comSpark Podcast - Barrett Buse,IT Administrator, LOTH Incorporated

comSpark Thought Leader‚Äč

Barrett Buse, IT Administrator

LOTH Incorporated


Brandon Hubbard


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Hello, and welcome to the comSpark podcast, where you will get to meet today's technology thought leaders. To learn more, visit

Brandon Hubbard: We're here today with Barrett Buse, who is IT administrator at LOTH Incorporated. LOTH Incorporated is located here in the Cincinnati area, and it specializes in office interiors with around 200 employees and just around 100 million dollars in revenue per year. They have offices in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Chicago. My name is Brandon Hubbard, a member of the comSpark executive host committee and I'm with RDI, and I will be your guest moderator today. Let's get started.

Welcome, Barrett. Today we have a couple of questions for you so we're going to go ahead and jump right in. Barrett, I know that LOTH is an interesting company. You wanted to make some points about that. Do you want to go ahead and tell us a little bit more of an in-depth look in LOTH.

Barrett Buse: Asolutely. First of all, thanks for having me. So LOTH,most people know us here in Cincinnati and Columbus areas as an office furniture company. I do work as IT Admin for them, but I also work for a holding company and underneath that holding company we have a couple of other interesting companies. We have OptiVia, which is a logistics company, and we have OptiVia bank equipment, which specializes in ATMS. And finally we have EWT, which is a workplace technology company. So as IT Admin, I am a responsible for servicing all those employees for those various companies.

BH:  Great. And sounds like you've got a plateful.

BB: Oh yeah.

BH: So we have some technology questions today that we want to ask you to give us a little bit more insight into the area of IT and what your day-to-day looks like. Today we have an app for so many tasks. What are the challenges in designing an application?

BB: You know I think it was a really interesting question because I think, in my opinion, we’re in like kind of the Post App revolution era where the app has gone from being geared towards the user and more as a marketing ploy. Tthere's an app for everything nowadays. The other day I went out and bought a new electronic toothbrush and that had an app,. I'm just like, ‘I don't need an app to tell me if my teeth are clean.’ So I think when it comes to developing a new app, you know, the app developers need to have the user in mind. Is it actually presenting a value to the user, or is it just a marketing ploy? So it's interesting to see what has come out of that, that kind of new marketplace, but it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the apps.

BH: Well, speaking of your toothbrush, that takes us right into our next question. We all want to know, tell us about your home network as an IT admin.

BB: So my home network is kind of basic. I just have a gigabit of fiber coming in to my apartment and that just connects to an AC router. But, kind of my pride and joy is my personal media server. I have about 14 terabytes of storage and that holds all my movies, TV shows, music, and that is accessible anywhere with an internet connection. So, it's kind of my little pet project and I take a lot of pride in it.

BH: That's great. That is a lot of movies and a lot of music.

BB: Oh yeah.

BH: Let's focus a little more on your company with your company's approach to end user support through the service desk. Can you kind of go through that for us?

BB: Yeah, absolutely. At LOTH we've recently been using a third party to kind of do our support. And we switched at the first of the year to in-house, and it's been a point of emphasis to make our employees, they're our customers in IT, so we needed to kind of speed things up and that's why we went in-house. For the first couple of months we've had a great response. We're a lot more organized than in the past and it's kind of led to less tickets and it’s given us more time in IT to tackle bigger projects. But one thing I will say about service is, we've made it a kind of a point of emphasis empower employees, teach them how we fix something, not as opposed to just fixing it. So if the problem reappears, they can take a crack at it. And I think that's really helped us a lot moving forward.

BH: It sounds like that knowledge is, really gonna work out going forward as the general population becomes more technologically advanced like you mentioned.

BB: Yeah.

BH: So what are your thoughts on these users bringing their own devices or B.Y.O.D. as they say?

BB: So, this is a really interesting one because I kind of pulled two sides of the cards. I represent the ownership of the company, but also the IT. So the ownership side, you want to explore B.Y.O.D. because it reduces costs. And from an IT standpoint on that side, you know, I've noticed that employees, when they don't have an ownership stake in their devices, they tend not to take as good of care of them. But on the IT side I recognize there's a ton of, a bevy of issues from privacy to control of data. So, I don't think it's a clear-cut solution. It’s going to be a balancing act between the two and a compromise. But I think there is some potential in a B.Y.O.D. model. We've explored it at LOTH, but that's ongoing. We haven't moved towards anything like that.

BH: So as we're closely integrating ourselves with technology and, even with or without the B.Y.O.D. model, just on our day-to-day lives, do we need to be concerned about our personal devices?

BB: Oh Absolutely. So, you know, personal devices I think are, you know, they hold more information than any, physical lockbox or anything nowadays. If somebody can get access to your email, from there, they can open up doors to God knows where. I really encourage all people to consistently change their pass codes, double-check the security of the devices to make sure that they're patched because the personal devices are a huge vulnerability.

BH: And I think you make a great point there. Great. Well, thank you for your time. Again, this is Brandon Hubbard with RDI and Barrett Buse with LOTH Incorporated. To learn more about us visit Goodbye, until next time.