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Sam McConnell Was recognized for superior leadership on secure cloud migration with abilities to lead across the full integration lifecycle from discovery to final analysis. McConnell was selected to be part of the inaugural class of Kyndryl Distinguished Engineers, leading innovators who are shaping the future of Kyndryl and driving change in the industry.

How would you describe your work?

I work on a team that one of our leaders describes as the ‘Delta Force’ of Kyndryl. We are the first ones on the ground who are working with customers to enable them to find success with their IT modernization initiatives. On a fundamental level, though my job is to take the complexity customers face when they are staring down tough challenges, and try to make solving those challenges more manageable.

Think about it like you’re trying to build a new house. You have to get an engineer, a plumber, an electrician, and architects to collaborate — and they have to build blueprints and technical documents so that contractors know what sort of work to do to build the house. My role is to build those blueprints.

Is there a significant project you’ve worked on that stands out?

There is one project that, I think, played a big role in forming the foundation of my career. It had to do with a large financial institution that was attempting to recover it operations following the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York. At the time I was an operating system specialist. My customer had their data center on the 97th floor of the World Trade Center, and after the terrorist attack they needed help recovering their systems from backup.

In those days, the cloud did not exist as it does today, so the customer needed many key systems rebuilt and prepared before the stock market opened, or else the company would no longer be able to stay in business. I was part of the team that worked for many days without sleep or even leaving the data center. The client's outcome was staying in business to serve their customers. Fortunately, the company is still a leading financial institution, and I am proud that my efforts supported their success.

How did being named a Distinguished Engineer make you feel?

It’s a huge honor, and a very humbling experience. Being a Kyndryl Distinguished Engineer offers a platform to reach across all areas in Kyndryl that need to come together to make our clients successful and, in turn, make Kyndryl successful. We have to ensure our clients get the right level of support and innovation by inspiring and supporting Kyndryls in developing world-class solutions. We're moving the company's strategy forward by developing new solutions, capabilities, and future talent.

What led you to this work in the first place?

I was a pre-law major in college, and in my third year my entire trajectory changed once a few IT consultants came into one of the classrooms and shared presentations that were technology related. And for some reason, it was right then and there that I fell in love with the whole subject.

I was able to graduate in four years despite the major change, which is crazy.

From pre-law to working deep in the world of enterprise technology. That’s a neat trajectory.

And I’d add that Kyndryl is an interesting place to wind up because, on one hand, it is an established company with huge global scale. But it's also got this singular start-up type mentality that infuses a lot of excitement into the work we’re doing here. This isn’t an opportunity that comes along every day. A person who comes to Kyndryl is going to have a lot of chances to learn a bunch of valuable new skills and drive the direction of the company. That’s not something you get to do just anywhere.