Product Line Manager, Sticklers
Brian Teague is the Product Manager for the Sticklers fiber optic cleaning products at MicroCare. He’s been in the industry for decades, first learning about fiber optic technologies while on a summer internship at the big Nortel facility near Raleigh, NC. One day Brian was involved in a casual conversation with a young engineer there and that person mentioned the company was starting a fiber optic group, “kind of like Star Wars”. Without hesitation, Brian volunteered.
“We’re teaching a better way to do things, to make networks better”.Read More...
Upon graduation he moved to Pirelli Cables (now Prysmian). But 2001 arrived with the horrendous “dot.com bust” so Brian moved to Comscope (now ADC) as the product manager for the enterprise, broadcast and federal markets. “That’s how I learned all about hardened connectors and 38999 and these exotic applications,” Brian recalled. “If you have the right products, it’s a vibrant market.”
Career opportunities kept appearing for Brian as companies recognized his technical skills and focused energy. His next move was to a prestigious fiber optic connector company working as a senior product manager focused on the data center market.
A Totally New Industry
“That was interesting work, but off in the lab I saw something else brewing — a fiber optic cleaning product line,” he explained. “It was revolutionary, a totally new product category. So, I moved over to manage that and in five years we invented a totally new industry. I learned about inspection and test, and really came to understand fiber.”
Joining the Sticklers Team
His success there brought him to the Sticklers team, with the world’s most complete line of fiber cleaning products. Today he travels the world, teaching, listening, learning and innovative about the best ways to clean fiber optic networks. “We’re doing more than just selling stuff,” Brian explained. “We’re teaching a better way to do things, to make networks better. We’re helping people become better at their job.”
Better products require better technology, and Brian is very proud that his name is on a patent for a next-generation fiber cleaning device used when cleaning parallel optics for high performance super-computing. “It was a team effort, working with PhDs in Japan, a multicultural thing,” Brian offered modestly.
The Focus on Quality
Brian’s feels strongly that companies which focus on quality have a substantial competitive advantage in the global market. “All the things I learned in grad school about focusing on quality — it’s true, focus on doing things the best way, not the cheapest way,” he stated. “Quality guys can go out and crush the ‘quick and fast’ guys. To be part of that is pretty cool because that’s in the DNA here at MicroCare.”
On a Personal Note
Today, Brian lives in South Carolina. He’s been married to Amy for 17 years. They have two kids — one of each — who are getting ready for high school. They also share a home with “the world’s biggest cat” at nearly 18 pounds (8 kg).
High pressure jobs and years on the road extract a price from even the most dedicated innovator. To burn off some of the stress, Brian heads to his carpentry shop. “I love woodworking. I built the cabinets in my house, the tables, almost everything. The creative juices really get flowing. It’s my meditation; where I re-center. If I couldn’t do fiber optics, I probably would start a wood working shop.”
On weekends, Brian enjoys hiking and kayaking in the mountains. He also gives back to the community: he’s been volunteering at Junior Achievement at the middle school level. This program teaches kids about economics and business and offers career planning ideas.
Brian also volunteers with the “Salkehatchie program” which refurbishes the houses of the working poor under the supervision of experienced “site leaders” like Brian. “We go into rural communities and work with people who are down on their luck. I’ve done a lot of floors, rebuilding rooms, and roofing. But we also build relationship across the boundaries; middle class kids meeting some of the very poorest people in the country. It’s a real eye-opener, for both sides.”