Dale Priddy has been an integral part of Centrality Business Technologies for nearly 20 years. As the current Vice President of Operations (and brother of Noah Priddy, company President), he oversees and directs the daily business operations across all of Centrality’s service areas, and works to keep positive solutions rolling out to companies throughout the region.
With a degree in electrical engineering, Dale was a pivotal part of Centrality and the originator and initial developer of the company’s IT services division. After driving a controlled and sustained growth pattern of various IT solutions for the company, that division has become a primary focus of Centrality’s service offerings.
We sat down with Dale to learn a bit more about what makes him so committed to his work, home and family.
Before Centrality, what led you into the IT industry?
I spent 10 years with a company called Technidyne Corporation (manufacturers of high-quality optical test equipment) working on comprehensive testing equipment used in the printing and paper manufacturing industry. Mind you, this was 1986, before networks had a strong footprint in SMB. Technology and computers were just beginning to become prevalent in this organization and I was part of that implementation team in my role as technical services manager.
In hindsight, that acclimation to IT was a good move and started to prepare me for my current roles. I then got my first networking certification in 1996 and just continued to learn, school and develop more skills and certifications over time.
What are your main duties at Centrality?
Well, when I started I was the only technical engineer on staff, so my role has changed quite a bit with the growth. As our IT services started gaining momentum locally, we started hiring more engineers. I later started managing them; and over time, I moved into more of a design engineer and department management role.
As the Vice President of Operations, I oversee and manage all service areas for Centrality – IT, phones and cabling infrastructure. I definitely wear a lot of hats throughout the day. I’m the primary pre-sales engineer, so I visit with customers for an initial assessment to ensure that Centrality is scoping and offering the best solutions before we fully dig in and get started on their systems.
What is your favorite part of your job?
It sounds so cliché, but paying attention to the small things to help improve our client’s ability to do business on their end. Excellence isn’t just something that you pick up one day and sit it down the next. It’s a constant commitment to the details that blends with the personal interest and drive to produce a quality output. When you never put down that drive for excellence you are then rewarded when you see a company that is improved by your initiatives.
And the best part is that when you make a large impact, you’re able to garner positive feedback and build great processes that turn complex tasks into successful outcomes. I also really enjoy coaching my teams to commit excellence, it is rewarding to see a team member grow and develop and learn to see that bigger picture. I guess you could say that I like helping people.
You mentioned that you are passionate about helping people. How do you help clients?
One big way that I am able to impact clients’ businesses is by sitting in on their technology planning committee meetings. It is sort of a consultative add-on to the services that we are already providing some of our best customers. It’s a fairly often occurrence—sometimes I go in quarterly or bi-annually or annually, depending upon the organization and how often they meet. I meet with the CIO or IT overseers, sometimes the company management and owners and I serve as a subject matter expert for various IT and systems related topics that might come up. I ask questions like where they’ve been, where they are, where they’re going and how do they want to get there. I just listen.
This isn’t a sales thing but more of a consulting role with existing clients. I try to give direct answers to specific questions to help them build out their solutions for the upcoming year. I don’t consider myself as a vendor in these situations, and I don’t think clients view me that way either. I’m not there to sell them anything. It can lead to business in the future, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to build rapport with companies and help them find the best solutions for their needs in a non-disruptive and planned approach because technology is crucial to productivity.
Are there some interesting or more notable projects that you can recall from all the years with Centrality?
What initially put us on the map, as far as an IT services provider in the area, was our work with the New Albany, Floyd County School systems. It was many years ago, but it ended up leading to plenty of business opportunities and helped establish our reputation. We got plenty of referrals through that work, and it helped jumpstart our growth.
To date, we are fortunate to have successfully completed many notable projects that have spanned multiple states within the US and even collaboration internationally. Most recently, we just wrapped up a successful project for Toyota of Louisville. That task was great because we were able to impact their business so positively. The highlight of this assignment was the well-developed technology project plan that was executed which accomplished no direct business interruption for a dealership that really never stops serving their customers. They were changing ownership and needed to completely rework their server infrastructure, which is what we helped them to do.
What do you enjoy to do outside of the workplace?
I am married with children, and now, grandchildren. My relationship with God and family makes it all worth it, they bring me so much happiness. I am very active at my church where I am Sunday school superintendent and have the 9 to 13 year old children’s Sunday school class. This Christmas I got to relive the holiday through my kids, and, even more so, my grandkids. Those types of experiences are very special to me. We have a lot of family days in the summer at our pool.
Other than family, I love to travel—I’ve been to 43 of the 48 continental states, India, Columbia and several other international countries. I used to play basketball a lot but with injuries and as I get older I’ve had to put that aside and haven’t been on a court in a while. I still enjoy hiking, and try to get out to Red River Gorge; the Natural Bridge and Auxier Ridge Trails are my favorites. I ride a bike, and I don’t mean a motorcycle, a bicycle. I try to exercise at gym when I can.