Alston & Bird: IT staffer talks about the value of flexibility, educational opportunities

IT staffer of 34 years values flexibility

More than 2,300 companies were nominated or asked to participate in the 2018 Top Workplaces contest by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and its partner, Energage (formerly Workplace Dynamics). Employees across the metro area responded to print and online solicitations that began appearing in September.

Using survey results, a list of 150 workplaces was compiled, consisting of 25 large companies (listed below; 500 or more employees), 50 midsize companies (150-499 employees) and 75 small companies (149 or fewer employees).

Doyle Reynolds joined Atlanta law firm Alston & Bird 34 years ago, starting as a temporary secretary for one of the firm’s tax partners before moving full-time into what would become the IT department.

»RELATED: Alston & Bird: Top Large Workplace

Through the years, he has watched both the firm expand into other cities and his own department grow from a small word processing center to a fully developed information technology (IT) department with more than 80 employees firmwide.

All the while, Alston & Bird has offered Reynolds, who is a user account/security administrator, educational opportunities to further his career and flexibility to pursue his passion in the Atlanta theater scene.

Q: Is this your first and only job, or did you have a couple other jobs at Alston & Bird?

A: I started here as a temporary secretary for one of the tax partners. I worked for him for a week, and then the woman who ran the word processing center asked me if I wanted to come down there. Then at the end of the year, they just offered me a full-time job. I’d probably been in word processing for six months and they hired someone to take charge of the firm’s IT because they were wanting to expand the computer system so that everyone would have access to it, and he asked if I would be interested in helping him, and it just kind of went from there.

But the firm has been really good about educating me in the things that I needed. So it is a place that encourages self-starting and motivation because, you know, it does pay off if you prove that you can do a job.

Q: Obviously IT has changed a lot, in 30-plus years. When something new comes out, do they give you the education that you need?

A: Right. We usually get it from the vendors that are selling that particular application and we get it ahead of time. We have a pretty extensive process of vetting things before we roll them out here because we don’t want to panic the users with something new. I mean there are places that have smaller IT departments that just kind of throw it out there.

Q: Why have you stayed here for so long?

A: I take it for granted because this is basically the place I’ve worked most of my adult life, but I realize it does have a very strong identity. To those of us here who work at Alston & Bird, we kind of know what that means, and there’s an expectation that you know what you’re doing and that you’re going to do it with a great attitude.

Another reason I really like it here is the firm’s involvement with the community. I probably never would have started volunteering for the Atlanta Community Food Bank every month had the firm not made that option available.

Q: How are you able to be involved with the food bank?

A: Alston & Bird has a standing shift the third Tuesday of every month, where we send a team in the evening to sort and pack items in the rescue center. Alston & Bird has a couple staff members in HR who schedule various community service projects throughout the year. And the firm grants 15 hours a year to each employee to use on their timesheets for assisting in the projects. The Atlanta Community Food Bank is just a couple miles from the office and a couple miles from my home downtown, so I try and go every month unless I’m doing a show. It’s always been a source of pride for me how much Alston & Bird gives back to the communities where we have offices.

Q: What benefit, or perk, do you take most advantage of here?

A: The flexibility. I usually get here about 8:30-9 a.m., and leave around 5:30 p.m. I take my computer home with me and will sometimes do some follow-up stuff when I get there because we have offices on the West Coast. All the stuff I do can be done from anywhere there’s an internet connection. I don’t physically need to be there. In fact, sometimes, I have a brother who lives in St. Louis and one who lives in California, and I’ll just go to their houses and work from there, just to spend time with their family, but not have to take a week off. And they know I’m accessible because my email’s on the phone, and they have ways of getting in touch with me if there’s an emergency. It’s nice not being micromanaged.

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