Employee Spotlight: Barry O’Dea, Customer Support
In this blog series, we talk to WP Engine employees to learn more about their roles, what they love about the city they work in, and hear from them what they like most about working at WP Engine. After recently opening an office in Limerick, Ireland, we discuss life in Ireland with the Limerick team and what they hope to bring to WP Engine.
Have you lived in Ireland your whole life?
I’ve lived in Ireland my whole life.
Why do you like living in Limerick?
It always was the job opportunities and the people I’ve met along the way. I want to say two years in I met Jamie Ryan (fellow Customer Support Team employee) — just a really good group of people. It is sort of a techy city, so I felt right at home there.
How did you discover this job opening?
My darling fiancee, Melissa, we’ve been living together for three years now and Jaime had been living with us for a small while and he was unemployed. I was working in kind of a dead-end job and she was trying to find us new jobs.
She was like, ‘you have to apply for a new job every week. If you don’t apply, you’re not getting dinner’. So I started using LinkedIn to browse through relevant IT jobs. At the time before it was announced [the job posting for Customer Support] was still kind of vague.
Suddenly, I got on a Skype with Roxanne (Molina) and I just started chatting about my background. I worked for telesales for a moment, worked in bars, a lot of hospitality background, and I worked in tech as well. You know not deep Linux, but I kind of had the mindset for it. She asked if I knew anyone else and I kind of elbowed Jamie behind me and said ‘Turn around, I got you an interview. Come on.’”
What do you think is the tech mindset?
It’s like saying, ‘what’s it like breathing air?’ It’s what I’m used to. As a child, I took apart clocks and I’ve always had this innate want to know how things work and how to fix them.
That to me is the foundation of a tech mindset and it builds if you have a willingness to learn and a capacity to take it on. You’re not doing something because that’s how it’s done, but how can we improve it. Like, my computer’s running slow and I don’t want to buy a new one — I want to make it better.
Did the recession in Ireland affect you in any way?
When the recession hit, the company I was with shifted away from a customer focus. I was ringing these elderly people on legacy plans and trying to force them on newer plans that would cost them more money and I hated it. That’s why I left that. There wasn’t a lot of well-paying jobs. In Ireland, the welfare is nearly equivalent to the minimum wage. It just didn’t work for me.
How are you enjoying your visit to Austin so far?
I’m overwhelmed just by the welcome and openness of this place. There was a big banner waiting for us and everyone was wearing these hay hats and free hugs all around and the big introduction. It feels like a family.
There’s no one doing things because they have to. I don’t think I’ve seen someone look at a watch when we’re hanging out. People are just getting along and enjoying their time. I have to say, the recruitment is just so good in that they’re looking for a culture fit above all
Is this your first time in America?
This is my second time in America, the first time in Texas. Last time I was here, I was in Vegas. TSA told me I shouldn’t really talk anymore about Vegas…apparently what happens there, stays there.
Have you experienced anything that’s contrary to what you heard about Texas?
Well, I haven’t seen anyone with Stetsons and cowboy boots firing six shooters off into the air. I haven’t seen any cattle yet.
How has WP Engine helped you move forward in your career?
Right now it’s given me a career because previously there was no movement where I was. Here I got Jason (Jaynes) saying ‘just show us where you want to go, we’ll lay the tracks down.’ I absolutely love that so it’s actually given me a career, and I’m forever grateful for that, especially with twins on the way!
What was your first reaction when you found out you’d be one of the first members of the Limerick office?
It’s probably embarrassing, but I couldn’t stop laughing. It was just a relief laugh.
Is there anything in the U.S. you haven’t tried yet that you want to?
First of all, we’re going tubing on the river, so I’m excited for that. But, being in Ireland, we’re very anti-guns so I want to go to a shooting range. I’m really looking forward to that just to see what it’s like, to see if I get the bug.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Breakfast tacos. If anything, just the breakfast tacos. Oh my god, they’re amazing. Portion sizes — do not feel like you have to eat everything on your plate. It’s not a challenge.
WP Engine is currently hiring for positions in Limerick, Ireland! See here for the full range of careers we’re hiring for across the globe: wpengine-careers.com.
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Just had a great customer service experience with Barry O’Dea for a client’s website. He knows his web tech and knows how to communicate. A good combination!
Just got off the phone with Barry. He was so incredibly helpful and pleasant. One of the best customer service experiences we’ve had while building our website.