Alumni Stories: Dan McGee
General Manager and Co-owner, Vestis Systems, Inc.
Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, 2007
As general manager and co-owner at Vestis Systems, Inc., an awnings manufacturer in Spokane, Wash., McGee believes in addressing the business’ technology needs by applying the knowledge he attained during his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at University of Phoenix, in support of an eight-staff-member team.
“University of Phoenix gave me the tools I am now able to apply in the business world, as I interact with customers, employees and people in leadership positions,” he said. “My biggest takeaway was how much I learned from my presentations, helping me progress in my career,” McGee added.
Although his business only has a handful of computer users, McGee understand that, like any business, they might be facing online threats. “Phishing emails are one of the most common threats these days,” he said.
Through his experience, McGee he has seen threats come in the way of bogus invoices, and assures small businesses must deploy and manage solutions such as antimalware and firewalls to protect their systems and client information. He said performing backups in addition to investing in user education efforts is advisable.
“I have the background in IT so, for me, it’s easy to support employees at my company. However, some others may benefit from general education and training when determining what to do, so their employees can learn to identify red flags,” said McGee, whose undergraduate education set the foundation that helped him improve on his presentation and communications skills, making him comfortable educating team members.
University of Phoenix gave me the tools I am now able to apply in the business world, as I interact with customers, employees and people in leadership positions.
But McGee says not only data breaches are of concern. He emphasizes the importance for small businesses to back up their data and invest in safety mechanisms.
“What’s key, is just having some sort of plan,” he said.
McGee, who also holds an MBA from Webster University, has observed some small businesses think they don’t have information that could be stolen. “They don’t realize they have valuable data, until it has been taken through a data breach. By then, if they didn’t have a plan in place, they will likely have trouble recovering,” he said.
In addition to his role at Vestis Systems, Inc., McGee is also the Co-founder of Spokane CREATE!, a non-profit organization which provides a physical location to members of the community looking for guidance in the execution of projects around the STEM field.
“We help people become self-sufficient by learning how to use tools,” said McGee. “We count with volunteer instructors from different backgrounds and expertise, who help participants overcome challenges and accomplish their tasks,” he added.
At Spokane CREATE! participants range from children to older adults, and interact at a space of learning and camaraderie, similar to the environment McGee experienced while being a college student.