I’ve always considered drummers to be the glue of a band. They set the tone and allow all the other musicians and instruments to work together in harmony. It’s probably no surprise then, that Lex Patterson, the president of DAKCS Software Systems, likes to spend his days interacting with all of the teams at DAKCS as well as spending time speaking with customers, and that he was a drummer “in another life,” as he puts it. Read on to learn more about Lex and the great career highlight that tells you all you need to know about him.
Name: Lex Patterson
Company: DAKCS Software Systems Inc.
Length of time at current company: 30 years
Length of time in industry: 30 years
How did you get your start in the industry?
I had spent about eight years in the office equipment business managing six locations in two states. When that company closed suddenly in 1988 I found myself reviewing options. I received a call from a longtime friend and DAKCS CTO Chris Campbell. He asked if I would be interested in helping DAKCS install revisions on a part-time temporary basis. I thought at the very least I’d learn a little more about software. I met Kent Green and the rest as they say is history.
What is your career highlight so far?
Some years ago a longtime customer called in with a hardware issue that had corrupted her file system. In those days things were backed up to tape. Once the hardware was fixed, we attempted to restore the files. Tragically every backup tape she tried failed. We continued to brainstorm. I remember calling her and saying I had a crazy idea and she said “What put a gun to my head? My business is over.” I suggested we work with Compumail whom she had outsourced her letters with to reconstruct her data. Because of the requirement to send a first notice on every new account and the fact that Compumail had proper archiving going back over several years we were able to piece her data back together. It was a painstaking process but we pulled it off. I’m very happy to say that her business is still running today.
When or how are you most productive?
I usually get up early in the morning and try to tackle my toughest problems while my energy level is high. Being aware of this also helps me “sleep on it” with the confidence the answer will present itself the next morning.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
I have so many good friends and influencers in the industry. Two that jump quickly to the forefront are Kent Green the founder of DAKCS and Linda Russell, who was the first female president of ACA International. Kent was a great mentor and a very generous soul. He taught me so many things about the business and how important culture is to an organization. Linda remains a customer and friend. Her passion for the industry is infectious and she’s also a pretty good photographer.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
That’s a difficult one for me to objectively answer about myself. So I will answer in this way: I’m curious by nature and love to learn and explore new places, concepts and possibilities and then try to connect the dots. My top five Clifton StrengthsFinder Themes are Achiever, Responsibility, Relator, Individualization, and Ideation. My goal is to try to add value to any situation I’m involved with.
What do you like most about this industry?
The people and the many opportunities to creatively solve problems.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
I wish the laws could catch up with the technology.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Probably something to do with filmmaking, or photography.
Describe a typical work day.
I enjoy connecting with people. A good part of my day is spent working directly with the various teams at DAKCS, and talking with customers, to cultivate new markets, enhance product offerings, connect people, cut costs, and further our legacy of delivering great customer service.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I was a drummer in another life and so I love listening to music especially the timeless rock of the 60’s and 70’s. I guess I’m showing my age now. 😉
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
A good friend gave me a book on Nelson Mandela and it led me to his eight lessons of leadership. He was an inspirational leader and he left us with many great tips, among them “be the last to speak.” The language we use is so important. By speaking last you make sure that everyone else feels heard, that their ideas are valued. You have the benefit of understanding other’s ideas and opinions before presenting yours. It’s a game changer.
What are you currently reading?
I love to read. I see it as a great way to keep learning and to unwind. At anytime I usually have two or three books going in different formats (hardbound, digital, audible) at the same time. Currently, I’m reading, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” by Daniel Pink, “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau, and “Perennial Seller” by Ryan Holiday.
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
That I’m grateful for the many friends I’ve made as we’re traveled this path together.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?