August 04, 2009, 2:56 PM — I have had the pleasure of knowing of Paul Negron for a while now. In fact looking at my network I find I have had a couple of email exchanges over the past couple of years. So When I decided to go to Glendale, California to visit with Narbik’s boot camp there this week I was excited to learn I would also be meeting with Paul. So after leaving the wife and kids in NYC to spend the week running around and having fun, I flew out to Burbank Airport. When I did meet with Narbik I discovered Paul could not make it. So instead I had to settle for a very long phone call with him. Paul is a great guy and I soon learned of his infectious passion for technology and teaching. I enjoy hearing guys like him talk because they never talk about money just their love for what they do and where they do it. In fact we share a view about the value of the CCIE certification outside of the US and UK. Many network engineers in those two countries use certification to improve their careers and to enhance their earnings potential. In many more countries the CCIE certification is a way to escape poverty. Really, many of the engineers who share their journeys with me are talking about how the CCIE certification allowed them to start whole new lives away from the desolate conditions they grew up in. I share that feeling about my youth and the grip of poverty. So learning about Narbik and Paul working to take the lowest priced boot camps around the world was exciting for me.
Exciting is the new effort underway for both Narbik and Paul to hold boot camps at the same time in some great locations. In fact the first of this new concept of boot camps is coming up in September in Cairo. Paul will be holding the SP boot camp while Narbik conducts the R&S. These are being offered in different rooms in the same location.
So I had a chance to ask Paul a few questions…
Q: I am interested to learn about you. Can you tell me how you got into IT as a career?
A: Ya know Eman…Some people talk about how they worked so hard to get where they are. I was given a chance by a gentleman who took a chance on me based on my military experience. It ended up being a good fit and took advantage of every opportunity that I was blessed and presented with. I did Satellite Communications in the Military which just happened to give me a slight advantage.
Q: Did you have a mentor?
A: I have several. Wendell Odom is a notable one. I have never met someone with such humility in my life. Narbik has become an overall mentor as well. He has taught me so much about the business aspects of what I do and has kept me from making a lot of mistakes that are common for people like me in this industry. To them and others I am eternally grateful. They are living examples of how to serve people better.
Q: When did you move into instructing and why?
A: I moved into instruction due to some bad instructors I had in the past.