05 Oct Vicky Michaud
TKC Global Solutions
After two decades in Europe, Vicky Michaud returned to the U.S. in 2000 realizing she needed a change from her longtime banking career. So, she took a job as a configuration management assistant, launching a foray into what would become her second career — and discovered a passion that perfectly played to her analytical mind and obsession for detail.
Here’s how it happened.
As a military spouse, Vicky had lived overseas at the Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany, working in military banking. It was a job she loved, but when her husband’s service took them back to the U.S., she decided to leave the banking scene behind. Instead, Vicky took a position with Techplan Corp. in Charleston, South Carolina, working on the Navy’s Combat Direction Finding System, a key piece of technology on Navy warships.
Vicky had started on the administrative side, but her boss, Charlotte Phelan, who was a former Navy cryptographer, recognized her potential. Vicky soon began taking on more challenging assignments.
“Charlotte was a very strong woman, and she had worked on the Combat Direction Finding System. I learned an awful lot from her,” Vicky says. “She was a very positive influence personally as well as professionally. She was the one who said, ‘you can go as far as you want with this.’”
After Vicky’s husband retired from the Air Force, they moved to Illinois, and Vicky joined the defense contractor, Unisys Corp. There, she was charged with managing project documentation and change control among other duties.
A few years later, Vicky moved to a new role focused on change management for the Air Force Network Integration Center, located at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. It was there she worked on a massive AFNet migration effort, a key cybersecurity priority for the military.
The effort eventually consolidated 646,000 email accounts and 12,318 servers at 275 sites across multiple Air Force units.
“I know just enough techie stuff to be dangerous,” Vicky jokes.
After that stint in change management, Vicky was back to configuration management — a field she remains in today.
Today, Vicky oversees eight Akima employees working on change configuration. It’s a step up from the bare-bones effort she led in 2009, when, working solo, she wore the hats of change manager, backup SharePoint person and tech writer. Now, her team is expanding to new areas, such as auditing. “There’s still room to grow,” she says.
Vicky describes her role as working behind the scenes to make sure things run smoothly. Faced with an outage, for example, she and her team work quickly to identify which server is affected, what that server connects to and how to remediate the issue.
As for the key ingredient to her success, Vicky cites a simple formula.
“I take my job seriously, but myself not at all,” she says. It helps a lot that she loves what she does and has a good team she can count on. Her standards for herself and her team are high —but not impossibly so.
“We don’t have to be perfect, but we can strive to be the best we can be,” Vicky says. “One of the things I try to instill in my team is that we should hold ourselves to a higher standard and have higher expectations of ourselves than what we expect from anybody else.”