Employee Spotlight: Shane Lawson

Written February 14th, 2022

Post Tags: culture, employee spotlight, employee spotlights

What are Papa John’s pizza, a local restaurant in West Virginia, a guy named Josh, and Google Glass? All unexpected elements that brought Shane Lawson, System Administrator, to NetCentrics.

Settle in, because this story includes an unexpected meet cute, too.

Pre-Med to Pizza

It all started when Shane, then a twenty-something, was looking for an answer to the question: what next? He’d studied pre-med, then moved his attention to psychology and sociology (similar to NetCentrics’ corporate recruiter Ryan Gore), and followed some other pursuits. Eventually Shane decided to move to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, get a job, and figure out what to do next. The job he got was as a Papa John’s delivery driver. (“One of the benefits was free pizza,” he says fondly.)

During this time Shane did a lot of tinkering with technology. He’d always been passionate about technology and at the time, 2013, Google Glass had just hit the market. He couldn’t buy a pair of the glasses so he embarked on sourcing and finding parts to build his own. This included a trip into Washington, D.C. to use what was then leading edge: a 3-D printer at a makerspace.

Shane was also checking out the local dating scene, but no one really stood out.

It All Began in a Bar…

One night, Shane ended up at a place called the Vista Tavern for some beers. A woman who worked there caught his eye. Her name was Colleen. He explained his approach over the next few weeks: “I just kept showing up for dinner or lunch. I made sure that I got seated in her section or at the bar when she was bartending, and just kept talking to her.” Eventually, the two became friends.

So, armed with his DIY, 3-D printed Google Glass, Shane went back to Vista Tavern to show it to Colleen. She’d appreciate the time and effort required to create it. Plus, it was a great excuse to see her again.

Shane was right. Colleen was impressed. But unexpectedly, so was Josh Hunter, a stranger sitting nearby.  

Josh, a NetCentrics employee, was in town for work. He could see this was no ordinary pizza delivery guy hitting on a waitress. Shane was someone who clearly had an interest in technology and a knack for building solutions. While Colleen went back to work, the two started talking. Shane explained how he’d built his Google Glass hack.

Long story short: Josh and Shane became friends. Josh could see Shane shared his interests and had potential. Josh mentored his new friend and helped him get some of his first necessary technical certifications, enabling Shane to get freelance work.

Shane quit his pizza delivery job soon after. Eventually he got a full-time position as a Security Analyst with Inova Health System. From there, the Shane and Josh stayed in touch. When NetCentrics had an open position, Josh encouraged him to apply. Shane did, and the rest is part of NetCentrics’ IT history.     

… And Gets Better All the Time

And more surprising: Colleen and Shane, well, “we decided we actually liked each other, lol” and eventually got married. Today they’re the proud parents of son. Colleen works at the same restaurant (now under a new name), where she’s now the Director of Events.

Shane and his son at Christmas this year

So what brought Shane to NetCentrics, where he is now a critical part of our IT team?

You could credit Shane’s desire to impress someone he liked, just by being himself. Or you could credit the coincidence of having his work appreciated by a stranger, Josh, who generously opened some doors. Or you could point to Shane following his natural curiosity to solve a technical problem. But really you need to credit all these factors that came together that one day.

It’s a good reminder to recall how unexpected people and events have impacted your life for the better, too.