#Avanade20Years: From building out the New York office to stories from a Hollywood studio lot
- Posted on March 26, 2020
- Estimated reading time 2 minutes
We continue our #Avanade20Years special series on the blog in celebration of our 20th Anniversary on April 4, 2020. This week, we’re featuring Jimmy Soto, who works as a senior director in the Modern Workplace Center of Excellence and helped get the Avanade New York office off the ground in 2000.
Avanade News: How did you come to Avanade in 2000?
Jimmy: I previously worked for Andersen Consulting and had worked there for about two and a half years doing a lot of Microsoft work. There was an announcement that we would be forming this joint venture, and if anyone wanted to do more Microsoft-focused work, please reach out. I ran out from my project, went to New York for a quick interview, and ran back to work. When I got the offer to come on board, the challenge was that Andersen wasn’t ready to release me, so I had to wait until June or July.
Avanade News: What were the early days at Avanade like?
Jimmy: I spent between six to nine months flying back and forth between New Jersey and Seattle – there was a flight from Newark to Seattle every Monday that we called it the “Avanade bus.” We could very well be the reason there’s now a policy limiting the amount of Avanade resources that can be on any given flight.
Because I was already Microsoft trained, I didn’t have to do the training others were undertaking, so I got to help build the business from the ground up. One of my first tasks outside of Seattle was to help build the New York office – meeting with contractors to take us from a space with sawdust on the floor and tools everywhere to a real office with carpet and chairs and desks.
Avanade News: What’s your favorite Avanade memory?
Jimmy: On a project, I spent almost a year working on a lot for a major Hollywood studio, and I have a lot of great memories from that time. One day, we were all heads down working, and an executive came in and said, “We need people to be in a studio audience.” They let us bill hours for it. Another time, their major outdoor set designed to look like New York was transformed into a winter wonderland. They were filming all sorts of blockbusters, and I met celebrities like Alyssa Milano and Terry Crews by just being around the lot that often.
Avanade News: What inspires you most about Avanade?
Jimmy: I want to say the technology, but it’s not that. I really enjoy mentoring and advising our new technologists that are coming up. Being a mentor is my favorite role. I love when people reach out to me and ask for help or my opinion. Avanade is a culture where people feel comfortable asking for help; we have networks and talent communities to ask for that purpose. I think that’s part of our strength. Even if you’re alone on a project, you’re never walking alone. Working at Avanade is my profession, but it has also become part of my social life – it’s become home and become my family.
Avanade News: What keeps you at Avanade?
Jimmy: It’s been my experience that longevity at a company proves dedication. I wasn’t intending on staying this long, but it’s been home for 20 years. I went from being a college kid to a middle-aged man. Avanade provided me opportunities to grow as a consultant; the roles and opportunities kept me involved, interested and looking for what I can do next. I’ve been as far away as Taipei, Taiwan; I’ve worked through Europe and South America. I’m doing interesting work with people I admire with a culture that feels like home.