Byron Bates, founder of Muskwa Computer Sciences, has two drivers in his career—making IT better and supporting the community. The Okanagan is lucky enough to benefit from these drivers as Bates has recently brought Muskwa to the valley.
“I hate it when people tell me how they are taking way too much time dealing with IT issues instead of doing their work,” shares Bates. IT services maybe are not too exciting, but they are essential. Every business has some component of IT—networking or security, asset management or support—but people tend to avoid or neglect their IT needs. Bates has recognized the headache and hesitancy that people have when it comes to IT services. With a purpose, he has chosen to do IT differently.
“Too many people are numbers … waiting in a queue to answer scripted questions only to receive a standardized solution.”
Bates has discovered that most people do not entirely know what the real issue is, never mind the solution, with his 30-plus years in the industry. That is why Muskwa has approached their business with people as the focus, not the technical side. The goal is never the quick-fix-get-it-done solution. It is about gaining an understanding of the client, how they work, what they actually need, and set them up for efficiency, less risk and stress, and success. Bates proudly states that “Muskwa is about building partnerships.”
The personal approach leads to Muskwa’s mandate of being connected to the community and supporting First Nations in the region. He himself Cree, Bates noted the gap in the workforce, where First Nations peoples were not given the same opportunity to train in IT roles that would support their band.
“First Nations should be taking care of their own IT needs,” states Bates.
First-hand knowledge of the band infrastructure, systems, operations and beliefs is essential to creating an IT system that will support the band’s many needs. Muskwa is trying to fill this gap with its Mentorship Program—an in-house training program to develop the skills and knowledge for a First Nations member. Bates and the Muskwa team will share their education, experience and expertise with a mentee, providing real-time, hands-on training. The goal of the program is to create an opportunity that may not be currently accessible and, consequently, create long-term employment opportunities within the band itself.
“I have a responsibility. Above all, a responsibility to my customers to provide them with excellent service that serves them in the best way possible. Furthermore, a responsibility to my community to create an opportunity that benefits them now and in the future,” sums up Bates.
Kelowna and the Okanagan are lucky to have Muskwa as a member of their business community.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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