In the Community
When our warfighters leave the military and trade a uniform for a polo, they face significant challenges entering the private sector. They are not only changing jobs but changing industries entirely.
The Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program is a United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation initiative that provides a bridging strategy for veterans, military spouses, and service members. The program connects service members with private sector fellowships to gain invaluable experience. MSTS is thrilled to participate in this program. And, we're happy to announce that Jeff Stone has accepted our offer to join us as a Program Management Fellow at KHI, a division of MSTS.
Stone began his military career directly out of high school with an enlistment as an Aircraft Electrician. He was offered appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. After graduation he rejoined the Aviation Branch where he piloted the same Blackhawk Aircraft he once repaired.
Stone was earning his MBA from the University of Missouri – Kansas City when he learned of the Hiring Our Heroes organization and MSTS and we're excited he is joining the team.
The MSTS Community Action Team has been hard at work in 2019 to better the greater Kansas City community through a variety of events and efforts. Over the course of the year, the Community Action Team has:
- Collected 35 bags of trash at Founders Park
- Packaged over 500,000 hygiene products that touched the lives of 80,000 people
- Donated 22 pints of blood
- Fed approximately 30 people at the Ronald McDonald House
- Donated 271 books to help build reading libraries for low income children
- Raised $885 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- Donated coats, hat and gloves to help 50 people stay warm this winter
- Packed food at Harvesters to provide 394 senior citizens with a week's worth of nourishment
- Prepared 8.5 tiny homes for veterans to call a place home
- Provided 530 food insecure kids with a jar of protein-packed peanut butter
The KCVP is a local community of tiny houses working to transition veterans from homeless with dignity. Most of the construction was completed upon arrival. With the expected dropping temperatures KCVP was working hard to get the last 23 homes ready for occupancy.
The group was armed with buckets, swifter mops, brooms and squeegees as they faced a row of five tiny houses. They rolled up their sleeves and tackled dust, nails, grout and lots of mud.
Thanks to the team's efforts, 8.5 tiny houses are now ready for beds, fridges, toilet seats and dressers. But most importantly 8.5 Veterans are one step closer to a cozy roof over their heads.
On Saturday, May 11 several MSTS employees, their families, and girls from BSA Troop 7084 volunteered at Giving the Basics to give back to the KC Community. The group was tasked with unpacking 11 pallets of band-aids and packaging them into boxes that could be delivered to outposts in the community. In just under two hours the team packaged over 500,000 products and touched the lives of 80,000 people with this act of kindness and generosity.
MSTS’ very own, Angela Murphy, was selected to be a member of the KC Chamber’s Centurions Leadership Program. This program is a two-year leadership development program filled with emerging leaders all throughout the greater KC area. This was not an easy feat, it takes most applicants multiple submissions before they’re accepted into this prestigious program. The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program dates back to 1976. We are so excited, proud and want to congratulate Angela on this huge achievement.
We recently became members of Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. This membership will allow us beneficial resources to grow personally and professionally. Our team will also have the opportunity to get involved with the Greater KC community through events and community service.
Every year, MSTS hosts a Hackathon for our offices. Teams from our Melbourne and Overland Park offices compete to create a "hack" that would improve something at MSTS. This year, the winning team was, "Team Awesome." Team Awesome found a hack to improve the organization of internal service requests.
Our Senior Vice President, Martha Salinas, was featured on this years' Techweek Kansas City panel. The panel was discussing the changing landscape between FinTechs and Financial Institutions.
Our MSTS Community Action Team spent their weekend at the Ronald McDonald House of Kansas City. The Community Action Team had a blast serving food to the families and getting to know them.
This past weekend, the MSTS team participated in the Hack Midwest Hackathon in Kansas City. MSTS was also a proud sponsor of this event. Let’s start with the basics. What is Hack Midwest? Shashank Date, a MSTS Principal Engineer/Architect, said, “Hack Midwest is an annual event that promotes the hackers within KC area to get together and hack around some cool technological ideas to build a working prototype app within a short duration.” Teams of five are given 24-hours to bring an innovative software application to life. This event is open to anyone and everyone and isn’t exclusive to just programmers. Participants are encouraged to build a team with diversifying skills. There were also teams from Cerner, VML, InTouch, Sprint and Walmart at this years’ event. This event is high energy, high intensity and a whole lot of fun.
This year, our MSTS team built, what they call, a “FridgeBot.” This app allows you to analyze what’s in your fridge by using voice commands and viewing your items. This app will also provide you with additional information like when your food is going to expire, the nutritional information and recipes you can make with the items in your fridge.
The FridgeBot was a huge success, bringing home the prize for “Best Use of Cloudinary API.”
