We are often asked what makes us different from our competition. The answer is our employees. We are so proud to have the best and the brightest on our team serving your hospitals, practices and schools. From system engineers, who created a unique cloud solution designed for healthcare to a security and compliance team, whose expertise is requested throughout the nation, our employees are our single greatest asset and make us the best IT firm to serve our community.
One Keystone IT team member who has shown he is truly an expert in the IT industry is Aaron Jackson, Director of Consulting. When he joined our team in 2011, he was a natural fit for the company. His talent and skills were without a doubt going to bring him to new heights. In 2014, he received his MBA from Webster University and was promoted to his current position. Since then, Aaron has driven all business development and account management for Keystone IT.
Under his new title, his advanced skills in the IT industry were put to good use. He speaks throughout the midwest on subjects such as HIPAA compliance, cloud computing, wearable technology, healthcare technology trends and more. This year, Aaron was named one of St. Louis Business Journal’s 30 Under 30. Also, he was recognized as a St. Louis Small Business Monthly’s Leader in Technology. Aaron leads a talented group of consultants, who he empowers to be innovative and lend their expertise to their clients and the public. We believe that talented leaders make a strong team. Aaron proves this every day, which is why we wanted to catch up with him to ask how he has gotten to where he is today.
What got you started in the IT field?
“I attended Hubert H. Humphrey Middle School in Bolingbrook, IL. In the 90s, STEM had yet to make a splash in the education industry, but I was lucky enough to be at a school that provided me with the opportunities to discover my interest in science and technology. In middle school, I was part of a program for our students designed to teach us about technology. I arrived at school everyday at 7am with all of my best friends. We learned to build and take apart computers. As someone who was always interested in how things work, I was enchanted by the entire process. Before I knew it, I was taking apart every electronic in my house and putting it back together. Shortly thereafter, I started a business mowing lawns and fixing computers for my neighbors. From 13 on, I worked in IT. It is really all I have ever wanted to do. It is this experience that motivates me to drive our Education IT consulting and support. It is so important that kids get this type of education very early on. STEM initiatives have really changed education, and we are so excited at Keystone IT to be a driving force behind that.”
How did you know Keystone IT was the right fit for you?
“In the same way that my middle school provided me with opportunities to discover my interests, Keystone IT has provided me with endless possibilities in my career. Until I worked at Keystone IT, I had worked in traditional corporate environments. While my skillsets as an IT technician grew, I was held back by the culture and my highly defined role. From the moment I started at Keystone IT, I was encouraged to learn all that I could. I was encourage to take the initiative to solve any issues and increase my education. Within days of starting, I already felt passionate about our clients and the people we served. I could talk directly to our CEO and share with him my career dreams, and he worked with me everyday to make them come true. I had never seen a place like Keystone IT, where the employees are not only valued but pushed to step outside of their boxes to solve any issue.”
What has helped you grow as a leader?
“At the end of the day, the thing I care most about is not my career or advancing through the ranks at Keystone IT or in my field. The thing I care most about is the patients and students our clients serve. I really believe we learn the most from failures and mistakes. Because it is our clients’ clients that I have in my heart and brain – not my ego – I am able to accept when I could have changed the outcome by acting differently in someway. I have grown as a leader by spending time each day processing the decisions I have made, what may have gone wrong or could have been done differently, and consciously making a choice the next time a similar situation arrives to change my reaction, behavior, etc. This is an exercise I encourage each of my consultants and each team member at Keystone IT to do as well.”
What advice would you give people starting in your industry?
“Soak up every drop of knowledge you can. Intern and work in technology roles in both small and large companies. Spend time talking to any expert who will listen to you and research and learn about solutions. There are times when I come across a trend in technology or an issue for a client that I don’t know how to solve. It may not be directly my role to know about the trend or fix the issue, but I always want to know more and know how. It is important in those instances to take a little while and youtube videos or read the trade magazines to figure out what is going on and what our role as a company and my role as an individual can be. Make it a habit now to always be learning and researching.”
Who do you look up to as a leader within your industry?
“I feel like I should probably list Larry Page, Sergay Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, etc. The truth is though, I very much look up to our CEO, Eric Humes. From the moment I started working at Keystone IT, I knew I wanted to do what Eric does. I had never met someone so passionate about his work and so motivated to dramatically change something like healthcare through IT. Eric is driven and dedicated, and he is so willing and ready to disrupt the status quo. I have known from the moment I met him that he and I were cut from the same cloth. He has taken me under his wing and helped me grow as a consultant, technician, leader and person.”
What subject are you most interested in within the IT industry?
“Interoperability is without a doubt the most intriguing thing not just in the Healthcare IT industry, but I would say within the IT industry as a whole. As a country, we have invested so much time and money into HITECH and Meaningful Use, but yet we still very much have an issue of EMR/EHR systems that will not talk to one another and will not transfer data. On one level, it is a very basic problem, where the back end databases are not designed the same. On another level, we have a very difficult problem to fix, because we have millions of entries, thousands of physicians and hundreds of record systems. While our industry is trying to get a grip on the problem, patient care is being dramatically affected. At the end of the day, that data is owned by the patient. The patient should have quick and immediate access to it no matter where they are being treated. Yet at this point, it could take days or weeks to transfer the data. In the meantime, a human life hangs in the balance.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
“I see myself here at Keystone IT. My title may change, but my basic responsibilities will likely be similar. However, in 5 years, I imagine our company may look very different. I hope that in the next 5 years we will have expanded our geographic territory and service offering substantially. I am excited to be a member of the leadership team making the decisions and realizing the possibilities for our future.”