Posts Tagged 'Houston'

December 24, 2012

Giving From (and For) the Heart

This time of year is often referred to as "The Season of Giving," and we thought we'd share two SLayers' stories about their involvement in the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Like last year, we split up into fundraising teams for the AHA with a goal of raising $100,000. In addition to those fundraising efforts, SoftLayer also encouraged employees to get active and get involved in the annual Heart Walks in Houston and Dallas. Here's our on-location coverage from two team captains who attended those events this year:

Dallas

My name is Fabrienne Curtis, and I work in the Accounting Department at SoftLayer. I joined a team with thirty other people (from several different departments) to raise money for the American Heart Association, and because I love to help and work on community projects, I volunteered to be a team captain. Our team had a ton of great ideas for fundraisers, so we set an ambitious goal of raising $12,400 ($400 per person). When the dust settled, I'm proud to report that we me that goal with a total team tally of $12,488 (which SoftLayer then matched).

Beyond the fundraising, participating in the Dallas Heart Walk at Victory Park was a highlight this year. No one on my team knew that this walk had a personal meaning to me ... I lost my dad to congestive heart failure and wanted to walk in his behalf. When I got to the Heart Walk, I was touched. There was a "Survivor Wall" and there were several signs where you could share who you're walking on behalf of. If not for SoftLayer, I probably wouldn't have participated in the Heart Walk, so as I wrote on the wall and created a sign for my dad, I thought about how good it felt to work for a company that truly cares about the well-being of its employees.

SoftLayer Photo Booth

SoftLayer added a little flair to the event by setting up a photo booth for people to take pictures and take home, and with the help of Don Hunter, Hao Ho and my husband Jerry, 679 photos were taken!

SoftLayer Photo Booth

Here are some pictures I snapped from the 2012 Dallas Heart Walk:

SoftLayer Heart Walk
The Start!
SoftLayer Heart Walk
The SoftLayer "Uniform"
SoftLayer Heart Walk
The Crowd
SoftLayer Heart Walk
Victorious!

Thank you SoftLayer for having a heart! If you want more coverage of this years event, check out this Dallas Heart Walk 2012 video and click through to our Dallas Heart Walk Flickr album.

-Fabrienne

Houston

Dallas didn't get to have all of the fun when it comes to the AHA Heart Walk, and I made sure to document the Houston goings-on to share with our avid SoftLayer Blog readers. From bake sales to ice cream socials, the Houston office was diligent about donating money and raising heart-health awareness for months prior to the 2012 walk, and those months were extremely eventful. Like Fabrienne, I jumped at the opportunity to be one of 18 team captains at SoftLayer, and considering the fact that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans, I was inspired to get everyone involved.

I'll be the first to admit that I am not in the best of shape, so a five-kilometer walk through a course at Reliant Stadium would be pretty challenging. My team had been tirelessly preparing for the 5k "mini-marathon" walk, and as November approached, you could sense the excitement and enthusiasm brewing. Walking only one mile can add up to two hours to your lifespan, so in the process of preparing for the walk, we added quite a few hours to our collective lives. When the big day finally arrived, we were ready:

SoftLayer Heart Walk
The Houston Heart Walk SLayers

Given that our day started at an unbelievable 7:00am on a Saturday, most of our participants were tired-eyed and ready to chow down on the free burritos and fruit provided by SoftLayer, and by the time we fired up the photo booth and broke out the goofy props, everyone was wide awake. It's like they say, "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day ... Give a man fun props and a camera, and he'll have a blast (and pictures that can be used against him." Actually, I don't know if "they" say that, but it's true:

SoftLayer Heart Walk

Before we knew it, a gunshot of glitter and colorful confetti got the crowd of people moving down the 3.1-ish mile track, and we were hooting and cheering, pumped to represent our company! By mile two, my legs were a little wobbly and the sun was scorching, I could see that our dog, Rikku (whom had been carried the entire way) looked was confused about why I was putting her through the exhausting task of being comfortably in my arms as we herded through the people like cattle.

SoftLayer Heart Walk

AHA water stations and mile markers reminded us that we were doing it for the best cause ever: The people we love and the people of the past that have been lost due to heart disease. It's a safe bet that if you don't know someone directly affected by heart disease, you will eventually. The American Heart Association organizes these fundraisers and walks every year across the world to gather donations and raise awareness so that one day, we may be able to conquer this silent killer. With their donations, they're able to participate in research for preventative treatment, provide education to children to avoid obesity and fund medical research that could one day breakthrough and save lives.

