Life Outside SAP

Posted on July 2016 By Speller International
Life Outside Sap

​At Speller International, we not only get to work with truly experienced and professional SAP consultants, we also get to work with interesting and different people. So how much do you really know about the extra curricular activates of your fellow SAP community members? What amazing talents do they possess? Abilities they have? Fun things they do when they’re not being awesome SAP consultants?

Byron Tompkins, SAP Functional Consultant (PP/MM/QM/APO) and David Lindill, SAP Project Manager share a little about their SAP career and what keeps them busy in their down time.

Byron Tompkins

SAP Functional Consultant (PP/MM/QM/APO)

View Byron’s Linkedin profile

By day I’m an SAP Functional Consultant in the PP/MM/QM and APO space.

My SAP career started at Oxygen, Auckland in 2004 where I was originally working in the IT infrastructure team. There was an opening in the PP team for a graduate role. I applied and was successful.

Outside of SAP, a chance encounter with another passenger on a bus in Auckland, in 2001 led me to the world of amateur theatre and the performing arts in general. I saw this as an opportunity to build my confidence presenting to large groups of people. By the end of 2005 and I had appeared in 2 summer Shakespeare season’s at Auckland’s iconic Pumphouse Amphitheatre, A WWII musical review and the NZ premier of the stage version of A Few Good Men. I also registered with an extra’s agency which saw me having my 15 secs of fame in the NZ series Street Legal as well as my face appearing in a couple of TV adverts.

Upon relocating back to Australia my relationship with the arts took a slightly different angle; radio.

For the past 8 years I have been involved with a community radio station in a number of roles from front desk / office admin, on-air movie reviewer, guest programme presenter, programme podcaster and now, news presenter. Once a fortnight on a Saturday, I arrive at 4pm to research and compile a 4 minute news bulletin to be read live to air at 5pm and 6pm. I’ve been doing the news for 2 years now and I have to say, it’s brilliant. It can be challenging, especially name pronunciation during the Australian Open, but it’s definitely rewarding.

Oh, and has all this increased my confidence in front of large groups? Yes and no. I discovered strangely that it’s sometimes easier to make a fool of yourself on stage in front of 200 people you don’t know than it is to talk serious in front of a group of peers.

David Lindill

SAP Project Manager

View David’s Linkedin profile

Like many others, I landed in the SAP ecosystem somewhat accidentally. Following a career in accounting that included migrating here from the UK in the late 80’s, climbing the corporate ladder and three years as an expat in Tokyo, I was back in Australia running shared services for Kodak when in 1997 they made a brave decision to embark on a global implementation of SAP. Appointed Program Manager for Asia Pacific, I found myself in Rochester New York on a 6-9mth assignment that turned into 2 years, followed by more travel as we rolled out the program through Asia. That was the heyday and the story of Kodak later evolved into constant restructuring as the company sought to remain relevant. For IT this meant cost cutting, including outsourcing and offshoring SAP development and support to India.

My IT role with Kodak broadened beyond SAP and continued until 2008 when I made my own brave decision to take a redundancy. Rebranded as a contract PM, during the last eight years I have enjoyed a number of interesting assignments, including three through Speller and have managed to build extensively on my early Kodak foundation SAP knowledge.

Nowadays, as one of the grey haired contractors and having kept my financial head above water, I recently accepted my first part time SAP PM role. While one project has become two, every weekend is still a long weekend affording more time for Life Outside SAP. Apart from essential SAP education and building my personal IP, that involves one long term and one more recent and potentially expensive hobby.

I played guitar badly as a teenager, was briefly in a band, then put the axe down until much later in life when the cold winter in New York State convinced me I needed an indoor hobby. Fast forward to three years ago when I was persuaded to join Weekend Warriors. Essentially WW is a great way for musicians of all levels to experience or get back into playing in a live band. After an initial jam session, bands come together for around six weeks with a professional coach, culminating in a live gig with a paying (for charity) audience. I originally expected to find a bunch of grey haired rockers playing Aussie Rock classics and, while that is certainly evident, there is a broad age range and the standard of playing defies the brief rehearsal period. It’s a credit to the coaches that the comment most often overheard is “you should have heard how bad we were at the first rehearsal”. To date I have participated in three rounds of Weekend Warriors and now practice regularly in anticipation of the next one. If you are interested look out for the next Weekend Warriors jam.

The potentially expensive hobby is flying. My partner has had the bug for some time and recently gained her Private Pilot’s Licence. She has flown mostly in Piper aircraft so we joined the Australian Piper Society. As a pilot’s partner I have had the opportunity to fly with her on group fly away weekends, including around Victoria and NSW. In Feb we flew to Devonport, which of course involved flying a single engine plane over water. Aside from social activity, the weekend included useful safety training about flying over water. Basically if everything goes pear shaped you have precious little chance of ditching successfully and if you happen to survive you will die of hyperthermia before a search party will get to you. Despite that, having had the opportunity of a few initial instructed flights, the bug has now spread to yours truly. I have started studying the theory and am now waiting for better weather to resume the practical side of things. If that goes well, then I will definitely need to continue my SAP career just to pay for the flying!

What interesting things do you do outside of your SAP career? Comment below, we’d love to hear all about it!