Luis Miranda volunteered at the local IAMCP KC Women in Technology organization luncheon conducting mock interviews with attendees coming into the technology field. lnterviewees entering the technology workforce navigated the session discussing specific topics with the volunteers such as time management, risk management and negotiation skills. The interviewers rated the attendees on their presentations, answered any questions, reviewed their resumes and provided feedback on improving their interview skills.
Eric Biven and Luis Miranda spent their evening talking to students and parents about different careers based in technology and engineering during the Technology and Engineering Night at Liberty High School. MSTS was one of the sponsors of the event where students can learn about the possibilities of technology and engineering based careers.
The event also seeks to inform parents about how these fields can be beneficial to their child for more than a career, but how learning about technology can foster possible life skills that help them with any field. This year we wanted to drive more engagement and find a way to spend more time with the students rather than talking about the industry. Our team held problem solviproblem-solving, awarding the Top 3 winners with a Raspberry Pi. Careers in technology are all about problem-solving, regardless of language or the technology being used, each day we are breaking down customer problems to deliver solutions.
MSTS ITIL practice leader Luis Miranda is the new Secretary for the Kansas City Information Technology Service Management Forum. In 2018 the itSMF will be taking on the following topics:
Machine learning / AI and ITSM – how can they complement each other
Continuous Deployment (automated, high frequency) and Change Management – how to provide the value of Change management in the age of Continuous deployment
Scalable cloud infrastructure and Configuration Management – how to achieve the value of configuration management when the infrastructure is changing (auto-scaling) in the cloud
Bob Heck coordinated the MSTS hosted event on November 27, 2017 to discuss Integrating Agile DevOps with Traditional IT.
Paulo Dominquez from the Federal Reserve presented how Agile and Change Management can complement each other and Greg Rowe the Kansas City Local Interest Group chapter president facilitated the expert panel discussion. Local chapter members from the Kansas City area included MSTS, Cerner and the Federal Reserve with 40 members attending online throughout the US.
MSTS sponsored the HackEDkc where Students from Liberty Public Schools and Kansas City Metro had 24 hours to build their solution and 3 minutes to demo to a panel of judges. The hackathon challenged students to solve a problem in their home, school, or community through the use of technology. Josh Smith and Luis Miranda presented a talk to students about starting their technology careers and helped out with the hackathon.
A group of 12 KU Engineering Students visited the MSTS office to get a taste of software engineering, product management and information technology leadership “in the real world”. During their visit they were able to sit down with Dan to do a deep dive into who MSTS is, spend time with the Product team to get a taste of the culture as well as view a real-life demo from our most recent Hack-a-thon winners. We wrapped up this session with a Q&A session with a panel of team members from our current Engineering teams. Feedback from the faculty and students was very positive. Many commented on the entrepreneurial spirit of our teams and found the MSTS environment to be very welcoming and friendly. The Q&A session gave the students a lot of insight into the working world and they felt like after being here they are better prepared to join the workforce upon graduation.
Eric Biven, Ryan Donnard, Justin Shropshire, Kevin Foster and Luis Miranda set up a booth and spent their evening talking to students and parents about different careers based in technology and engineering during the Technology and Engineering Night at Liberty High School. MSTS was one of the sponsors of the event where students can learn about the possibilities of technology and engineering based careers. The event also seeks to inform parents about how these fields can be beneficial to their child for more than just a career and how learning about technology can foster possible life skills that help them with any field they choose.
Dan Zimmerman, Kirby Montgomery, and Jason Troutner facilitated the discussion at the Kansas City Product Tank meeting. The team presented cliff-note style presentations on three topics key to product manager success: Measurement, Motivation, and Human Irrational Behavior. There was a turnout of over twenty-five product professionals with great networking and sharing of ideas. Thanks to VIN Solutions for hosting and providing snacks!
If you are interested in product management to check out the Kansas City Product Tank group.
We had the opportunity to speak to graduating students of the Computer Information Science program at Johnson County Community College. Bryan Stober, Principal Architect at MSTS, delivered a lecture on the do’s and don’ts of interviewing in the today’s competitive tech industry. This has been a rewarding relationship affording students the opportunity to learn about their future profession and allowed us to share our story. We also participated in JCCC’s Career Fair to share employment opportunities to graduating students who are ready to start their career. Bryan serves on JCCC’s Board of Directors for new curriculum, which aims to help the college align their courseware with the ever-changing world of technology.
Eric Biven, Josh Smith, Naseer Dari and Eric Budd provided mentorship to teams at the University of Kansas Hackathon. The MSTS team was on site Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning providing guidance and support to all of the teams including the winning team.
“The reason I am contacting you is that I may thank you on behalf of my entire group. Because of your help, we were able to win first place!” – KU Hackathon Team Member