Todd Erickson is a solutions architect at World Wide Technology focused mostly on software development in the Advanced Technology Center. He has worked in software development and architecture for the past 10 plus years and has been responsible for several global, enterprise software initiatives in various fields such as supply chain, telecommunications, finance and sales.

Q&A with Todd Erickson

Tell us about your background and how you got into technology.
When I was five-years-old my mother purchased a second hand Commodore 64 for my brother and me. We would go to the library and pick up books and magazines that had snippets of code in them and type that into our computer to make it do things. At the time, we didn’t know we were programming; we just thought it was fun. It wasn’t long before we were modifying the code, instead of copying it, to make the Commodore do things we wanted it to do. It was a great experience and it really pushed me towards a life long obsession not only with software development, but also technology in general.

 

Later, I went to University of Arizona and graduated summa cum laude. During my time in college, I worked part-time as a developer for a solar panel startup and then later for the university in their IT department. Before working at WWT, I worked for a start up as a lead engineer and designed most of their european Wimax billing solution, which Clearwire used for their european operations.

What innovation is happening in technology that has you really excited?
I am really excited by the new innovations and commercialization in robotics, IoT and manufacturing like 3D printers. The technology markets around these areas are in a huge transition right now and it’s an exciting time to see all the new innovations and customer facing products that are being created in this space.
Describe a recent interaction with a customer that lead to solving a problem.
One of the goals of the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) is to let customers interact with the gear we have in the lab through POCs and Demos. The problem we have had in the past is that it can be quite complicated to get the customer access to the equipment because of network and security restrictions. This often required us to do very time consuming and invasive things like create VPN access between our networks, use some type of Citrix middle layer, or when all else failed have their engineers fly into St. Louis and work directly in the ATC. This was a major roadblock for a lot of our customers.

 

In order to streamline this process we created a proxy gateway system our customers could directly connect to allowing them access to equipment in the ATC through our portal application, which is running on HTTPS. This means if the customer allowed HTTPS traffic, which most do, then we could give them access to our gear. This has been a huge differentiator for WWT and a huge benefit to our customers.