It is not often that our Coffee Break section talks to someone with his own Wikipedia entry, especially if said entry is not so much related to the technology field... but to baseball.
Campbell, who has now settled into his Auckland-based role as OneNet's client relationship manager, was the first New Zealander to be picked by a major league baseball team, when, back in 2006, he was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays.
At nine years old, his mum signed him up for a baseball team after seeing an advertisement in the local newspaper. A year later, Campbell attended the World Children's Baseball Fair in Japan and his passion for the sport deepened. As there was no high school baseball in New Zealand, Campbell, attending Macleans Colleage in Auckland, settled for football there. He became a member of the New Zealand Olympic Youth Development Programme, before going on to play for the New Zealand national baseball team during his high school years.
"I always wanted to be a professional baseball player ever since I was 10. I worked incredibly hard for a very long time to achieve that. After doing that for six years and being forced into retirement due to injury, it was really hard to get my head around not basing my entire life around training, eating and everything else that comes with it," he says.
So how does a baseball player end up in IT? It all goes back to when Campbell studied broadcast journalism at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. "I have always liked gadgets and IT, so when I retired from playing baseball and decided to enter the professional world I always knew I wanted to work with relationships and IT just seemed to have a great fit," he says.
During his freshman year, in 2004, Campbell played for the Central Arizona Community College, where he led the team to the Region I championship and runner-up finish at the Western Districts championships. While in Spokane, later on, he played and started in all 54 games. A year later, his career would grow even further, with the draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, when he signed a seven-year contract with the club. He played in the New York Penn League for the rest of that year, as part of the Auburn Doubledays, before being promoted to class A in the Midwest League with the Lansing Lugnuts. In 2008, he was promoted two levels to AA and played 112 games with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. In the same year, he was selected in the World team for the 2008 All-Star Futures Game and the 2008 Eastern League all-star team. The following year, he went on to play 27 games for the Las Vegas 51s.
An injury, however, brought his baseball career to an early end. After living in the US for a decade, he moved back to New Zealand and says the overseas experience renewed his pride in the country. "We as New Zealanders are very lucky to live where we do. I have seen a lot of the world and can say very comfortably that I am proud to be a Kiwi," he says.
He has now entered a different kind of game - the cloud one. Joining OneNet as the company's client relationship manager, Campbell is responsible for both ensuring the success of existing clients as well as bringing more partners on board.
"As a relationship manager I would typically touch base with some of our existing clients to see how they are and if we can be doing anything more effectively," he says. "Mostly though, I am trying to get more partners to join with OneNet to deliver to great IT Cloud Services. We have some amazing minds behind the scenes making everything run smoothly but it doesn’t stop there. The atmosphere here at OneNet is blended perfectly to create a relaxed but efficient environment for business," he adds.
His focus now will be to grow business for OneNet, both through existing clients and new leads. "We have been in the cloud game for over ten years here at OneNet so there is a lot of experience in our corner. We offer so many services which save time and money which once incorporated can make our clients lives so much easier," he says.
Being a "people person" means Campbell fits right into his role. A passion for learning about others and their business also goes a long way. "I love the challenges life brings me, once you get through them and come out the other side," he adds. It was that love of new challenges that propelled his IT career. "I have coached [baseball] around the world and thought seriously about making a career out of it, but I wanted to challenge myself and learn a new industry. I couldn’t be happier."
Coffee Break Q+A
Where do you live now and where did you grow up and have lived before?
I recently moved to Mt Eden from Buckland’s Beach which is where I grew up. I spent almost ten years in the United States for university and professional baseball and lived in all four corners and pretty much everywhere in between during that time.
Are you married? Kids?
I have been married to my amazing wife Christina for a little over two years now.
What are you currently reading?
I am reading a few books on my Kindle Fire right now but mostly Crucial Conversation by a few authors. It is about how to talk when stakes are high.
Do you have any favourite sports?
Obviously baseball, but I love to play golf and watch American football.
What's your favourite gadget?
Gosh, that is a hard question. Playing baseball had a lot of travel and my Kindle Fire became a very good friend. It made it easy to not only read but email, Facebook, watch a movie and a whole lot more while on the road.
And your favourite website?
I have always loved lifting weights and learning about new training methodology. One of my great friends Howie Clarke is co hosting on a show called 8weeksout.com where they do weekly web casts. It has some really great cutting edge information and technology available to those who are looking for the edge of training.
Who is your mentor? Or someone you admire professionally?
I have had a few over the years. In baseball I always look up to Tony Gywnn who was my hero. I modelled my game around the way he played and the way he put the team first. Professionally I have been lucky that being a professional athlete has connected me with some really influential people. John Fellet [CEO of Sky TV], has always been available to talk and give me advice.
What do you think has been the single most important advance in technology?
Cloud technology has to be right up there. Access to and use of precious information can save lives but make life easier. That is why we are proud to offer New Zealand services to New Zealand people.