All in all it was a wonderful experience, one that I'll definitely be sure to be a part of next year.

-Cassandra

SoftLayer Heart Walk

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August 6, 2012

SoftLayer in the Community - Tour de Pink 2012

Every year, SoftLayer commits to raising money and giving support to a number of charities, and SLayers are all encouraged to submit the organizations and causes that are important to them. Not long after coming to work here, I found myself in a position to pitch one of my favorite charities — Tour de Pink — to Lance and the charity team.

Tour de Pink is one of the major fundraising efforts for The Pink Ribbons Project, a Houston based organization that raises money to fight breast cancer through awareness and educational outreach initiatives. The Pink Ribbons Project supports proper screening for the medically under-served and under-insured population in the Greater Houston Area, and Tour de Pink is the first bike ride in Texas solely benefiting breast cancer awareness and education.

I have been involved with the ride since its inception in 2005, and I manage the logistical support for all of the Pink Pit Stops. The first year of the ride, "support" consisted of me and a guy named Bear, my 1995 Ford Ranger pickup truck, a 25' moving truck with a lift, and 400 pounds of ice. By 2011, we had grown the logistics team to nine dedicated people, four route vans, a roamer and 4000 pounds of ice to support the 2000+ riders traveling seven routes.

Last year was Tour de Pink's seventh, and an opportunity opened up for a company to step in as the presenting sponsor for the ride ... After about six months of official employment with SoftLayer, I knew one thing for sure: If you have an idea, a plan or a cause that matters to you, it's your responsibility to take that idea / plan / cause wherever it needs to go to get addressed — whether it's an opportunity to improve a compliance process or a community cause. I stepped up and brought the idea to SoftLayer's CEO.

In true SLayer fashion, he saw how important the cause was to me, and he quickly commitment SoftLayer's support to the 2011 Tour de Pink.

In addition to the a financial commitment, we provided space in our downtown Houston offices for packet stuffing:

Tour de Pink

And the (infamous?) 3-Bars BBQ team towed the smoker down to Houston to cook up some fine "Q" for the annual Tour de Pink Kickoff Party:

Tour de Pink

SoftLayer VP of Business Applications Development DJ Harris even kicked off the opening ceremonies when the ride rolled around!

After an extremely successful 2011, SoftLayer has extended support for Tour de Pink to 2012! This year's ride is scheduled for September 16, and it will starting from and coming back to the Prairie View A&M University campus. While SoftLayer is the major underwriter of this ride, it's still a fundraiser, and that's where the rest of us come in. The monies that go out into the community are raised through registration of individual riders and teams and from their collective fundraising efforts.

If you want to roll with the cool kids (and believe me, SoftLayer IS cool) and you plan on being in the Houston area mid-September, surf on over to www.tourdepink.org and sign up to join us!

I hope to see some of you out on the ride, but until then, may the wind be always at your back ... and 3-Bars for Life!

-Val

Categories: 
May 7, 2012

Syncing (Not Sinking) with SoftLayer

I've been with SoftLayer for two months now, but somehow I still find myself in the "honeymoon phase" of company pride and spirit. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to compete in the 12th Annual Texas Dragon Boat Race with many of my coworkers, and I learned that teamwork is more than just "working well together."

Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon Boat Racing is a lot more brutal than it looks. While a good team will look like they're effortlessly and rhythmically gliding through the water, they're still pushing their bodies to the limit ... Just watch some of our SLayers try to hobble around the office today, and you'll see that the competition wore us out. The experience was more than just a good time (and a reason many of us are still sore); it reinforced to several of us — especially newer employees like me — that SoftLayer is more than just a "company" or an "employer."

SoftLayer's founders wanted to create a an environment — a culture — unlike any other, and from my perspective, they were phenomenally successful. You don't have to take my word for it, though. SoftLayer is a regular on those "Best Companies to Work For" lists, specifically because the company encourages employees to get smarter, get healthier, have fun and and enjoy coming to work. Now that I think about it, I need to get the management team to provide some free Bengay the next time we get out in the dragon boats!

The dragon boat races provided me an opportunity to meet and get to know some of the SLayers I hadn't met yet, and it was wild to see how quickly we shared a sense of camaraderie and pride to be SLayers as we raced down Buffalo Bayou in Houston.

