Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sheryl Sandberg, Tim Cook and Larry Page all have one thing in common—they were each once “just starting out, “dreaming big and diving headfirst into the rapidly changing world of technology with the aim of leaving their mark on the industry.
DZS is growing at record speed and on a mission to transform today’s service providers into tomorrow’s experience providers by enabling the ultimate subscriber experience. Their growing team, in particular, the up-and-comers in the company, are a vital part of that mission.
Who are the next generation of innovative technology professionals that will change the world? Many are hard at work at DZS right now, learning each day and sharpening their skills while also sharing their ideas and natural, innate talents. Their contributions and fresh perspectives are highly valued by DZS, which has a reputation for innovation globally. Our DZS Rising Stars series highlights some of these up and comers.
We recently visited with Spencer Meyer, Financial Planning and Analysis Manager at DZS, during which he discussed his background, why he joined such an exciting company and the mark he hopes to leave.
Can you tell us about your role at DZS?
I am the Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis. I’ve been here about two years. Our job in the finance department is to set the annual budget and to perform periodic forecasts, and then we track performance against those budgets and work with leaders across the company to improve the company’s financial performance.
We also provide reporting on the company’s quarterly performance for shareholders, as well as conduct analysis on financial data that other teams or other functions or leaders may request.
Let’s hear about your education and your background before coming to DZS.
I got my bachelor’s degree in finance from Southern Methodist University (SMU) Cox School of Business. While I was starting my career, I got my CFA. Prior to working at DZS, I worked at the Treasury Department at a Dallas-based oil and gas firm.
And how did you hear about DZS initially and end up working there?
I was contacted by a recruiter at a time I was looking to leave my old job. I had been there for about four-and-a-half years, and I was looking for a new challenge and new opportunities. When the recruiter reached out to me, I had a feeling that DZS seemed like a really exciting and challenging opportunity where I could learn and grow. And, looking back, that feeling was right!
DZS is, of course, actively engaged in the future of how we communicate from the metaverse to 5G to next-gen broadband. What really excites you the most about the kind of work you’re doing?
It’s really exciting to work on something that we use every day. We’re so used to it. We use our phones all the time and many people say that we’re addicted to them, but I think it’s really pretty amazing. Right now, we are conducting this interview virtually and I can leave this Teams call with you and immediately connect with my coworkers across the globe. Communications systems have become part of the very fabric of our society. And that, in turn, makes me feel that the work that I do has real importance.
What are your personal goals within the company and what mark do you hope to leave behind?
My goal as a finance professional is to help provide our management team with financial insight and to positively impact the direction of the company. My personal goal is to be able to say that I provided critical information at critical junctures that influenced management decisions and ultimately led to DZS being a more successful company.
What do you hope to learn along the way?
Well, we are always learning, right? I think the most important thing is not what I learned, but that I’m learning every day. That’s what keeps me engaged and challenged in my work. Every new request is just a piece of the puzzle to be solved, so I’m constantly sharpening and honing my abilities and ultimately what I really want to learn is how I can be a better leader and how I can have a more direct influence on the future of DZS.
How would you describe DZS as somebody who doesn’t speak “tech”?
DZS is a supplier of hardware and software that you will never see, but that you need right now–just to listen to this interview or to use the Internet on your phone or to do your job every single day. You’ll never see it, but it’s always there. And it’s working all the time.
I’m sure you could have had your choice of workplaces with your background. What special reasons made you choose DZS?
DZS sounded like an exciting challenge. I was looking for something new. But what really made me decide that DZS was the place for me was the vision that DZS CEO Charlie Vogt and the rest of the management team had for the company and the type of work that we do. Getting to work on communications systems that improve the way we live, work and collaborate and that are powering global communications – every day is an exciting day!
What strengths and skills do you think are most important in your position?
I think that the ability to problem solve is probably one of the most important skills that anybody can have, in my position and in any other. The reality is, there are multiple answers to any given puzzle and the best thing that you can do is gather as much information as you can and find a solution. There’s no one who is going to paint a checkered flag on the ground for you and say, “This is the finish line. This is the goal.” You have to set your own checkered flag and your own goals and then go about working with others to achieve them.
How do you handle your work life balance? Are you able to literally and figuratively disconnect from work?
DZS definitely provides the ability to have work life balance. There are certain times when you’re busier and times when you’re not as busy and if I need to work remotely, then I can.
Absolutely, I’m able to disconnect from work, but at the same time, sometimes I need to reconnect to work at non-traditional hours. We have co-workers all across the world, so I need to have calls with them, and they may be a half a day ahead of us. It’s just a trade off, and that trade-off is what keeps things exciting.