Faces of the Industry: Kevin Witt
Faces of the Industry: Kevin Witt
IT Manager • BeLit Inc./True House • Loganville, Georgia
How’d you get into this industry?
I got into the industry in 1996 when my uncle Jim Finkenhoefer, who owned Truss Systems in Oxford, Georgia, offered me a summer job after my freshman year in college. I moved from Iowa down to Georgia and worked there for a couple of years. I eventually graduated from Arizona State with a Bachelors Degree in interdisciplinary studies, majoring in business and history. After I graduated, I went back to Georgia to work as a truss designer. Eventually, I became a software consultant for Alpine and MiTek, and have been the IT manager at BeLit Inc. since 2014.
What’s your favorite part about being in this industry? What could you do without?
My favorite part of the industry is the exchange of ideas of how people are trying to do things better. You get to hear what a lot of different people are doing, and you learn how to either incorporate some of those ideas into your processes, or just incorporate that different perspective as you try to make improvements.
In my experience, having discussions with software vendors is important to exchanging new and different ideas. For example, while they are not new concepts, APIs are relatively new to our industry. Using them to work with our vendors to make sure they can communicate together helps a CM track data more efficiently and accurately without relying on one person or multiple employees. Sharing this information with vendors is a win-win for everyone as it provides CMs with more timely decision-making abilities.
My least favorite part is the software development cycle. Everything always takes a little bit longer to get released than you would really like. Whether it is a new offering from Microsoft, or a new way of communicating between platforms, it would be better if it all happened faster.
What challenges do you see for the industry in the future, and what should SBCA be working on now to meet those challenges?
I think our biggest challenges going forward will be centered around labor. Getting and keeping good people is always hard, but it seems to be more of an issue today. Everyone needs to be evaluating what tech is out there that can change the work somebody has to do and potentially make it more attractive to today’s workforce.
Rather than swinging a hammer, we should be looking more at having that individual manage a machine or several machines at once. As we compete with other industries and technology changes, the jobs and skill sets need to change, too. Thankfully, the industry is getting there as more people are becoming open to new technologies and processes. I think SBCA should continue what it is doing in letting people know what the component industry is all about and the many opportunities that are available within the industry.
What is your company, market, or SBCA chapter focused on right now?
From an IT standpoint, we are working on building a more efficient and robust environment at each of our facilities and in the cloud (virtual network). We are taking advantage of the tools that are available to us in order to make sure our network is able to handle the challenges that arise.
Our company is moving to a new cloud-based program that will allow all of our locations to access and work off of the same digital server at the same time. We will no longer have to worry about having a physical location for a server and database, which end up needing costly replacement over time.
The new digital setup will allow us to lease computing capacity, which has been designed to support high graphics resources such as large CAD-based platforms. Whether it is the coronavirus pandemic, a hurricane, or having flexibility for our staff, we want to make sure we have the ability to keep doing what we need to do from wherever our employees are at.
When you’re not thinking about trusses, what keeps you busy?
My seven-year-old daughter, Sophie, keeps me pretty busy most of the time when I am not at work. We are either off at one of her activities or hanging out with friends and family down at the lake.