Jobs at DOC: Simon Strombom, Enterprise Services Manager

Department of Conservation —  20/02/2015

Come behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Today we profile Simon Strombom, Enterprise Services Manager.

At work…

Some things I do in my job include:

Running teams that support DOC’s IT systems.

Profile shot of Simon while attending an IT conference.

Attending an IT conference

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by:

Maintaining and developing DOC’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) capacity.

The best bit about my job is:

My staff. You cannot beat staff that are dedicated and enthusiastic.

Simon holding a chainsaw.

Spending the weekends on DIY

The funniest DOC moment I’ve had so far is:

That, having worked in a number of IT roles in Wellington, this is the first one that, when I told my sons I was taking the role, they both said “cool”.

The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is:

A hard one, given I have just started. I think anyone who has worked in the field always brings a valued view to the organisation.

On a personal note…

Most people don’t know:

I served in Afghanistan with the New Zealand Defence Force—in the Army Reserves in Kabul, during the summer of 2008. I was decorated in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2009 for leadership and work in countering the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices during our operations over that period.

Simon as a volunteer fire fighter.

Participating in the Volunteer Fire Service

My greatest sporting moment was:

Getting 38th overall in the Tauranga Half Ironman, and being at Yarrows stadium and seeing Taranaki win the NPC last year.

In my spare time I:

Do DIY on my 1887 house and spend way too much at Bunnings; as well as coaching surf lifesaving at Titahi Bay.

Before working at DOC:

I worked at ACC, Internal Affairs, and Ministry of Health in IT-related roles.

Simon in Egypt on horseback in front of the pyramids.

In Egypt with NZ Multinational Force

My most prized possession is:

Sets of family war medals I have dating from the Taranaki Land Wars to present day.

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is:

“Half a decision now is worth a full decision later on”. Heard this many times in army and it needs to be done more in IT.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is:

Always maintain a reserve. Applied in the Army, yet equally true in civilian life.

Simon in front of handed in arms cache in Afghanistan.

Reviewing arms cache handed in by Afghans

In work and life I am motivated by:

Doing things right, yet also having fun on the way.

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is:

Use more of this great country as we are very lucky.

Question of the week…

What do you think is people’s biggest misconception of you and why?

The biggest misconception is around what I do in my job and what led me to this role. People assume an IT manager would have an IT background. I did law at Canterbury, joined the Army as a recon combat officer, then did sales, then recruitment, ICT projects, then vendor management, and then was development manager in two major government agencies, interspaced with trips to several war zones. I am not someone who can sort out your PC (never been a strength) yet I can hold my own around talks about weaponry and pest eradication.