This fall, SHARE welcomed two new board members, including Sean Waldron of Erie Insurance Company. Read on to learn all about Sean’s experience with the mainframe, and then check out the profile on Steve Hosie, new deputy director of veterans in IT if you haven’t yet.
Sean Waldron: My first experience with the mainframe was when I was still in college as a fabrications sourcing intern at GE Transportation in 2011. Part of my role was building out a tool for easy searching for parts for various locomotives, which required pulling data from multiple tools, including the mainframe. I have very distinct memories of feeling very overwhelmed in my first few days digging through mainframe screens and learning function keys just to be able to navigate to the data that I needed to complete my project. By the end of that summer internship, I was obviously feeling a lot more comfortable navigating the mainframe and pulling data to be able to complete my projects, but I definitely wouldn’t call myself a huge mainframe fan.
After my internship, I wouldn’t be hands-on with a mainframe again until I joined Erie Insurance in 2016 as a release manager, where I regularly interacted with our mainframe to review and approve code packages in Endevor as a part of our regular monthly releases for our policy management system. Thankfully, my second time navigating and regularly using a mainframe was much less daunting than my experience as an intern!
Fast forward a few more years to 2021, when I moved into the IT supervisor role for Mainframe Services at Erie Insurance where our team is responsible for our two mainframes, mainframe primary storage, virtual tape system, operating systems (z/OS and z/VM), and mainframe security, as well as all of our third-party products. When I first moved into the role, I was genuinely unsure of what I was getting myself into as I was hearing how the mainframe was a “legacy platform” and that it would eventually “go away.”
That said, I was lucky enough to join a team that was extremely passionate about their work and helped me to understand the power of the mainframe platform and its criticality to our business as the backbone of our policy management system. Since joining this team, I’ve expanded my knowledge and understanding of the platform, becoming an advocate for my team and the mainframe at Erie Insurance as we progress through our modernization journey.
Sean Waldron: I first learned about SHARE from the senior system programmers on my team when I joined the mainframe services team at Erie. Having previously worked with other platforms (Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle E-Business Suite), I was familiar with other large user groups, but I wasn’t familiar with SHARE at the time. They insisted that I needed to attend a SHARE conference to get a better understanding of the mainframe platform and learn more about the mainframe community. After I attended my first SHARE conference and learned about the importance of the mainframe to industries around the world and felt the excitement and passion from the community, I was hooked!
Sean Waldron: After I attended my first SHARE conference, I knew that I would want to continue engaging with the community so that I could continue to bring new ideas back to my team, as well as share the great work that we have been doing at Erie Insurance to grow our team and bring on new mainframers. Being able to interact with other members of the mainframe community that are working through similar challenges and build relationships with them, as well as the vendors that actively support SHARE, has been a huge benefit to me and my team.
Sean Waldron: At work, my number one passion is my team. My goal is to make sure that my team has everything that they need so that they can do their jobs effectively and to ensure that they feel engaged and supported when they come to work. For me, the best way that I can support my team is to make sure that I am an advocate for them and their work, which has obviously greatly influenced my passion for the mainframe and making sure that I do everything I can to support the platform.
Outside of work, I’m a passionate dog dad to my three pups Brindle (Boxer mix), Amy (Aussie-Shepherd mix), and Murphy (Boxer mix). They are a crazy bunch that keep me busy, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
I’m also a huge car guy. I joke with friends that I have a “fleet” that keeps me busy. My fun toys include a Pontiac Solstice GXP, a Buick Cascada, and a Ram 1500 Sport. I do all my own work, so pretty much any given weekend I end up working on something on one of my cars.
Sean Waldron: I’m a huge craft beer fan. Whenever I travel, I make a point to seek out local breweries. From my experience there’s no better way to learn about the culture of a city than going to a local brewery and experiencing local beers made with local ingredients. Craft breweries are also generally a great way to experience local food and to chat with local people about places to visit and things to do when you’re visiting for a few days. Many craft breweries also tend to be eclectic, so you get to experience local art and style that you might not otherwise see.
Sean Waldron: As a newly elected SHARE board member I’m focused on how we can better engage the mainframe community, particularly new mainframers. As the leader of a team with several mainframers under the age of 30, I want to find ways for us to foster and develop the next generation of mainframe talent, meeting them where they are and helping them to feel supported and engaged in the mainframe community.
We have opportunities to re-engage our current member companies to find out what their new mainframers need to be successful, as well as how we can engage those folks to be more involved members of the mainframe community.
Sean Waldron: I am extremely excited about artificial intelligence (AI) and how it’s going to continue to change how we interact with companies and technology over the coming years. Sure, the concept of AI can be a bit intimidating, and there are some legitimate reasons to be concerned, but I think with the right amount of governance and cautious advancement, I think AI really could revolutionize how companies operate. IBM’s recent announcement about “watsonx Code Assistant for Z” looks like a super intriguing offering that once it matures could really offer companies an exciting tool to modernize their applications.
TAGS: share updates , board members
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