a city called Ningbo, just south of Shanghai. I studied
Business Management at a British university – University of Nottingham, which has a branch
out there – and it was a fantastic time. I learned a lot about Chinese people and their culture.
When I returned to Avinode, I wanted to do something different, so I joined the Commercial
Development department. Along with my manager in Miami, we ran that department for a
couple of years. I oversaw our CRM system project, amongst other things.
It sounds like Avinode Group has given you a lot of freedom to move around
Yeah, I’ve certainly benefitted from that freedom, and the business really does empower and
trust its staff in lots of ways.
If you’ve been hired by Avinode, you’re free to make the best decisions you can make.
People won’t micromanage you. As an employee, you really feel that trust and I’ve always
felt that in my time at the company.
Just going back to your Engineering Manager role, what’s the biggest challenge you
Oh, recruiting, definitely. Finding great developers is tough because they’re in high demand.
If you’re a developer looking for a cool company to work for, there are many options out
there, and Avinode is just one of them. It’s a competitive market.
Also, I’m always hiring. It’s a continuous journey as we grow the team and people move on
But when you’re not hiring, what do you like to do outside of work?
My life outside of work really evolves around my young family. I have two children aged six
months and two and a half years. I love to cook and recently I’ve been following NFL closely
– I’ve found that I can still watch a game while carrying a baby around.
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