When Matt Soares was offered a role at Akamai, it was the flexibility that sold him. "It allowed me to make it my own and I thought that was pretty cool!" he said. Today, Matt is the lifeline of the Akamai Americas campuses as the manager of facilities operations. If a employee's office isn't below freezing, they can probably thank him. During his days at Akamai, he's involved in office functionality and in the planning of the new Cambridge headquarters building. He's also a chronic cereal wolfer and a big fan of his newest cooking accessory. Matt recently shared a little about his professional and personal experiences, his biggest challenge, favorite mistake and go-to winter pastime.
Tell us a little about your role as the manager of Akamai facilities operations.
On our facilities team, we handle all day-to-day operations that keep an office running and employees productive. We handle hot and cold calls, order office supplies, run the reception and mailrooms, and even get to clean the toilets! If there's a light out or a chair that just keeps leaning to one side, we take care of that. In my position, I work with the facilities teams across all of our Americas offices (around 25-30 different office locations) to try to keep the offices functioning so that the rest of the Akamai population can work comfortably.
You have worked in a lot of different Akamai offices around the Cambridge campus. What has that experience been like?
I like that each building has a different feel. I'm the type that likes change (some say I'm restless). But the cool thing about the Cambridge campus is that even if you think you've seen it all, there are likely rooms you've never been in. You can go visit areas of our campus that have been there for years that you've never been to before. The one positive to having six buildings is it gives you an excuse to walk outside for a minute. You can step away from the computer screen and just clear your mind while heading to another building.
Can you share a favorite memory from your time at Akamai?
My favorite memory was the first time I was given permission to email the company distribution list for a large-scale communication. After I successfully hit the send button after only typing, "Hello, please remember to...," the general Akamai population was more than happy to call me out and remind me of how badly I messed up (in a good way).
Everyone in Cambridge is very excited about the new headquarters. What is your role in the planning for our new home?
My main role for the HQ will be secret keeper. Joking. Aside from being part of the Real Estate team that is leading the design and build of HQ, I'll also get to help facilitate our internal focus group, where we've gathered people that represent a cross-section of Akamai's Cambridge-area population to provide input and relative departmental feedback on all decisions related to this project over the next few years.
What's one of the biggest challenges you've overcome?
One of the biggest challenges we face on our Facilities Operations team is keeping up with the high volume of ongoing activities and requests around the globe at any given time. We recently formalized our operations team and regionalized the efforts. This was done in an attempt to have team members who are better able to focus on specific regions and to allow them to be more efficient about their prioritization.
What could you not get through the workday without, other than coffee?
Music, hands down. I listen to it all day long. Also, a glass of water.
What is on your desk?
Speakers and a glass of water (see above). Also right now there are scattered drawings of HVAC plans, some invoices and a teeny fan for when I get hot from moving super heavy things.
What's your morning routine?
Spend the morning on the train skimming through emails, social media and podcasts. Get to the office and grab a glass of water and a bowl of cereal. Eat it furiously while getting my laptop set up before all of the vendors show up and the day gets crazy. Start thinking about when I'll eat my lunch around 10am...
Name one thing you're really into right now.
Cast iron skillets. I got one recently and have been smoking my house out in an attempt to cook a piece of meat to what is considered "edible." One of these days I'll be like Bobby Flay.
What's your favorite winter activity?
Relaxing in a ski lodge after a day of skiing. The skiing part is painful, but relaxing afterwards seems to be a pretty good time.