Staff Spotlight: Bernie Lee
by Bernie Lee | Published On June 16, 2023
It was that one Spring morning a number of years ago that I made the call (a cold call, in fact). The snow had melted, the ground was just thawing, and trees were starting to bud once again. It was a call to a young company, merely six years in existence, that had specialized in voice IVR systems with a platform called Glacier. It was advanced self-serve technology running on high-density telephony boards with analog lines and ISDN PRI trunks. (It has since morphed into a feature-rich omnichannel contact center product.)
That call landed an interview with Dennis Menard and Gregory Luke, the senior technology leaders in the company at the time. For some reason, the interview was in a small windowless room, which added to the appearance of some intense interrogation that was about to begin. Nevertheless, the interview went well, and it led to my meeting with Mandle Cheung, the founder and CEO of ComputerTalk. I was impressed with the company’s direction and its longer-term vision. This then started my decades-long journey with the company (with a “finding myself” sabbatical for a few years in between, more on that later).
In the Beginning
I joined a small team of R&D developers that had the mandate to create a contact center platform, which came to be known as ice (Intelligent Communications Exchange). In the early years, there was much collaboration with Dennis on design decisions; one design session was even off-site at his farmhouse.
ice evolved from the initial voice-only platform to one that currently also supports web chat, chatbots, email, social media, screen recording, speech transcription, and analytics with integration to Microsoft Teams, Dynamics, and other best-of-breed products. ComputerTalk with the ice platform was on Gartner's Contact Center Infrastructure Magic Quadrant. Our cloud-based contact center solutions enabled companies to have their teams operate remotely, improved efficiencies with AI-powered chatbots, and helped companies streamline their customer service operations with ease of use and in-depth analytics.
With the afore-mentioned leave in between my tenure at ComputerTalk, I joined an IT consulting firm that specialized in CRM, ERP, and custom development projects. I was on consulting engagements with financial and government clients on strategy and technology roadmap planning, business architecture, application development, performance tuning, process re-engineering and legacy system renewal.
The Prodigal Son Returns
Upon rejoining ComputerTalk in 2012, I am now leading the talented Product Engineering team with oversight of Product QA. Having worked at strategic levels as well as providing leadership to development teams in my consulting engagements helped me to create a development path with the ComputerTalk team that delivers new features and, at the same time, continues to renew aging components.
Continuing to move forward and build advanced solutions, we will be launching agent assist and other generative AI use cases with GPT-3.5/4.
How Are We Different
If I were asked what sets ComputerTalk apart, I would highlight our ability to adapt and collaborate to achieve our goals. Being able to work cross-functionally also gives us the bigger picture and facilitates quicker issue resolution.
The company enables staff to move from one function to another as well for personal growth. As an example, we had someone who went from QA to sales and several others from project-focused custom application development to Product Engineering.
So, that one call years ago turned into a career, not without challenges, but blessed with many opportunities to explore, grow, and discover new horizons.