16 June 2015

SMX beefs up Dev and Ops teams with new hires

New Zealand cloud email security market leader SMX has announced key new appointments to support ongoing development of its email security gateway, alongside major development of its SMX3 subscriber management platform.

SMX CEO Ian McDonald says the new hires reflect the growing maturity of SMX in delivering an enterprise-strength cloud email security and email management solution. Although strong demand continues for email filtering to deliver spam and malware free emails to user desktops, much new development is being focussed on newer capabilities such as SmartRules® and email archiving.

“Today we’re New Zealand’s largest cloud email security service, with a lot more to offer than just inbound and outbound email filtering. Particularly in the Enterprise and Government sectors, our sophisticated email management and archiving capabilities provide strong differentiation from competitors,” McDonald says.

“With strong growth and profitability, both in New Zealand and in Australia through our relationship with Fujitsu’s cloud services, we now have the resources to increase strategic software and platform development opportunities. Our new appointments reflect that investment.”

Recent appointments

Karen Liesenfeld, SMX Operations ManagerKaren Liesenfeld – Operations Manager 

Karen Liesenfeld joined SMX in May 2015 as Operations Manager. Prior to this, she was Platform Operations Manager at Touchpoint Group. In her role as SMX Operations Manager, Karen is responsible for managing, maintaining and ensuring the availability and performance of the infrastructure used to support SMX’s cloud services. She also manages and helps develop the SMX Support team. Karen is enjoying the challenges of her new role, and the opportunities to learn and work very closely with new and cutting-edge technologies. Karen is an experienced platform operations and infrastructure manager who has more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry. Strategic, inventive, creative and resourceful, Karen brings a valuable mix of management and technical operations skills to SMX and a deep understanding of how to build relationships that create strong bridges between people, processes and technology. She thrives on challenges and has a passion for innovation, change and people management.

Originally from Germany, where she spent 10 years working as an environmental engineer before taking the leap into IT, Karen immigrated to New Zealand in 2005.  Karen has owned a web and internet design company in Germany, and worked in both technical and management roles for New Zealand tech companies including Gen-i, Telecom, and Touchpoint Group. In her spare time, Karen indulges in a passion for iPhoneography – taking photos with an iPhone and turning them into stunning images.
 



Richard Grey, SMX Senior Operations EngineerRichard Gray – Senior System Administrator / Senior Operations Engineer

Richard Gray joined SMX as a Senior System Administrator in March 2015. Prior to this, he was working as a web infrastructure engineer at the Royal Bank of Scotland, based in London. Richard has recently taken on the role of Technical Lead for the Operations team. His core responsibilities include setting technical direction for infrastructure activities; engaging with the business and technology teams to ensure their infrastructure requirements are met; and post-incident investigation and communication. Richard is an accomplished Unix systems administrator and web technologies specialist, with extensive experience in design, implementation and support of web and application hosting environments.  His strong project management, technical, problem-solving and communications skills, along with his experience with large commercial server environments both in New Zealand and overseas, are valuable assets to the SMX team. 

Richard holds a BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science from the Open University (UK). He has nearly 20 years of IT experience, working for a range of companies in New Zealand and overseas, including EDS and IBM in New Zealand, and Lehman Brothers, Barclays Capital and the Royal Bank of Scotland in the UK.  Having worked in large corporate environments, Richard appreciates the relative agility, lack of red tape, and flat inclusive company structure offered by SMX. He also enjoys working with and learning from his colleagues, whom he describes as ‘a bunch of very clever, enthusiastic people.’  In his spare time, Richard immerses himself in the art and science of home brewing beer.
 



Stanley Zhang, Senior Operations Engineer, SMXStanley Zhang – Senior Operations Engineer

Stanley Zhang joined SMX in March 2015 as a Senior Operations Engineer.  Prior this, Stanley was a DevOps Engineer for movie marketing software company, Movio. In his role at SMX, Stanley is involved in the design, build and maintenance of SMX’s infrastructure and networks, and in diagnosing and troubleshooting problems and supporting prompt issue resolution.  Stanley has over 10 years of IT industry experience and brings a wealth of experience in systems and programming to SMX. He has a passion for all things related to servers and technology and is a self-described ‘technology maniac’; he loves new and ‘cool’ technologies and enjoys finding new and more efficient ways to do things with technology.

Stanley came to New Zealand from his native China in 2012 to study English and loved the country, prompting him to secure a job and settle down here.  He holds a Bachelor of Science from China University of Mining and Technology. 
 



