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Getting to know datacenter employees: Desmond Liwei Teo

Datacenter Employee Spotlights work to illuminate real-life examples of pathways into IT careers and provide potential role models to those looking to access to inclusive economic opportunities.

Introducing Desmond Liwei Teo

Datacenter Operations Manager

Singapore

Employee since 2013

Early days

Desmond Liwei Teo was raised in Singapore with one younger brother. As a kid, Desmond enjoyed reading fiction, comic books, and Japanese manga, and collecting trading cards.

The path to technology

Desmond was not particularly interested in technology at a young age, but after completing secondary school in Singapore, he needed to figure out what to do with his life. At the time, he could either go on to junior college or polytechnic in Singapore. On a brochure, Desmond noticed that courses in computer network technology would provide a diploma and that the job market was indispensable. “At the time, I was really thinking about job security,” Desmond said. He started the course, and after graduation served his two-year military service in Singapore before beginning his path in technology. Prior to Microsoft, Desmond worked at HP for the On Demand Service program that Microsoft outsourced for site service datacenter technicians in 2009. He moved up from a vendor DC technician to Datacenter Project Manager (DCPM), to DC tech Manager, to Site Operations Manager, and recently was promoted to Datacenter Operations Manager for several Singapore sites.

Superpowers

Desmond prides himself in the ability to face challenges head-on. He usually has a set goal in mind and doesn’t get swayed easily or affected by disapproval from others. He says this can also be a double-edged sword and has had to learn how to interact with his peers and customers to understand their perspectives as well. “I had a hard time trying to learn, but I am grateful for the opportunity and I had a lot of really great mentors and peers who gave me honest feedback. One of my managers gave me the mantra ‘I have to accept the different perspectives of others and achieve a unique situation with everybody.’”

A day in the life

While every day at the datacenter is different, Desmond’s usually starts with meetings with his two teams of technicians for updates from the management perspective as well as senior leader thoughts on the challenges of the day. Desmond does not like to stick to his desk and walks around his sites if he can. “I started as a technician, so I like to see how things are evolving. I don’t want to be a relic of the past, I want to understand what is going on.” He has an open-door concept and encourages coworkers to talk to him whenever they need to. “I don’t really have a fixed schedule, it’s more dynamic. I react to what comes to me.”

Favorite childhood food

While Singapore has a lot of famous dishes like chicken and rice and chicken and crab, Desmond says that his favorite food is more niche. It is a chicken shredded noodle dish, but for him it is more about the memories associated with the dish than the taste. “This was one of the dishes my father would always wake the family up with at five in the morning as a very early breakfast before work and primary school. My father passed when I was very young in my life, so I treasure the memories connected to him. It’s nostalgia.”
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