Our summer marketing intern, UW-Madison student Nicole Long, is on a quest to interview the Gillware staff. Our people are what set our lab apart and allow us to solve the most complex data recovery cases at the best prices. They also make us more fun. Here’s what Nicole found out about Sam Butts for our sixth employee profile . . .
Sam Butts was an auto mechanic for 9 years before he went back to school for computer programming. Sam went from driving racecars to helping customers with broken hard drives and other failed electronic storage devices as a tech sales representative at Gillware.
Gillware Blog: You worked on cars for a living. Did you work on your own cars too?
Sam: Before I even had a driver’s license, I bought a 1994 Ford Probe without a working engine for almost nothing. I built it into a racecar. I ordered an engine from Japan and built up a race transmission for it. It involved rewelding engine mounts and cutting and re-welding the chassis for the rear wheel drive transmission.
I was part of the Madison Sports Car Club and we would work with other car clubs in the area, like Milwaukee Sports Car Club and Chicago Sports Car Club. We would all get together to rent race tracks and race each other. Everybody would pitch in to help pay the rent of the track and then there would be cash prizes for the winners.
Gillware Blog: Racing cars sounds dangerous.
Sam: You couldn’t just take any car out there and race it; you had to make sure it was safe. It was track regulation. You had to wear a helmet and your car was always inspected at the track to make sure it was up to code. There were still crashes, but typically it was only one person at a time getting their lap time.
Gillware Blog: Did you ever crash?
Sam: When you’re trying to get the fastest time, you usually push it to the limit. So I would go off the track and something would break, but I never got in a crash bad enough that I was worried about my safety.
Gillware Blog: Did you ever win?
Sam: Oh yeah. I got custom emblem names for my car. Because my car was a Ford Probe and my last name is Butts, I named my car the Butt Probe. When I would win, the joke was, “you got beat by the Butt Probe.”
Gillware Blog: So how did you get into computer programming?
Sam: I always loved computers and was really interested with them, but I never had the personal opportunity to own one growing up. Also with my race car, I custom built the engine control unit that ran all the systems inside of the car. I always enjoyed playing with the computer on the car to see the results. I could get it to do different things, like crank out more horsepower, just by changing settings. So I decided to back to school for computer programming.
Gillware Blog: What brought you to Gillware?
Sam: There was a career fair at my school, and I had prepared my resume for about 8 companies that day hoping to get into a company that was involved with computers in any way. I applied at all these places, and I was actually just walking by Gillware’s booth, and I hadn’t even prepared anything for Gillware. Danielle, the HR manager at Gillware, came out and started telling me about Gillware. I chatted with her for about 20 minutes and she wanted me to come in for an interview. You hear that a lot at career fairs, and a lot of the time they never call, but Gillware actually called. So I interviewed and now here I am. It’s nice working here because the people are really nice and it’s really laid back.
Gillware Blog: Do you still work on cars?
Sam: I can work on my car in my garage if I want to. I love working on things and refurnishing things too. I had an old hard drive at home, and I never thought anything of it until I started working here. Then I saw someone at work with a hard drive clock at his desk and I thought it was the coolest thing. It was an open hard drive with the platter as the face of the clock. So I went home and bought a clock motor and made my own hard drive clock that I keep at home on my desk.
Keep checking our blog to meet more of our employees!