My Story - Greg Knowles
1. Tell me a little about where you grew up and what it was like.
As part of deciding to start a family, my parents looked for the best public schools in the US. Based on this, they decided to move to a quiet suburb of Cleveland, Ohio called Shaker Heights. I was quite fortunate to have access to some fantastic teachers across an array of subject areas, and even learned to play the Saxophone in Jazz, Concert, and Marching Band.
2. Why did you choose the career you have worked in?
Having grown up in the early days of computers, games were just starting to come out on PC. While I never turned into much of a gamer, I was fascinated with learning how to upgrade the components of my x286 in order to run the newest titles. Eventually that curiosity of the PC components led to my decision to pursue a degree in electrical engineering and a career in IT.
3. What was it about NZ that attracted you?
After visiting over 30 countries, one gains an appreciation for the diversity of cultures, values, and ways of life. I realised that in order to really change as a person, short visits wouldn’t be enough, I needed to live abroad. I was particularly enthralled by the untouched raw nature of New Zealand, and the humility of the people. The statistic that I always repeated to my US friends was that "NZ is the least politically corrupt country in the world".
4. How have you found living and working in NZ?
The American life / work style is cut-throat, competitive and heavily influenced by movies, television and the media. Adapting to the NZ style was a sharp adjustment requiring much more modesty and patience. I have come to respect these traits over the past five years and embraced them as core values.
5. Can you tell me a little about your experience with Alpha, and how we have been involved in your journey?
Alpha came into the picture at a time shortly after my time working for Wynyard Group. This highly regarded, publicly traded company developed software for fighting serious crime and managing corporate risk. One day in late October, Wynyard abruptly announced that the board had decided to place the company into Voluntary Administration. A few days later, most of the company was looking for work. Alpha had the perfect role, and put me in touch with healthAlliance.
6. What successes have you had in this role at Health Alliance?
Supporting over 26000 DHB Staff, 3200 servers, and a population of 1.8 Million citizens, healthAlliance is one of the largest IT providers in New Zealand. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects spanning business, financial and clinical systems.
Many of these systems are "life-critical", where downtime correlates directly to patient health. Tier-1 platforms ensure that SLAs are met through high-availability & disaster recovery architecture.
The Government ICT Strategy and Action Plan seeks to improve service delivery and deliver substantial savings across government, with cloud computing as a key enabler. Working alongside the healthAlliance Innovation team, we launched the organization’s first production AWS cloud native application.
As a healthcare organization and a NZ crown entity, all systems are required to be compliant with the NZ Information Security Manual and the NZ Health Information Security Framework via the application of preventative, detective and corrective security controls.