In this special edition, meet the expert blog, I've interviewed Polycom's six Distinguished Engineers. Meet these engineers in our "Celebrating Polycom's Distinguished Engineers" blog series.
Today, meet Andrew Lochbaum, DE.
Q: What was your career path to Polycom?
Andrew: My first job out of college was at IBM. I started my career writing assembly code for a mainframe attached graphics workstations. My career at IBM eventually took me to work on a UNIX multimedia library which is where I learned the skills most pertinent to my work here at Polycom. Before leaving IBM for Polycom I worked on Lotus Sametime which is now a Polycom partner and is using our technology.
Q: What are your areas of expertise?
Andrew: My primary area of expertise is in communications protocols and embedded programming. My career at Polycom has mostly been in call signaling and media transport for the video endpoints. I have had major contributions to every video endpoint that Polycom has shipped. In that role I have collaborated with many teams within Polycom to define proprietary protocols and work to deliver standards based solutions. I have had heavy involvement with partner programs, industry players and the standards bodies.
Q: What do you credit as the reason for being promoted to DE?
Andrew: I feel I was promoted to DE due to my following strengths:
Ability to consistently deliver quality software with innovative features
Collaborate with a diverse set of people from engineering to partners, management, marketing and sales
Mentor team members
Investigate and prototype upcoming and existing technologies and disseminate what was learned
Q: What inspires your work?
Andrew: It gives me great satisfaction seeing and hearing the results of my work in action. Being involved in products from conception to a mature offering gives me a sense of pride that is hard to describe.
Q: Tell us about some of the most memorable moments of your career?
Andrew: The most memorable moment of my career is when we were unveiling the HDX at the Polycom global partner conference, TEAM Polycom. At that conference we were demonstrating Polycom’s first HD 720p video conferencing call that also included multiple internal endpoints. I lead the effort for that demo and a lot of people put in many long hours to get it ready. For the demo our executives were on stage making a live call. You should have seen their faces when I told them that there was a 30% chance the system would reboot mid-call (the product was new, after all) and that if it did they would have to fill in for 90 seconds before I could re-establish the call. The demo worked without a hitch and the feeling of accomplishment, pride and relief was overwhelming.
Q: Describe your approach when working with customers, sales people and partners?
Andrew: As should be the case with every employee, customers must take top priority. When I am involved in customer escalations I go the extra mile to investigate and try to solve the problem in the best and fastest way possible. It turns my stomach when I get involved in a customer escalation that has been going on for too long, it is unacceptable.
In my work with all people, including sales and partners, I go to great lengths to come prepared to meetings armed with the information necessary to be productive. When there are deliverables I hate to be someone who is holding up progress so I try to ensure anything expected of me is completed by the time expected.
Q: How do you work with partners and sales teams to address customer needs?
Andrew: I go into every situation with my ears open and try to understand the root of what is being asked of engineering. Through asking questions I may determine that what is directly being asked for can be achieved with different techniques which may open up other opportunities.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
Andrew: In my free time I enjoy working on old cars. I currently have a 1966 Ford Bronco which I have made a lot of updates to and take off road. I also enjoy metal work, wakeboarding, snowboarding and travel.