Sean McMillin

"I design, build and configure all of the devices our end users touch on a daily basis but also build all the systems those devices interface with. I, along with the whole systems team, kind of function like a Swiss army knife. If someone needs help we can jump in and help."

Sean McMillin

Systems Administrator

What did you work on yesterday?

Yesterday I went to a client site with a few of my colleagues to work on some equipment we had previously built. Today I’m working on the same kind of thing but in our Ridgeline office. The system I’m building directly impacts their ability to do their job every day. It helps keep them safe. Getting things right on my end is really important. I also worked on strategies to automate the deployment of equipment. Automating deployments prevents us from having to repeat the same work over and over again and gives us more time to engineer new solutions to support our clients. The last thing I worked on was a testing strategy to determine the best equipment to support our client's unique needs. The testing compared performance, form-factor, and price - the key considerations for our clients.

How would you describe what you do at Ridgeline?

I design, build and configure all of the devices our end users touch on a daily basis but also build all the systems those devices interface with. I, along with the whole systems team, kind of function like a swiss army knife. If someone needs help we can jump in and help. We have a lot of insight into what everyone else is doing throughout our team and throughout the company. We’re exposed to a lot of different technologies. At my last job, everyone had a very specific focus and didn’t really deviate from working on that problem set. At Ridgeline, everyone collaborates. We each have an expertise and focus, but when there’s a problem to be solved, everyone puts things out to the group and we work on it together.

Why did you come to Ridgeline?

I was a referral from another employee. I was unhappy at my previous job because I had hit a plateau and didn’t see a path I wanted to pursue. When I visited Ridgeline, everyone seemed happy to be there. The questions they asked in the interview peaked my interest because it was stuff I hadn’t worked on before. I saw Ridgeline as a great opportunity to learn new things and grow beyond what I’d worked on previously. I also liked the people I interviewed with. It seemed like a different kind of company.

I was just a number at a large company, but Ridgeline is small and people really care about each individual person on the team. It also has a different mindset than large companies - it’s a lot more relaxed. The mentality of leadership is that they want people to be able to walk over to anyone and ask for help or advice. It’s not buttoned up. You don’t have to send an email or schedule a meeting. The whole atmosphere is one of openness.

Why have you stayed at Ridgeline?

I like my team. I really like my boss. I think the company cares. I get to work on really cool things I’ve never been able to work on before. The benefits are great but for me it all goes back to the fact that my work makes a difference for our clients every day. I have so much interesting work to do and I really like what I’m doing. It’s hard to stop at 40 hours because my work sparks such a genuine interest for me.

What advice would you give to someone considering working at Ridgeline? Why should they do it? Why should they not?

I succeed in an environment with no set deadlines, no hard and fast goals, shifting timelines, and thinking on my feet. Some people don’t. Some people need an enterprise structure that clearly delineates important dates, goals, and clear tasking. Ridgeline is probably not the place for you if you’re looking for that kind of structure.

A piece of advice I’d offer is that just because a job description says you need something, it’s not a barrier at Ridgeline if you don’t. The important part is being willing to dive in and learn. I knew nothing about Linux when I interviewed but they were totally fine with that. I said I wanted to learn it and that was good enough for them.

Another piece of advice is that the benefits structure is real. A lot of people think it’s too good to be true or a scam of some sort. It’s not. We’re more aligned with Silicon Valley than government contractors in NOVA.

What kind of things do you enjoy outside of work?

I like working with my hands. I like to pick things up and learn how they work – cars, tinkering, pulling things apart. My fiancé and I travel a lot – I love to figure out what a particular place is all about. What makes the people there tick. I’m a big history buff, video game enthusiast, and like to cook. I put in a lot of hours at Ridgeline because I am so energized by the work, but also feel very fulfilled in my personal life.