Member Spotlight by A-Jay Orr, Simple Plan IT
Provide us with a brief summary of your business’ services.
Simple Plan IT is a cybersecurity-as-a-service provider. Our goal is to help small businesses understand the threats they face in today’s digital world and to provide them with a way to defend themselves against constantly evolving attack methods. In doing so, we often uncover areas where they could better utilize technology. Therefore, we also offer virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) and project management services. That’s just a fancy way of saying that we act as the technology resource for companies to help ensure that they don’t invest capital in unnecessary technology resources.
Tell us about your company’s mission and values.
At Simple Plan IT, our mission is simple. To bring together great minds and awesome people in order to prevent our clients from contributing to the trillion-dollar cybercrime industry. At the heart of our mission, we want to show business leaders that technology can be simple without compromising power and intelligence. Technology will help businesses achieve their goals faster and safer if they have a good plan for IT. Hence the name of the company, Simple Plan IT.
At the core of everything that we do is the idea that there isn’t a single solution that works for everyone, but rather a single solution that is best for everyone. Meaning, there are multiple solutions to any given problem. Our job is to identify the solution that makes the most sense for our client’s unique circumstances.
What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber?
Simply put, I plan to use all of them! The thing that intrigued me the most about the chamber were the infinite opportunities that it presents. I have the opportunity to meet and hear from city officials and thought leaders in every industry imaginable. I can not only learn about what’s going on in the city, but also ways to get involved.
But, the factor that sealed the deal for me is the support team that I would be assigned. Having people that I can contact who have a genuine interest in helping me maximize the use of my membership is worth the price of admission. So my Member Resource Specialist Team will be the “service” that I plan on using the most.
How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?
My team goes to industry events, listens to podcasts, attends webinars, reads journals and takes continuing education classes. Any resource that we believe is relevant to us and provides value to our clients — we follow closely and consume constantly. We even try to push our own boundaries by testing different theories in our specialized test environment. With constant advancements in technology, the only limiting factor is one’s imagination and willingness to find a way.
What is your company culture like?
We are a “People and Solution First” company. Technology is binary and logical, black and white. It either works or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t work, then you can track it back and determine exactly why it doesn’t. As professionals that work in, with, and on technology for most of our days, it’s easy to forget that people are not binary and logical.
As humans, we have infinite emotions and countless life experiences that have formed our unique perceptions of the world. As such, our culture is to deploy empathy and understanding. Reminding ourselves that we are all people with different skills, different views, and different experiences. Everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and perceptions on the projects we work on. By embracing our differences, we can better understand the challenges we face together and find the best solution to achieve our common goal.
What does it take to be a successful employee at your company?
This is a great question, but I think my view holds true to any pursuit in life. If you want to be successful working here at Simple Plan IT, it’s really easy.
- First, approach every day with an open mind and willingness to learn. The world is constantly changing and as such, so must we.
- Second, remember that you will only go as far as you are willing to work. If you are willing to put in the work, then we will provide you with every tool and opportunity to help you achieve your career goals.
- Third, communication is mission critical. Even seemingly small misunderstandings that could have easily been resolved, can quickly turn into frustration and resentment. So, speak up when you feel wronged or don’t quite understand something. Also, don’t be afraid to share your ideas. There’s no such thing as a bad idea. Even if a little half baked, it could spark the next great innovation.
- Finally, find joy in the work that you do. A good paycheck is not a substitute for happiness.
What makes Columbus such a great place to do business?
Everything from the leadership, the communities and even the geographical location make Columbus great. Then you factor in all of the great things that the city is doing with technology, and you have a great environment to headquarter any tech company. With everything that the city is doing, Columbus is primed to be a true industry and thought leader in the Midwest. We’re excited to just be around it all and play our part in it.
What pieces of advice have you found to be the most helpful since starting your career?
I can’t say that there was a single piece of advice, but rather an ideology that I gained from the military. It’s the idea that no one person or thing is above completing the mission. In the military, it doesn’t matter how the problem was created, who’s fault it was, or if you even like the man standing next you. The only thing that matters is that you have a job to do and everyone is depending on you to complete your part.
This mindset helps me to stay focused on the end result and deal with whatever circumstances, fair or unfair, that are thrown my way.
How do you achieve a work/life balance?
I think the definition of work/life balance is unique for everyone, because it depends on what makes you happy. Right now, I could work all day every day because I truly love what I do. Solving problems and helping clients to achieve their goals is fun for me. I know that one day my priorities will change, and I’ll want to spend more time doing other things. So I plan to keep on working and having as much fun as I can until that day comes.
That said, I’m lucky to have such a strong wife who not only supports me, but also reigns me in. She gives me the freedom to work as much as I want, but also makes sure that I take time off to be with family and attend my childrens’ school and sporting events.
Where is your favorite place to have a meeting outside the office?
Any place that there is good food. In addition to being a tech guy, I am a big foodie. I love to try all types of foods and am up for almost anything (I pass on the extreme hot stuff these days). So if you ever want to catch my attention and get on my calendar, suggest a good place to eat. I’m a big fan of working lunches.