From Restaurateur to BI Developer… An alternative path

Mark Parker
April 8, 2022

Video games.  My passion for computers started with being lured in by those flashy, colorful, moving pixels.  I couldn’t get enough of them.  I was both a player and a builder…clipping BASIC code snippets from magazines and spending hours plugging in syntax in hopes of getting it to run…which didn’t always happen but was very rewarding when it did.  As these games evolved, my focus turned to upgrading my machine to be able to run the latest and greatest games. When network-linked games arrived on the scene, my friends and I taught ourselves to build the fastest machines and connect them over a local network.  

I was lucky enough to get a job at a young age building computers for a living, which then led to working as a network technician supporting multiple corporate networks.  After developing skills as a PC and network engineer, I took a role as manager of information systems for a dot-com start-up focused on sports training software.  This was a great gig for an up-and-coming techie, and the future was looking good.  And then the dot com bubble burst. The entire company was laid off two weeks before Christmas holidays, and feeling defeated, I decided to take a hiatus from the tech sector.

With this new change and I pursued a long-time personal goal: to own my own restaurant and music venue. This path led through a few colorful positions, including rock and roll saloon manager and operating partner of a duelling piano/mini golf nightclub in Vegas (a concept so absurd it almost worked 😊). Eventually my dream came true, and I was able to fully partner in a local venue here in Calgary. I combined my love of music and support of the local music scene with my experience in the industry, and with the help of my business partner, created a unique place with a big heart. Once again, my success was impeded by timing.  Shortly after we purchased the business, the bottom fell out of the local economy.  No amount of time and effort put into running the business could offset the downturn Calgary faced shortly thereafter. Fighting to hold on was just not possible any longer and I was faced with yet another choice: stay in this notoriously difficult industry or chart a path back to tech.

Luckily, throughout my food and beverage management career, I had not forgotten my roots. Analytics and automation are notoriously lacking in the restaurant industry, but with my exposure to computers I could identify opportunities consistently to help operations run more smoothly. I improved reporting, inventory management, vendor relationship management and tried to maintain an eye for efficiency and automation. After my restaurant closed, I followed the advice of some people close to me and decided to reactivate this part of me to pursue a career in business intelligence.  I achieved a BI certification and landed an opportunity with a small yet busy consulting firm, where I was given some great opportunities to build some developmental skills, as well as learn some alternative technologies in the data realm.  When COVID  hit, I found myself looking for another gig.

From my first interview forward with Arcurve I could tell I was dealing with a different type of company.   The questions posed were, while still technical in nature, also geared towards personality and life experience.  The company prioritized a positive corporate culture at every stage of the hiring process.  I have been with the company for almost a year now and can see the results of this philosophy firsthand.  Every Arcurvian I have interacted with has an incredibly positive attitude.  Every team I’ve worked with is focused on delivering the best product/service to our clients.  Arcurve promotes a positive work/life balance, provides me with resources to help if I get stuck on something difficult, and makes training available to anyone within the organization.  There are opportunities to work on internal projects, to learn and to grow.  It’s not easy to make a career transition, regardless of your age or experience.  In my case, it has been a long-winding path to wind up here, but I am happy I did.  If you are considering a career pivot, I would highly recommend looking at joining the team at Arcurve.

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