UI Developer, SMXMichael Heuberger – UI Developer

Michael Heuberger joined SMX in February 2015 as a UI Developer. Prior to this, he was self-employed for many years, running a web development company and also freelancing for various New Zealand companies, including Touchcast. Michael has brought years of vast experience in web technologies to SMX, where he has recently assumed ownership of the SMX portal’s frontend. His role encompasses managing SMX’s adherence to current web standards and practices, migrating existing code to the latest, cutting-edge technologies around Node.js, as well as novel user interface design.  A talented and hugely passionate programmer, developer and engineer, Michael has over 22 years of IT industry experience, with a particular focus on JavaScript and software as a service. Michael has also been a teacher (computer science, physics, maths), and an electronic engineer writing Assembler for microprocessors at ETH Zuerich.  He derives a huge amount of satisfaction from writing clean, elegant reusable code; and also enjoys the opportunity to learn new things from his colleagues, and keeping ahead of the curve in technology developments.

Originally from Switzerland, Michael moved to New Zealand in 2007. A true polyglot, Michael is fluent in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and several sign languages.  He holds a Bachelor of Information Sciences, with 1st class honours, from HSR Hochschule Fuer Technik Rapperswil in Switzerland. Outside of work, Michael enjoys tinkering with web-related projects, including a unique single-page app (https://videomail.io) which enables video communication over the web without using Flash or Java.
 



Neil Townsend, Operations Technician, SMXNeil Townsend – Operations Technician

Neil Townsend joined SMX as an Operations Technician in December 2014, and is taking a lead role in the design and build of SMX’s next-generation hosting platform. He manages the SMX hosted mail system and is responsible for configuring the component applications, and liaising with SMX vendors. Originally from England, a desire to travel and to see the world outside of the UK saw Neil take a sabbatical year off to travel through South East Asia and Oceania. He then worked as a ski instructor in New Zealand’s South Island for a season before turning his mind back to new work challenges and taking on the role at SMX, where he is enjoying building state-of-the-art platforms with a small, talented team. Neil holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Hons) in Computer Science from Manchester University. He has over 15 years of IT industry experience, working for companies in the UK including IBM, Iomart (an ISP) and Switchmedia (a web development and design company, acquired by Iomart in 2011). Prior to starting university, Neil also started his own web design and development company.  Neil specialises in Linux and Unix-based systems, however he is also experienced in Windows technologies and scripted development. Neil says he got into IT because he loves how fast technology moves and changes. He is passionate about roles that allow him to learn and work with new and cutting-edge technologies and design and build systems using them; and he is thoroughly enjoying his role at SMX.

Outside of work, Neil’s diverse range of interests and hobbies encompass the outdoors (skiing, surfing, swimming – well catered to in New Zealand!), travelling, cooking and independent cinema, Sci-Fi, Space, digital photography and gadgets.
 



Ehab Abdelmawla, SMX QA LeadEhab Abdelmawla – Quality Assurance Lead

Ehab Abdelmawla joined SMX in March 2015 as Quality Assurance Lead. In this role, Ehab is responsible for delivering high quality products and services to SMX customers.  Ehab’s day-to-day responsibilities include driving the quality and testing strategy, test planning, control, and monitoring testing activities. The role requires a deep understanding of SMX’s services, meticulous preparation and execution of test cases and a watchful eye for the most minor of discrepancies. Ehab enjoys the flat SMX culture, where everyone takes responsibility for Quality and supports him in achieving the company’s Quality objectives. Having worked in the IT industry for over 15 years, focussing on Quality and Testing, Ehab is an experienced test manager with extensive global work experience spanning Europe, Africa, Asia and New Zealand. He has worked for companies including Planit, Vodafone Group, Huawei, JP Morgan Chase, and HP. Ehab is driven to establish and deliver high quality service/applications roadmaps covering the whole lifecycle, from service strategy and design, to service transition (build/release/deploy), and service improvement. He considers one of his key strengths to be setting performance KPIs and monitoring production issues for continuous end-to-end process improvement. In addition to his significant technical skills, Ehab also brings strong communication and team leadership skills to his role at SMX.

Born in Cairo, Egypt, Ehab spent his childhood in the Gulf. Prior to moving to New Zealand in 2014, Ehab worked in the UK and Europe for 10 years.  He is enjoying New Zealand’s good climate, beautiful scenery, and friendly people.  Ehab holds a BSc in Engineering. His current professional certifications include ISTQB Foundation, ISTQB – Agile Tester Extension and ISEB ISTQB Practitioner from the International Software Testing Qualifications Board; ITIL from APMG-International; CAEFL – Certified Agile Essentials from iSQI GmbH.