Mike Strickler—Moving Projects Forward and Improving Processes
Meet Network & Infrastructure Manager Mike Strickler, who juggles many tasks in his position at Pearl Technology. Though the job may be difficult at times, you’d never know it by speaking with Mike—he just talks about his love for the challenges and people involved in the work he performs.
How He Serves
An employee of Pearl Technology for 11 years, Mike manages the IT Solutions team out of the Peoria Heights office. That includes the service desk, the Network Operations Center (NOC), and the implementations team. He’s involved in all aspects of revising documentation and operating processes, ensuring the technicians have the tools and training they need to serve our clients.
“I have spent most of my career at Pearl as a technician helping customers,” Mike said. “Since moving to a management role, my primary objective is to keep things moving forward. I work to improve processes, bring in better tools and technologies, and take care of our technicians so they can do what’s best for our clients.”
Yep, that’s “all.” Mike’s a busy guy, to be sure. Prior to joining the team at Pearl Technology, he worked at L.R. Nelson, an irrigation supplier purchased by Bosch Power Tools. While there, he wore many hats, too… help desk, system and network administration, and more. In fact, Mike has been working in some form of IT for about 20 years.
Mike’s first contact with Pearl was at L.R. Nelson. “They had used Pearl Technology to assist with implementing their new IT infrastructure and IP phones. Our network administrator’s wife worked for Pearl, and he’d been approached by the company. When I was notified that my job at Bosch was ending due to the company closing, my first phone call was to Pearl Tech to see if they had any openings. My experience as a customer had been great, and I loved the culture. My desire to work in customer service and IT made it a perfect fit.”
What Motivates Him
Mike loves the challenges in his job. “Technology changes constantly. Working for and supporting a single company can become stagnant, as things don’t change as frequently. But, at Pearl Tech, we’re working with more than 100 businesses, and every day brings something new to learn or overcome.”
And Mike’s excited about the future. “Pearl Technology has positioned itself very well with recent acquisitions and a wide range of technology service offerings. The sky’s the limit. Cybersecurity is only going to become more necessary in the future, and the pandemic moved teleworking abilities to the forefront. Today’s businesses must be more flexible, providing a hybrid of physical, on-site IT equipment and virtual cloud services. We are able to help them with all aspects of it.”
A few years ago, a power pole outside a client’s building was hit by lightning, and all their systems went down. “I was able to arrive on-site, calm everyone down, and provide reassurance that we were going to do everything we could to bring their business back online. I identified the extent of the system damages, provided workarounds to get their business back up the same day, and offered a project plan to resolve any lingering issues. I enjoy helping people and businesses with solutions like that.”
What He Believes
No business is immune to cyber threats. “A few years ago, Pearl Tech hosted an FBI agent as the keynote speaker. The agent said something that stuck with me, and I share it with clients all the time: No business can 100% prevent cyberattacks. Businesses need to invest in enough security/protection to avoid being the low-hanging fruit. Most attackers are just doing drive-by attacks, and if they see you’ve invested in security, they are more likely to keep going to an easier target.”
Mike says his work philosophy is simple: “Keep moving forward. Everyone has bad days. Most of the time when a client calls us it’s because they are having a bad day. It’s our job to do our best to improve their day. There’s always going to be bumps in the road and times we’re pushed backward, but I always look for ways we can move forward.”
What Sustains Him
Married for 12 years, Mike lives with his wife, two twin boys (7), and daughter (3) in Pekin, Illinois. They have one cat and a dog. In his free time, Mike enjoys traveling and camping. He’s been to most of the continental U.S. but not the West Coast (yet), along with four other countries (Canada, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and Mexico).
Mike and his family love amusement parks (rollercoasters) and movies—any genre with a good story. He says board games are big at their house, but they are running out of storage space due to all they have purchased in the last decade.