ACE Spotlight: Chris O'Rourke

Blog Post created by hausmus Employee on Aug 22, 2018

He has a reputation for being silly more often than not and after two decades of heavy deadline work and long hours, he’s found levity to be the one place where everyone can take a breather before refocusing and redoubling efforts. Everyone, meet Chris O'Rourke, a Ciena ACE. Chris meet everyone.  


You can connect with Chris and find recent contributions to the community on his profile.


Learn more about Chris in his interview:


What is your current role? How did you get started in the industry?

Network Architect is the current hat I wear for day to day work but like all technical positions spreads out a bit to touch other portions beyond infrastructure. I started back in the mid 90s when I needed a better job to help pay for med school. The paycheck and enjoyment of the work itself quickly helped me switch to a regular college for a CompSci degree.


What are your favorite sources of information to do your job?
I'm an avowed infovore so any source of reliable information is useful once you learn to filter it. Currently my go to sites are the Ciena Community forums, followed by other industry vendors and a daily dose of Slashdot to keep me thinking of new things I may not know to put on my plate.


What projects, or initiatives, are you looking forward to working on, or you’re most proud of accomplishing?

One of my favorite networks involved a bespoke messenger bag company. They've expanded from a pair of retail stores out to an international presence and the network I designed has scaled while meeting all international regulations and providing better logistical support for their stores and factory staff.

Applying the same sort of tactics and strategies to my current project has involved a lot of changing of expectations for shareholders and the team building it out.


If we ask your friends and family, what would they say you do at work?

If you ask my sons I design maps for data that look like a video game but are happy that it means I'm no longer working late or on weekends.

If you ask my wife I stare at documentation and "flurry" through visio, excel, a wait of 4 straight days, and about 41 dry erase markers later I've drafted a multi-state network with all drops notated and all architecture that's required. Until a requirement changes then I start over.

The rest of my friends and family know I do "tech stuff".

The truth is satisfying every stakeholder, end user, and requirement is a tough task that takes a toll but feels better than anything I've ever worked on.


What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?

My tried and true for all around snacking is:

  • Treat: Frosted miniwheats. Great with milk or as a post-workout snack dry.
  • Workday: Crunchy Raisin Bran Perfect for waking up every workday.
  • Saturday morning: Grape nuts with a banana sliced up and a teaspoon of sugar. (I still watch cartoons too)


What should Ciena Community members ask you about?

Being a parent to 2 awesome sons
Rudimental percussion
Video Games (from FPS to RTS to MMO I play 'em all)
Dark Chocolate Strawberry Banana Bread
Pacific Northwest tourism (visit, seriously do it)