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An Interview with our New Chief Operating Officer Jeremy Scardino
Read the exclusive interview with StratusGrid's COO Jeremy Scardino. Gain insights into his vision, leadership, and the future of cloud technology.
StratusGrid recently hired our first Chief Operating Officer, Jeremy Scardino, who brings extensive experience as a global operations leader in the IT industry. Now that Jeremy has completed his first month at the company, we invited him to sit down for a brief interview to help officially introduce him.
Jeremy Scardino - Chief Operating Officer
Jeremy, what initially intrigued you about joining the StratusGrid team?
Multiple things, really. When talking with Chris [Hurst, CEO] early in the process, we hit it off pretty quickly. I liked his approach to problem solving and I thought our skill sets complemented each other nicely. I soon met the other leaders from across the business and was impressed with what each of them brought to the team as well. As I learned more about the mission and vision, I realized they aligned to my passions around building winning teams and launching differentiating products, and I was even more intrigued at that point. But it was really the heart and soul of StratusGrid—the amazing team of people executing the mission day in and day out—that excited me the most. As I got to know more and more folks throughout the organization, they not only gave me confidence in our ability to win, they made it obvious I would enjoy coming to work every day and collaborating with them. The people at StratusGrid and the culture they have created together are truly amazing.
What makes them stand out from other companies you have interacted with?
I have been fortunate in my career to have worked alongside some of the most talented people, contributed to some incredibly strong products, and been welcomed into some of the most amazing cultures. StratusGrid is right at the top of that list. I could continue bragging about the culture here or how strong our team is, and I could talk about the tremendous growth StratusGrid has experienced over the past few years, but there’s something else that stands above the crowd and continues to impress me: StratusGrid provides an environment that allows the best idea to win, regardless of where or whom it comes from. I have heard many companies pay lip service to this notion, but you rarely ever see it actually play out that way. At StratusGrid, just about every big idea is circulated with the entire organization for feedback before we implement it to ensure we are gathering and considering as many ideas and perspectives as possible. It’s inspiring to see the level of participation and witness how other people’s ideas are truly embraced throughout the company. When talking with people in the organization before I officially joined, many echoed a common theme: they felt their voice was actually heard here more than at any other company they’ve worked in their career. The level of investment going into our team’s environment and professional growth is quite refreshing, to say the least. In fact, StratusGrid is taking an intentional approach with its investment into achieving optimal balance throughout the relationship between nurturing our team, delighting our customers, and sustaining our financial success. Many companies struggle in this area and may never find the right balance, if they even have the goal at all. I have been impressed that, while StratusGrid is still a somewhat early stage startup, we already have this tenet baked into our DNA and take great care to instill it in all that we do. We believe true success means growing all three areas equally and if we go too heavy on only one or two, we will never be able to reach our full potential as a company. The fact that this is so core to who we are, speaks volumes about the integrity and the foresight of the team here. I feel lucky to have been invited to be part of it and help carry this vision forward.
What initiatives are you most excited about moving forward with at StratusGrid?
I first have to say that the growth at StratusGrid has been incredible and continues to come quite rapidly. I’d venture to say that, if it wasn’t for the sheer talent and drive for excellence possessed by everyone in the company, I’m not sure we would have been able to survive it. We hit the ground running in 2022 and have a lot of exciting initiatives in flight today that are going to help us more eloquently scale while also allowing us to pick up even more momentum. It’s important to add that we don’t look at Operations as simply operating a business–we look at Operations as continuously collaborating, designing, building, and improving. With these initiatives, we’re going to do just that! I’m excited to collaborate with our Growth, Services, Product, and Ops teams to ensure they are set up for success with an improved infrastructure in place and a strengthened ability to deliver value to customers, regardless of scale. It’s those types of initiatives, the cross-functional initiatives in which we get to partner and collaborate to achieve excellence together, that excite me the most.
Where do you see StratusGrid in the next year? Two years? Five years?
At the end of the year, I believe we will have an even stronger foundation beneath our feet that enables us to scale rapidly while consistently delivering the value and quality StratusGrid is known for to the market. I won't be surprised at all to see us reach double our current size this same time next year, and I feel we’ll just be getting warmed up! We will continue to grow at a staggering pace over the next two to five years and you should see us making quite a splash with disruptive products that change the way teams adopt and deploy applications to the cloud. StratusGrid is one of the best in the business at building and operating mission-critical platforms in the cloud and I am excited for the market to experience how that will combine with our product roadmap.
What is your operational mantra, and how will you apply this to StratusGrid?
I don’t know if I can effectively sum up my operational approach with a single mantra, but one thing I have been known to say quite often—some may argue a little too often—over the years is: “Embrace the storm!”
It’s fairly well known that, in the 1960s, a psychologist named Bruce Tuckman introduced the FSNP model. The idea is that when developing groups or building teams, we go through four stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing (FSNP). Of course, we are all too eager to finally reach the Performing stage, in which we get to make hitting targets look so effortless! The Storming stage, on the other hand, is one of the more dangerous and risky stages, as it’s during this stage that the environment can become chaotic, dysfunction can take root within the team, and things can fall apart if you are not careful. However, I have found that more often than not, when we allow ourselves to embrace it, we can learn the most from the Storming stage. When kicking off new organizations, or initiatives, or even project teams, I like to talk through all the stages as a group. We always take care to spend extra time breaking down and discussing the Storming stage. I believe it’s important that we all accept it for what it is and talk about what it might look like when we get there so we can go in eyes wide open. I like to challenge my teams to actually try and look forward to the Storming stage and treat it as a gift, or, at the very least, an opportunity to experiment, learn what works, what doesn’t work, and collaborate on the solution to get us to the next stage as quickly as possible. I have found that when approached in this way, some of the best ideas and strongest team bonding moments can come out of the Storming stage. So, don’t dread the storm— embrace the storm!
What do you do for fun?
I love spending time with my family and friends, being outdoors, and doing just about anything creative! I mountain bike, hike, camp, and snowboard. I also like to work with wood–or really just build things in general, and I try to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, when possible. When I can do any of those things with my family and friends, it makes it all that much more enjoyable. This summer, I took my two boys—9 and 11 at the time—to Colorado and we hit the downhill mountain bike park for two days and then we set off on a four-day backpacking excursion. We hiked all day before we reached a mountain lake at the edge of the tree line where we camped a few nights and lived out of our packs. We had a blast and made some amazing memories on that trip!
What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
I love cereal, but I don’t really treat myself to a bowl too often these days. That said, you can’t go wrong with my childhood favorite: Fruity Pebbles!
Fun story: Here in Texas, some of our Mexican food restaurants have something they call “Fried Ice Cream” on their dessert menus. It’s not really fried, but rather a scoop of ice cream is rolled in some kind of crunchy, cereal-like coating, giving it a “fried” texture. As my kids were enjoying an order of fried ice cream at a restaurant one evening, I thought, “What if the ice cream was rolled in Fruity Pebbles instead?” A week or two later, we tried it at home and it was a huge hit!