Beyond the fun and physical exertion of the weekend, one valuable lesson I think we all took away from this experience is that staying "in sync" can prove to be difficult at times. Once we learn to anticipate each others strokes, we became a stronger team ... The obvious parallels to our day-to-day responsibilities at SoftLayer should speak for themselves.

I'm proud to be a SLayer and thankful that SoftLayer creates both an extraordinary place to grow our careers and an awesome environment to make great friends. I hear we might be planning to continue this tradition, and if so, SoftLayer can count on us to be there to support our coworkers. If you're interested in joining us, we have positions for all sorts of skill sets (and I'm proposing we give additional brownie points to applicants with rowing experience)!

- Cassandra

Categories: 
October 2, 2011

SoftLayer is Coming to Town

As many of you know SoftLayer is going global. Our Singapore DC goes live TOMORROW, and Amsterdam will follow suit shortly, so we put together a little "jingle" that I think you might know. It might be September, but if the stores are already putting out holiday items, Christmas songs should be fair game in October ... And since we are entering that last stretch of work before those great end-of-the-year national holidays that give us a few days off, we can use a classic tune to help us power through.

To those of you who love the song, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," you may not want to play the video below. To those who want to rubberneck at our goofiness and join us in a little fun ... play away:

If you want to sing along at home (because who wouldn't?), here are the lyrics for your karaoke pleasure:

SoftLayer is Coming to Town

You better watch out!
Competitors cry!
They're gonna pout
I'm telling you why,
SoftLayer is comin' to town

We're setting up racks
and hiring staff
We're gonna open up our Singapore branch
SoftLayer is comin to town

We're not only in Asia
We'll be in Europe too
We know that you've been waiting for this
So don't miss our big debut.

You better watch out!
Competitors cry!
They're gonna pout
I'm telling you why,
SoftLayer is comin' to town.

With two data centers and two network PoPs
Shiny new servers and cables wired up
SoftLayer is comin' to town.

DC CRAC Units that condition and cool,
Power and network in the SoftLayer Pods too.
SoftLayer is comin' to town.

The SLayers and our clients
will have to celebrate.
We're expanding SoftLayer's footprint,
Far beyond the United States.

You better watch out!
Competitors cry!
They're gonna pout,
I'm telling you why,
SoftLayer is coming to town.

Shout-outs go to all the SLayers who indulged us in this little song. We hope it's less embarrassing than you expected ... And if it's more embarrassing, we hope it's as terrible and catchy as "Friday."

Tip: If the song is stuck in your head now, one great way to distract yourself from it is to go and order a server in Singapore!

-@SKinman454

June 2, 2011

3 Bars | 3 Questions: SoftLayer Culture

In the first 7 episodes of the 3 Bars | 3 Questions series, you've had the chance to meet some interesting people who work for SoftLayer. In the last installment, Paul Ford chose "The Mitch" as the next participant, and that's a bit of a curve ball. "The Mitch" isn't exactly a SoftLayer employee, but he is a character born out of the Softlayer culture, so he qualifies for an interview:

Given our company culture and the time our team spends together in the office, these kinds of jokes are pretty common, and works is a lot more fun as a result. If you want to join the "tens" of fans referenced in the video, find "The Mitch" on Facebook and "Like" accordingly.

If you want to get your very own (extremely rare and valuable) personalized copy of "The Mitch," mail your head shot to "The Mitch" c/o SoftLayer Technologies, 4849 Alpha Road, Dallas, TX 75244. And yes, employees who haven't been lucky enough to receive a print are eligible to participate as well.

-@toddmitchell

EDIT: "The Mitch" is in high demand at the cPanel office: http://sftlyr.com/a9. They might need a limited-edition cPanel-specific run.

January 25, 2011

Free Sodas: A Perk of Becoming a SLayer

Unless you've taken up residence under a proverbial rock, you know that we have had some changes over the last few months. The dust is beginning to settle after the merger, and the future has never looked brighter. When we said, "Bigger, Better, Badder" ... We meant it! We've hit the ground running and we need of a few more people to come along for the ride. We pride ourselves on finding the best talent to join our team. A quick search of the web and you will find more than one article worth tooting our horn about including:

The list goes on, but under the pretense of humbleness, I will stop there. With all the growth and expansion it's only natural that the number of SoftLayer job postings has been increasing. We are poised for success and invite you to come see what we have to offer.

