Employee Spotlight Tech’s Behind-the-Scenes Work Makes Big Impact for SKT Customers, Employees
Brian Simmonds is a humble guy. He isn’t one to seek out the spotlight. He’s perfectly content working in the background without any fanfare. But his role at SKT is important as we work to fulfill our pledge of developing the most reliable broadband network and providing quality, hometown customer service.
Most people know him as quiet, polite, and patient. On top of being knowledgeable and highly skilled in his field, he’s also cool, calm, and collected under pressure – exactly the kind of guy you’d want maintaining a broadband network supporting thousands of families and businesses. And exactly the kind of guy you’d want helping you through a stressful IT situation, because isn’t just about every IT issue stressful? He seems to handle both with ease in his job as an SKT Network Technician.
In that role, he enjoys helping others – SKT customers and fellow employees alike. “Each day is a little different – maybe working on a big project that requires many hours working with others on our team, or on my own one day. The next day may be an upgrade to one of our internal systems and replacing an employee’s laptop that has failed – or a mixture of all the above,” he explains, continuing, “I enjoy helping either the customers or fellow employees with their issues and they are then able to either enjoy their services or do their job properly.” In that sense, Brian keeps things running smoothly, and when they’re not, he’s prepared to jump in and help.
Brian enjoys “messing around” with electronics and computers – even in his spare time … “either fixing, upgrading, or just seeing how something is built (what makes it tick),” he explains, adding, “I play video games with the boys frequently.”
The boys are his two stepsons, Christian (19) and Andrew (17). “Even though they are not my blood and do not have my last name, I have always claimed and loved them as my own sons,” Brian says, “I have tried to help raise them to be the best they can be, along with my wife and their biological father. I am so proud of them both, and excited for what the future holds for them.” Christian graduated from Clearwater High School in 2020 and is working toward an IT career. Their youngest, Andrew, will be a senior at Goddard Eisenhower High School this year. Brian adds, “He is doing so well, even with the challenges he was given.”
Brian Simmonds was born in Wichita, Kan., hailing from a small family of four – parents, John and Sandra, and younger sister, Michelle. Brian graduated from Wichita’s North High School. That summer, he met Bryea and they were married for five years. During a time of separation, the boys were born. Brian and Bryea have been remarried for over 16 years now. Currently a stay-at-home mom, Bryea has worked as a special education para in the Goddard school district. Brian says that her current focus is, “Keeping the home, children, and pets in line!”
Brian worked as an IT help desk and network technician for five years before he had the opportunity to come to SKT. Of his new position with SKT, Brian relates, “So initially, being a cable and phone technician was a change; however, there were still elements from my previous work when it came to customers’ home networks and PCs.” For the first 12 years, Brian was an SKT Customer Systems Engineer, working in the Clearwater area installing services, maintaining and troubleshooting issues with the outside plant, and helping customers with any troubles they were having with their SKT services.
This September, Brian will have been an SKT employee for 15 years. In his current position as SKT’s Network Technician, he helps set up and maintain the network equipment for SKT’s customer-serving systems including cable modem (connects a computer or local network to broadband internet service), DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), and FTTP (Fiber to the Premises). He works on projects to improve the services SKT offers to customers and monitors the systems for issues, upgrading as needed. Brian also works on the SKT company network and helps employees who need onsite assistance such as PC replacement, server upgrades, or networking equipment change-out.
He works closely with Network Manager Jason Gibbs, who says, “Brian is a pleasure to work with. It doesn’t matter what the task at hand is, he’s always willing to help in any way possible. His vast knowledge across multiple areas of the network, along with his ability to quickly learn new technology, generally makes him the go-to guy when others need assistance. I truly appreciate everything Brian does for SKT and look forward to many more years working alongside him.”
In his spare time, Brian especially enjoys “just hanging out with the family, wherever that might be – home, camping, or out and about,” adding, “At times I like to fish and work on things around the house. I really don’t have a hobby I am deeply into. It just seems like there is not enough time to focus on a certain activity regularly. But I really enjoy camping and hope to dedicate more time to that and fishing going forward.”
When asked if he has any words of wisdom he’d like to share, Brian says, “Always be open-minded and enjoy what you do in life.”