The leadership of SHARE spearheads projects and the direction of the mainframe user organization, ensuring the three pillars—education, networking, and influence—are upheld. Three of the newest board members have deep history within the mainframe industry and the SHARE organization itself:
- Dusty Rivers, director of Z systems at Adaptigent and SHARE director responsible for leader development
- Preston Rominger, mainframe systems engineer at Westfield Insurance and SHARE director responsible for year-round education
- Daniel Ruehl, senior software implementation specialist at 21st Century Software and SHARE director
SHARE HQ had the opportunity to sit down with the new members, and explore how they started in the mainframe, where they are now as leaders of SHARE and how they plan to focus their passions on growing membership and education opportunities for all SHARE members.
SHARE HQ: What’s your mainframe story? How did you come to the platform?
Dusty Rivers: I have worked on the mainframe platform for over 45 years and was the first IBM Lifetime Champion for Z.
Preston Rominger: I started in IT interning as a Windows Admin. As the internship neared its end, I was offered a job on a client analyst team. Within a few months, I was approached by one of the sysprogs, who asked if I would be interested in a job on the mainframe team. He explained that there was an onboarding program that would bring me up to speed, with a majority of it being on-the-job learning. Fast forward seven years, and I'm now called a mainframe engineer, supporting everything from CICS, MQ for z/OS, Db2, storage, and DevOps on the mainframe.
Daniel Ruehl: I was working at McDonald's, and one of my friends got me a job at Household Finance. I was initially a tape librarian (reel tapes!) and ended my career there as a capacity planner for mainframe. They had an IBM System 360/65 and a System 370/158 when I started. The job was simply a way to get me through college, but it turned into a career. My degree is in psychology.
SHARE HQ: Joining the SHARE board must be exciting. What are you passionate about and what are some of your goals as a new member?
Dusty Rivers: Part of my portfolio is volunteers and leadership, so I’ll be trying to grow the SHARE organization and entice new people to volunteer.
Preston Rominger: As a new board member, I am very excited about year-round education. If you have been to a conference, you know that SHARE collectively has the largest wealth of knowledge of any mainframe user group. I believe it's important for the growth and viability of SHARE to offer more of that content virtually.
What does that look like? This is currently a work in progress; I have some ideas, but one thing I can say for sure is that such an offering will strengthen the user group by giving SHARE a way to reach mainframers who can't attend conferences or are new to the platform.
Daniel Ruehl: My first priority is to serve with excellence in whatever I commit to. This involves listening to both new members at SHARE, as well as members who have been here longer than me. We need to provide the type of technical education that is supported not only by those who attend, but also by the "senders" (i.e., management). The mission of SHARE has to be beneficial to all who attend so that it can be taken back to their respective companies to mature their technology and reflect the best in class for people, process, and tools, while at the same time being cost-effective.
SHARE HQ: How will you help SHARE in its mission to educate, network, and influence the mainframe industry?
Dusty Rivers: I can use my title and influence as an IBM Lifetime Champion with SHARE to gain more visibility to the SHARE organization.
Preston Rominger: I am in charge of the year round education portfolio so I am very focused on looking at what SHARE can do to expand on its virtual education. If anyone has any thoughts/ideas on the topic feel, free to reach out to me.
Daniel Ruehl: We need to provide programs that are comprehensive with all SHARE conference attendees in terms of technology that runs on the mainframe. Attendees need to have the opportunity to influence the vendors of their products. Attendees need to be able to connect with their peers both professionally and personally.
SHARE HQ: Why was it important for you to become a board member?
Dusty Rivers: I have been a member of the program council for years, and I wanted to continue to do more and impact SHARE's goal of growth and expansion to new members.
Preston Rominger: Ever since I was first exposed to the mainframe I have always been an advocate for the platform. I believe I bring a unique perspective to SHARE as I'm a millennial mainframe engineer working for a customer-facing organization. I see the value of SHARE as it has contributed heavily to the mainframer that I have become, and I look forward to giving back and helping to grow this community.
Daniel Ruehl: It is important because those who have years’ experience need to share this experience. This is a fundamental life goal. Leadership provides more influence to make things better.
SHARE HQ: Tell us something about yourself that SHARE members may not already know.
Dusty Rivers: I have only worked on the mainframe my entire career. I started on mainframe over 45 years ago, and I'm still here.
Preston Rominger: I take pride in working on a system that most people know nothing about. I am also always interested in talking about anything mainframe related. I feel like I learn something new every day and enjoy hearing about the solutions/work that other people are doing in this space.
Daniel Ruehl: I am a bike rider and ride the Silver Comet bike trail in Atlanta. Bring your bike to Atlanta!