We operate as a global organization here at Dynatrace. With thousands of employees around the world, there is a blend of unique talents, interests and stories. I’m excited to share one of those stories with you now. Last week, I saw that a member from our service team had a very interesting site visit with one of our customers.
Dennis Mispelbaum didn’t just take a plane out to assist this customer – he flew the plane himself! I chatted with Dennis to learn more about his background and how this interesting visit came about.
Before we dive in, can you tell me a little about your background?
I grew up in Germany in a small city close to the Dutch border, 45 minutes west of Cologne. After my Abitur (German entrance qualification for University), I earned my bachelors in “Scientific Programming,” in Aachen. I later moved to Frankfurt, where I earned my Masters in “IT Management,” at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz.
How long have you been an employee at Dynatrace?
I joined Dynatrace in February 2014 as a delivery consultant and attended the PDP program in Detroit until July 2014. While with a previous employer, I was already involved in performance relevant topics concerning software projects. The PDP program appealed to me, as it combined my desire to work abroad and I could continue to explore a career in the application performance management space.
What is your current role within the organization?
Today, I live close to Frankfurt and I provide support for Dynatrace clients, especially those in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). As a delivery consultant, I support clients, provide training or analyze their performance problems.
Have you always had an interest in aviation? How long have you had your pilots license?
As a child I was in love with helicopters and had that (maybe) typical dream of becoming a helicopter pilot. However, reality kicked in and after many years, I believed my eye-sight was not sufficient to pass the medical examination. I had let go of that dream and didn’t even think of aviation at all, until I moved to Frankfurt.
Every day, I saw planes landing and one day I thought, well, what about general aviation and a private pilot license? Would that work with the medical requirements? It turned out that it wouldn’t be a problem at all. So, at that time in 2013, I asked myself: why wait, just do it now!
Since then, my predilection for helicopters changed to planes, and I began the private pilot classes at a local flying college. I am very happy that I did it. Aviation has become my favorite hobby and I find it’s a great way to keep yourself fit, both mentally and physically.
Why fly to a client, when you have other means of transportation?
Simple answer: why not? 😊 To answer your question, flying myself doesn’t work for every customer engagement, due to the numerous preparations and requirements I’d need to run through. If the situation is right though, I think it is a welcome change compared to the many times I am not flying to a customer.
For this respective visit, a car drive or train trip would have taken me at least 3 hours. The Autobahn also doesn’t run straight to their location. So even with German speeds (no speed limit on Autobahn 😉) it would have taken a lot of time and traffic would have slowed me down anyway. The flight time was just 55 minutes (90 Nautical Miles or 104 Miles/167 Kilometers for non-aviation enthusiasts) and even with all the preparation tasks to run through, I saved a valuable amount of time. And – it was much more fun!
How do the customers respond when they learn you’ve arrived by flying yourself there?
Some with a smile, some with disbelief. But when they realize that I really flew in, it becomes the perfect icebreaker. Normally, most people are interested in aviation and I’ll frequently get the question, “how much does it cost?“ or I’ll be told, “I was also thinking of getting my license one day.” I think they are happy that they can finally get information about aviation from someone “first hand”.
Not all superheroes wear capes Dennis, so you need a nickname! Can we call you “Master of the Clouds?”
I wouldn’t say I am a “Master of the Clouds,” as I am not mastering the clouds! (Flying visual means you are avoiding the clouds and are not allowed to fly through them)
Recently, I did my IFR (Instrument Flying Rules) certification though. Flying IFR means you are following a designated route and flying by instruments, thus also through clouds in case they are on your route.
With this certification, I guess “Master of the Clouds” is partially true, but then, I wouldn’t call myself a superhero either. I would rather put it in an “IT”-way. Let’s say, I am “cloud certified,” and happy to combine my hobby and my job, with the help of a very flexible employer.