As mentioned in the title, free sodas are a cool perk, but we offer so much more. Here are just a few other things to consider:

  • Medical and Dental Insurance
  • 401K – company matching after only 90 days of employment
  • Life, AD&D, short and long term disability at no charge to the employee
  • Free snacks/sodas in all of our offices
  • PTO and company Holidays
  • The ability to update your Facebook profile to show that you are employed at SoftLayer Technologies

Take a moment to peruse the job listings at http://www.softlayer.com/about/careers/ and see what your next career could be. You can apply online in a matter of minutes. Check back often, as we are on our way to being the Biggest, Bestest, Baddest!

-Tracy

Categories: 
November 25, 2010

Introducing B3

The last 2 months have been full of surprises and a little stressful for all employees involved. The Planet and Softlayer have been merged into a giant, yet powerful organization. SoftLayer’s CEO Lance Crosby has taken control and he has been very clear on his vision. Yesterday in Houston was “Introduction to Softlayer” and Lance was very open seems to be a person who holds no punches. He stated the vision and path the company has chosen and gave us an overview of what it takes to be the leading IaaS provider.

During our 2.5 hour meeting Lance was clear and to the point on how his "family" is growing and I agree this will feel like a very large family soon. Lance gave us an open forum and the ability to throw out any question we saw fit, and we did with no holds barred. He never once dodged a question, he just answered them. This is how Softlayer is and will continue to be, we will be straight shooters to you and all our customers alike. This is what makes me excited to be part of Lance's team.

We covered everything from upcoming services to be offered, to a global footprint being key. He said sales and support need to follow the sun; so no matter where you are in the world you will have the same level of support. He talked about how the "family members" are the driving forces with new innovations and bleeding edge technology. Where else can you be told your hardware will be ready in 4 hours. (Rackspace, I say nay). So our competition needs to look out because we will not be touched, why?

Because, we are BIGGER BETTER BADDER!

-Lee

November 23, 2010

Merger Anxiety

It seems like just yesterday I was writing a blog about my confessions of being a new Planeteer. After being laid off after 13 years with the same company, rumors of a merger were feeding my anxiety. I know change is inevitable, just like taxes and picking the slowest line wherever I go, but I was not ready for more shake ups just yet. I am still getting to know everyone and getting used to the company. I pride myself on avoiding office politics and gossip as much as possible, but the water cooler mongers were relentless! Should I look for a job? Will I be let go? Will I have to pursue the Wal-Mart greeter job that I am convinced would be stress free? The months since the announcement were hard. Our leaders did a great job of keeping us informed, but there was only so much information that could be shared. I continued as I always had, focused on my work and trying not to worry about what would come. There is a great saying, it is what it is. I could not stop this train and my freaking out would only bring stress to me and my family. So I took a deep breath and waited.

Last week when the signatures were in place and the “new world” was official, I found out that I was fine. My job was not impacted. I breathed a sigh of relief and immediately begin to wonder what was around the corner. It has been a hectic week. Some of my Planeteers have chosen to move on to other avenues, and some were informed they had to. With any type of business merger, there is always sorrow and joy mixed into your day. I am excited about the changes. The more I hear about what SoftLayer has to offer, the happier I am to be part of day one. The biggest focus was not to impact our customers and everyone has done a fabulous job. So as mail servers are merged and phone systems are integrated it is fun to get to know our new colleagues. We have come together as a team long before the ink was dry and I feel that each tomorrow will bring more and more excitement.

I will always think fondly of The Planet, but I will wear the SoftLayer colors with pride. After all, I have almost 12 more years to go!

-Tracy

September 30, 2009

See You in Houston!

Next week a crowd of SoftLayer peeps are making the H-Town connection at cPanel Conference 2009. Representatives from the support, operations, sales, development, and management teams will be out in full force meeting, greeting, and learning. The conference is from Monday Oct 5 to Wednesday Oct 7 at the Hilton Americas Houston Hotel. Stop by our booth if you'd like to chat. We're throwing a reception for our awesome customers and partners at the lobby bar on Monday at 9pm. If that's not enough, yours truly will be giving a talk on Tuesday about how to extend cPanel and WHM through a 3rd party API. Y'all get three guesses as to whose API we're showing off. :) Bring your ripest fruits and vegetables and ready your air horns. It's been a while since I've had a good, old-fashioned heckling.

Come on out if you can make it. We love getting to know the folks who pay our salaries. ;) See you there!

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