Getting to know datacenter employees: Jaymes Kirkham
Microsoft’s success depends on our people. We are proud to introduce some of the talented folks in your community who work in our global datacenters. Discover what inspired them to seek a career in the tech industry, the different pathways they pursued, and what a day in the life of a datacenter employee looks like.
Introducing Jaymes Kirkham
IT Operations Manager
Employee since 2011
Jaymes was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and moved with his family to Ephrata, Washington when he was four. Jaymes became interested in computers around six when his family got their first computer. “I was hooked, much to my mom’s displeasure. She wanted me to be doing other things.” In high school, Jaymes became a student technician. At the time, his school didn’t have many tech departments or computer labs, and there was only one laptop per kid. “That was really where I cut my teeth professionally. I was actually getting paid, not just fixing people’s computers on the side.” By the time he graduated high school in 2007, the first datacenter in nearby Quincy was finished. He tried to get involved after high school but was told he didn’t have enough experience, in a time before the local Datacenter Academy existed. Jaymes then went on to Central Washington University in Ellensburg and graduated in 2012 with a degree in Information Technology and Administrative Management. He worked for the university his entire time there as a help desk person and Macintosh support.
The path to technology
Technology was always of interest to Jaymes. Right before he completed his degree, Jaymes was hired on the spot by one of the vendor companies that served the Quincy datacenter at the time. He moved up very quickly on the vendor side until a full-time position opened in 2013. When Jaymes started as a technician, there were four Microsoft employees on site. Now, there are more than 300 full-time employees in Quincy. He started as a datacenter project manager and then moved up to a datacenter operations manager within four years. In his first role, he was responsible for everything on the site: critical environments, logistics, security, IT. His current role is similar, but now Jaymes focuses mainly on IT.
Jaymes’ longevity at the datacenter helps him excel during challenges because of his wealth of knowledge. “I know in a lot of cases who to get a hold of and who to talk to. It’s definitely something I help the current team with.” He has interacted with many different teams during his roles and sees that as a strength. “I’ve built these relationships over years and years and years. The company is very big so knowing those people and supporting them while they support us has made things a lot easier.” Jaymes can bridge gaps between teams and is comfortable talking to everyone. “I think I learned a lot from my dad; he’s a retired family physician and he taught me how to speak in clear terms that people understand.”
A day in the life
It is typical for Jaymes to attend a lot of daily meetings. “I help drive the break-fix operations, that’s my bread and butter.” Jaymes’ team is the only team at the datacenter always on call, day and night. The team helps support deployments if there is a need for that throughout the evening shifts. Jaymes is available at all hours, so getting a call in the middle of the night happens on occasion. Most days, Jaymes is helping drive his team through issues whether it be helping things get unblocked or looking for areas of improvement.
Favorite childhood food
Jaymes enjoys a holiday dish that his mom makes that they call a cherry cheesecake. “But it’s not like a cheesecake that you would get at the Cheesecake Factory. It’s in a Pyrex dish with a layer of graham cracker, cheesecake, and then the layer of the cherry pie filling. It’s two inches thick so it’s almost like a deconstructed cheesecake.” Jaymes’ mom was a nurse before they moved to the United States, and the recipe came from the hospital that she used to work at.