Massiello Named First Lifetime Champion for Power
May 23, 2018 Alex Woodie
Pete Massiello has been a mainstay of the IBM i community for decades. He’s the president of iTech Solutions, a former president at COMMON, a respected technical authority on the platform, an in-demand speaker, and part of the inaugural group of IBM Champions for Power Systems in 2011. Now he can add one more title to his resume: Lifetime Champion for Power Systems.
IBM this month announced that Massiello is the first Lifetime Champion for Power, an event for which he was not prepared. “It was a surprise to me,” he said, before quickly adding “It’s a huge honor, an unbelievable honor.”
According to the IBM Champions webpage, IBM occasionally elevates one of its Champions to be Lifetime Champion to recognize those “who stand above their peers for service to the community. Over multiple years, these IBM Champions consistently excel and positively impact the community. They lead by example, are passionate about sharing knowledge, and provide constructive feedback to IBM.”
Those words basically sum up Massiello’s impact on the IBM i community. With the COMMON POWERUp 18 conference taking place this week in San Antonio, Texas, it will give IBM i professionals a chance to thank the former mainframe system administrator who switched to the AS/400 in 1988 for the work he’s put into the platform and the energy he’s shared with the community.
True to form, Massiello downplayed any notion that this was all about him. It’s more about the community and the people, he said. “I look at all the Champions, most of whom I know not just from work but also as friends — they’re all amazing people,” he told IT Jungle. “To be selected from that group of people is one of the highest honors I can think of.”
Don’t expect Massiello to rest on his laurels and bask in the glory of being the first and only Lifetime Champion for Power Systems. To hear him talk about it, the new title is really about having a bigger platform for spreading the word about IBM i and having a bigger conduit for connecting IBM with the community.
“Being a Champion is not a one-way street,” he said. “It’s not just hearing from IBM. It’s telling them what we’re hearing from the community so we can represent the community at large to tell IBM what they need to be focusing on. That’s the important part. People think Champions are getting things from IBM. It’s a two-way street. We represent the community and I think that’s why a lot of us have been picked, because of our involvement in the community.”
As a Champion, Massiello is privy to IBM’s future plans for the IBM i platform, which he hears under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). While the past 30 years since the launch of the AS/400 has been great (and will be the cause of much celebration this week at the POWERUp 18 conference and into the AS/400 actual birthday on June 22), he said the stuff that IBM i has planned for the future is just as good, if not better.
“I know what’s coming out in the next release and what’s coming out in the next release after, and it’s exciting stuff,” he said. “I think it’s great time to be involved with IBM i. I don’t see it on a decline, I see it on an incline.”
Now that he’s a Lifetime Champion, Massiello’s opinions may carry a little more weight, although he flatly denies that will be the case. (“All Champions are the same,” he said.) Nevertheless, the IBM i community would do well to heed the advice of the only Lifetime Power Champion in existence and start partaking of the technological bounty that IBM is spreading out before them.
“My message would be, don’t look back over the last 30 years. Look at the future, because I think the future has a lot of potential,” he says. “When you look at all the new open systems stuff coming out, all the new databases coming out, the new Power hardware — those are the things that we’ve been focusing on, not the 30 years that have past. I don’t want to burst anybody’s bubble, but it’s the future that’s exciting.”