As Vice President – Technical Development, Jay Requarth is an IT veteran with over 20 years of proven experience supervising, motivating and guiding teams. He also is a decision maker with diverse management experience.
Like others in this series of articles on Athena’s management team, when you look back at his career, it seems as if Jay was purposefully gathering the skills Athena would need to be successful. Whether it was fate, luck or two paths crossing at just the right time, we’re glad things turned out the way they did. Jay’s strong blend of creativity and business acumen makes him a perfect for his role.
Finding the Path
Programming a TRS-80 (one of the earliest mass-produced and mass-marketed retail home computers) from RadioShack was more of a hobby than a passion in high school. “It wasn’t until I took a break from college and was working full time at LexisNexis that I developed a real attraction for the rapidly evolving world of computer science,” Jay said. The result was a reigniting of the desire to complete college, a change in majors and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Wright State University in Dayton Ohio.
A series of IT jobs with increasing responsibilities followed. With titles such as Security Analyst, Lead Systems Architect, Software Development Manager, and Director of IT, each advancement increased his practical knowledge and experience. “I like the process of learning and have always looked for opportunities that not only expand my IT expertise, but allow me to develop new skill sets.”
Leveraging Leadership Proficiency
While at Dayton Superior Corporation (a global company serving the nonresidential concrete construction industry), Jay was given the chance to work a modified schedule to attend Notre Dame for his master’s degree. “It was a 21-month program that didn’t leave time for much of anything but work, study and sleep,” Jay said. “But it was team-based learning and I found that I thrived in that type of environment.”
The result for Jay was a Masters of Business Administration Degree (Magna Cum Laude) and a finely tuned view of business and management operations that complemented his solid foundation in computer science. The outcome for Dayton Superior Corporation was substantial cost savings on numerous projects that Jay undertook.
A New Direction
One day, a recruiter phoned and tried to talk to Jay about an opening within Jay’s group at Dayton Superior. Jay referred him to the HR Department, but the recruiter called back a few days later and asked Jay to lunch to discuss an opening at Athena. “I was intrigued from our first conversation,” Jay said. “This would be an opportunity where I could use all my talents and skills in a brand-new arena and make a difference.”
After the interview process, Jay had a new job. He started work…the same day everyone left the office to work from home due to COVID-19. So, task one was figuring out how to get the team off on the right foot for the new normal COVID-19 brought.
The World of Athena
Undeterred, Jay and his team of multi-talented professionals began working together like many of us learned to do, through Microsoft Teams calls, email, and phone conversations. As Vice President – Technical Development, Jay takes ownership of the development of the current product as well as its evolution in the future. He is responsible for making sure the team has what they need and for resourcing new components in the market that can be utilized to perform even better. “We find new ideas everywhere,” he said. “From internal sources to OEM partnerships and research. We even find out about developments by networking with colleagues from previous jobs.”
Jay’s leadership skills are in full play as he works with his cross-functional team on complex issues. “I depend on my team a lot,” he said. The entire group is responsible for bringing ideas to the table and then Jay guides the decision-making.
Enhancements are tested thoroughly and then released to OEMs and end users on a regular basis so that all customers benefit from the team’s efforts. According to Jay, the job is “a constant process of discovery and learning and that’s what makes it so much fun.”
Off the Job
In his twenties and thirties, Jay’s free time was usually taken up with outdoor activities such as rock climbing and kayaking. Today, when not spending time with his wife and three school aged children, you are more likely to find him exercising his mental muscles working with friends on complex board games that put a premium on teamwork.
As Athena continues to grow and move into new environments, Jay and his team will continue to be in the forefront of the effort to bring each OEM and end-user a voice-activated profile that fits their individual needs.