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This is the one thing every consultant should look for in an IT consulting company.

#WeAreOmni Staffing Culture

There has never been a better time to be a technology consultant. The technology talent crunch is real, thanks to the rapid evolution of technology, the competition between companies for top IT talent and the limited number of professionals with sought-after technological skills. That means that if you're an IT consultant, you've got a lot of choices. Agencies are after you. Corporations want you. Small to mid-size businesses need you. Recruiters are banging down your door. So how do you know which opportunities to pursue? The short answer? Work for the technology consulting company that prioritizes your happiness. That might sound trite but consultant happiness is important for a consulting firm, says Omni Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist Kaycee Whitaker.

Well Paid but Bored: 5 Things to Do When Your IT Job Bores You

Staffing Culture #WeAreOmni

You've been at your job for a while, and, on paper, it looks great: your job pays well, the benefits are good and you've negotiated a flexible schedule. All of these things are great and you're grateful for them but there's a problem: you're bored. Maybe you've been doing the work long enough that it's not fulfilling. Maybe you've risen as far as you can at this job. So what do you do when you don't want to leave your benefits but your boredom makes you dread going to work? First of all, take heart because you're not alone. According to Gallup's State of the American Workplace report, of the 100 million workers in the US workforce, 67 percent are disengaged.

Are Consultants Always On The Road? The Top 5 Myths About Becoming an IT Consultant

Staffing Culture #WeAreOmni

You've got a great job in IT – you're full-time, you get good benefits and you're well paid, but you're bored. Maybe you've climbed the ladder as far as you can at your job. Or maybe you have your own business, but time you have to spend finding clients takes you away from the development work you love. Or maybe you're just starting out but you don't know where you should look for work.

April Fool's Day - Omni Style

Culture #WeAreOmni

April Fools is this Sunday and that’s no joke. Have any good pranks up your sleeve? My 7-year old son has been telling me about some of the pranks he would like to pull off like the Mentos in a Coke bottle trick or buying fake snakes and insects to place by unsuspecting people. I know my sister and I pulled some pranks on April Fool’s Day as kids, but none of them must have been too memorable, as none stick out for me!

#WeAreOmni Feature: Brian McCrary

Culture #WeAreOmni

Brian McCrary is a veteran at Omni and has been in the role of Solutions Consultant since 2012. Most recently Brian also became one of Omni's Consulting Managers. He resides in Sun Prairie with his wife and three children. I gave Brian many questions to choose from to get a little more inside perspective and the following are those he chose to answer for us. I hope you enjoy learning more about Brian.

#WeAreOmni Feature: Dan Kuchler

#WeAreOmni Culture

Dan Kuchler is a veteran at Omni and has been in the role of Solutions Consultant since 2012. He resides in Appleton with his wife and two daughters. Dan agreed to be the first employee featured in our #WeAreOmni Feature. I gave him a ton of questions to choose from to get a little more inside perspective and the following are the ones he chose to answer for us. I hope you enjoy learning more about Dan.

Self-Driving Cars: Inside the Machine

Artificial Intelligence Culture

Instead of convincing you to trust or avoid a self-driving car, or debating timeline predictions, let's leave that drama to the thousands of other blogs for now. Let's get a little adventurous and pop the hood instead... Can you spot the AI Brain in these pictures?    That was a trick question. Despite the mesmerizing sound of the idea that there's an 'AI brain' inside the car driving it around like some sort of friendly terminator robot that's been tricked into being a chauffeur, the reality is that self-driving cars today are just putting together many simple little tricks. However, it will have a few extra computers to help with some of the simple math and added hardware. Let's look at just a few of these, so that the next time you go to happy hour and your awesomely geeky programmer friend starts word-vomiting tech-heavy shizzle, you'll be able to carry the conversation. Overview of the simple tech and tricks we will look at: LIDAR: Think SONAR, but instead of sound, it uses freaky spinning laser beams. COMPUTER VISION: Detecting objects with the cameras that your self-driving car is decorated with. PREDICTION: Little tricks to guess where the car next to you is going to be in about 1 second from now. LIDAR Uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges - noaa.gov Car makers and self-driving car software companies are now attaching spinning laser beams onto their cars! I know, pretty cool right? Here's some pictures showing how beautiful this can make your car look, very steampunk, so much awesome going on here:    Pictures showing collected data points of distances.    This means that your car can know, without using any image recognition or fuzzy logic, that there's a treeline or a pedestrian right in front of you, and that it needs to stop! It also helps your car know where the flat area of the road is, and where other cars around it are located. Tech Crunch has a nice post that complements this topic: WTF is Lidar? COMPUTER VISION Even though the GPS is off by a few feet, it's still not ok to smash into oncoming traffic. By combining GPS with LIDAR and computer vision techniques to detect lane lines, we can keep the car in the lane. One thing the cameras can do is look for yellow and white lines, and fit a simple math curve with what it sees, to predict where the lane is, and help the car add information to the GPS and LIDAR data about where it is in the world. Here is a quick homework assignment I did for my Udacity course that shows a really poor attempt at detecting the lanes with cameras only: CurvyMcLaneFace Project

