Chip Irek started at TEAM Software in December 2019. He oversees TEAM’s technology strategy, delivering a steady stream of features to our customers, and ensuring our products are operating efficiently and effectively. He has more than 25 years of experience working in various industries bringing technology solutions to market. Irek earned his MBA from the University of Colorado and his Bachelor of Arts in marketing from Penn State University.
What are some trends you see developing in the business service contracting industry?
When I think about the building service contracting industry, I see a need for more automation and integration with IoT. Especially as we’re seeing the industry experience more and more demand from customers around certification of service and proof of work, we’re thinking about how IoT technologies and cleaners can interact to deliver the best results for customer contracts — proactively. The introduction of IoT technology can help establish a framework for demand-based cleaning rather than timed or hourly maintenance, which I can see as being a direction the industry shifts to, especially in a post-pandemic world. At TEAM, we want to be ready for that shift.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I would describe my leadership style as collaborative. I like to bring smart people together, organize them around a problem, define for them what the desired state should be at the end of the day, and then let those people operate as best as they can. I’m results oriented, but also transparent. A leader can’t expect their team to deliver a result without giving them as many facts as possible and then giving them space to figure it out. And, that space is literal just as much as it is metaphorical. The nature of development isn’t necessarily driven from an office-based culture anymore. My team is distributed across the world, so staying connected while empowering them is just as important as the expectation of results. Collaboration really is the key to bringing it all together.
What is one challenge you’ve experienced in your career, and how did you handle it?
I’d say there’s been a reoccurring theme in my career thus far, and that is change management. Especially in the world of development, a large percentage of the difficulty in modernizing or updating a software product is the human element. That’s especially true when we’re asking someone to change how they interact with software, even if we’re making their job easier in the end. I address that challenge the same way I address work needed from my team: collaboratively. Change management rarely works by force, but it is also extremely necessary for any company’s evolution.
Any advice for new BSCs coming into the industry?
If I could recommend anything, I’d encourage new BSC’s to be flexible with how things change. Be flexible with technology and don’t let yourself be caught up in the notion that change is bad. Change is what you make of it. If you embrace it, you can create a better outcome for yourself and your business.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
Don’t just find work that makes you happy, find the right conditions for that work, too. In the field of software, I’ve just about done it all. I started off as an engineer and an individual contributor, then accumulated responsibility that took me all the way up to an executive’s office. Every step of the way, it’s equally important to find a combination of a job where you’re adding value and helping others as well as liking what you’re doing on the day-to-day. Once you reach that right mix, you’ll know you’re where you’re meant to be.
Chip Irek, Chief Technology Officer