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Catching Rays with: Michael Kennedy

We’re back with the next instalment of “Catching Rays”, a monthly feature where we take a moment to shine a light on the individual people who make up the fabric of Arctiq. These conversations will allow us to get to know one another better, and to celebrate our collective stories.

(*catching rays is a reference to the “light rays” that make up the Arctiq logo, and also a nod to taking a moment for oneself, to be present and soak up some conversation.)

Name: Michael Kennedy
Job Title/Position: Principal Architect

In brief, what does your position entail?
The role has me working with our clients, our team, and our partners to explore deeply complex and interesting problems. I work with all to identify potential options and develop prototypes, and the goal is to assist the group in finding the best path. It is very interesting and rewarding work. Each day brings new challenges that have us shifting focus completely into different personas. One moment I am working with a customer to consider a problem from their point of view, the next moment I’m the technologist trying to dig into the details on how a technology is implemented. The next moment I’m in the partner shoes trying to strategize on how to improve the customer’s experience with their products. While adopting all of these personas it is difficult to summarize what the role entails in short, but it sure is a great experience.

What would you say is your “Arctiq Superpower”?:
I’d say I get the most feedback about having a calm approach; asking questions to identify the real core drivers of a particular activity that’s being considered. It helps everyone get clearer on what the path forward might be. I’m guilty on some hectic days of jumping straight to a conclusion (leave it to MK to be self-deprecating here – Ed), but I’ve learned over the years how to slow down and to really listen, and why it’s important to do so.

What is the most important career lesson you’ve learned along the way?
The learning never stops. There is always more to learn and it’s not realistic to expect anyone else to have the same basis of understanding as you. Their journey is different from yours. They’ve experienced the world differently. So it’s important to listen and be kind as you work together. Teach where you can, but always be prepared to learn more.

What is something that most people wouldn’t know about you? (aka: FUN FACT)
My partner Jenny likes to poke fun of me for this, but I like to create “go bags” for every activity. (Read: a go-bag is a bag packed with essential items, kept ready for use). If someone at home says, “hey, I’m interested in this activity,” I will research it, buy a bag and fill it with essential items required for that activity. For example, a while back the kids got interested in slack-lining, and now we have everything we need ready-to-go for the next time. The reality is we have done it twice and maybe I spent a little too much time and money on it…but it was fun. The slack-line kit is available if anyone wants to borrow it!

What is one piece of tech from any point in time that you wish you were a part of?
I wish I could have had a bigger part of the electrical engineering that goes into IC (Integrated Circuit) design – basically, the chip design themselves. I have an appreciation for what happens at the lowest levels of an operating system, scheduling, and how it all fits together, but wish I had the time and opportunity to dive a little bit deeper into what’s actually happening at the chip level. I have a cursory understanding, but certainly not a complete appreciation for all the innovations that are happening at the chip level…which are amazing.

Current obsession:
Recently I have been interested in cooking interesting meals for family and friends. I’ve been watching YouTube videos to learn techniques and trying out new things in the kitchen. In the coming weekend, our dinner plans will be 340 years since the first Earl of Shaftesbury was convicted of high treason in a political movement in parliament. So why not honour the event with a meal planned using recipes from 17th century Dorset England and trying to recreate a meal as the gentry would have eaten? I have all the kitchen complements I need and will acquire great ingredients from Kensington Market here in Toronto. I don’t have a wood oven but I will try to approximate it with what I have. A couple of friends are bringing their period appetizers and dessert too. Should be fun!

Connect with Michael Kennedy on LinkedIn

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Scott Cooper

Scott is a Marketing Coordinator at Arctiq.