Appleton: Omni's Favorite Things to Do

Culture #WeAreOmni Community

With home offices in Appleton, Madison and Milwaukee, we took it upon ourselves to find out from our team what they consider to be the best things to do in each city. We’ve covered Madison and Milwaukee. Now we turn our attention to Appleton. The Fox Cities are where I reside and I love what this area has to offer. It was enjoyable to see what my colleagues had to share about this area I call home. We didn’t limit our responses to Appleton and discussed the Fox Cities area as a whole. Dan Kuchler, Solutions Consultant, mentioned Octoberfest, the Children’s Farm at Plamann Park with its free petting zoo, Riverside Park in Neenah with its rocket ship slide/space themed park and CommunityFest. He also enjoys hiking and exploring at High Cliff State Park and visiting Wanick Choute Park and the Sherwood Splash Pad. Lindsey Dix, Employee Experience Specialist, enjoys music in Houdini Square on Thursday nights in Appleton. Emilie Rusch, Project Manager, can be found taking in the scene at Art at the Park in Appleton. Mat Gutschow, Solutions Consultant, stretched his areas of interest a little further out. He enjoys getting up to Mt. Bohemia for some snowboarding. He says it would be considered the Midwest’s premier powder resort. He also likes to go sailing in Door County and explore harbors and islands throughout Lake Michigan. Lawrence Valiquette, Software Engineer, likes to attend shows at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center located in downtown Appleton. Katie Escribano, Talent Development Specialist, likes to go boating on Lake Winnebago with her family and friends. You can also find Mat Gutshow enjoying Lake Winnebago when the winds are above 10mph when he is kiteboarding. Once the temps dip below freezing and the lakes have snow, Mat takes up snow kiting. The Farmers Market on Saturday mornings in downtown Appleton made Valiquette’s, Kuchler’s, and Rusch’s list. Another local event that made Kuchler’s, Rusch’s, and Dix’s list was the Mile of Music festival every summer. I love the Mile of Music and make it to an occasional Farmer’s Market as well. One of the things my son and I take the biggest advantage of are the area pools that the Fox Cities offers each summer. We can often be found at Erb Pool, Mead Pool, Neenah Pool, or the Menasha Pool. We also enjoy going frisbee golfing at one of the many parks in our area…our favorite being Plamann. And finally, for our sports fix, we take in a Timber Rattlers baseball game at Fox Cities Stadium. It always ends up being a option the whole family appreciates. What did we miss? What would you add to our list of best things to do in the area?

Omni in Your Community

#WeAreOmni Community Culture

In 2015, I made the transition from teaching marketing to high school students to managing marketing efforts for Omni. There are days I miss the impact I made in the classroom and the connections I made. So, when the opportunity came up this past year to volunteer in my son’s second grade class as a Junior Achievement rep I said yes without hesitation. The program that they asked me to conduct with the class was “JA Our Community.” JA describes it as a program that “introduces students to the intersection of work readiness and early elementary grades social studies learning objectives, including how citizens benefit from and contribute to a community’s success.” The program consisted of five sessions and most of the time we allotted one hour of time for each. I added one session to the end, where I provided the class with a pizza party to celebrate the success of completion of the program as well. Some Key Learnings • Second grade students are a ball of energy! What a transition it was for me to go from a high school classroom to a grade school classroom. The students were incredibly engaged and wanted to answer and discuss everything. I give major credit to my son’s teacher, Mrs. Koptizke, and all teachers that provide such rich learning experiences, while balancing the needs of so many different students every day. • While JA gives great curriculum to use, it is important to review it prior to going into the classroom and discuss strategies with the teacher to experience the best success. Their teacher knows them best and can provide some insight into things they think will work and things you may want to tweak. • If you find opportunities to enhance the experience, go for it. One of the lessons was about voting as a citizen. The JA curriculum offered a scenario you could use for voting, but I asked the teacher for three things that were $50 or less that could improve her classroom. She suggested new Scholastic books, electric pencil sharpeners, or rocking chairs. We discussed our options as a class and students made their case for each one. We then voted on them as a class and the students were extremely excited to watch the process unfold. Rocker chairs were the winner and Omni covered the cost of them to provide a more realistic experience for the students. • Second grade students are emotionally invested. One of the sessions had each student receive five JA dollars. This session covered how workers make money in a community and this provided a tangible item they could see when discussing how it works. At the end of the session, our classroom teacher walked around as the tax collector and took two of the dollars from each student to illustrate how taxes work. Some students were extremely upset by this, almost to the point of tears in some cases. As one of the classroom aides put it, “kids…that is how it feels as adults too at times.” So true. • Use examples and keep them moving. I knew from my prior teaching experience that the use of examples is always best. Kids want to know how it’s done and relate it to something. Mrs. Kopitzke also made it clear it would be wise to get the kids up and moving around at multiple points throughout the lessons to keep them engaged. This was invaluable in my planning for each lesson. I appreciate that Omni allowed me the time to give back in one of my local classrooms. If you get an opportunity to volunteer for Junior Achievement through your organization, I would highly recommend the experience.