Often the women behind the scenes are the hardest at work. Keeping the wheels of a well-oiled machine spinning efficiently isn’t an easy job. This month at M&P we’re paying homage to all the women in leadership by spotlighting Owner and Co-Founder of Datum Tech Solutions, Amy Lawrence. Datum Tech Solutions is one of M&P’s earliest clients and while a lot has changed at the 3D laser scanning company since we joined forces, Amy’s dedication to her role as a woman in a leadership role has not. We sat down with Amy this Women’s History Month to discuss her role in a field dominated by men, how she’s juggling motherhood during an international pandemic and how her team continues to support one another in these bizarre times. Oh, and did we mention that Datum Tech Solutions is a SBA certified Woman-Owned Small Business? Pretty bad ass if you ask us.
What’s it like working with your family? Specifically your husband? What insight have your kids gained in watching your personal and professional partnership evolve over the years?
AL: Working with your spouse certainly isn’t for everyone. People always ask me if we get sick of each other. I’d say it’s the opposite though. Our business requires Stan to travel a lot, and because he spends so much time away from home it is fun to have this additional component of our lives keeping us constantly connected each day. Our kids are still young, three and five, so I don’t think they put a lot of thought into our professional life. They probably think all parents work together. Our kids literally grew up at Datum Tech Solutions. When our son Austin was born we were running the company out of our dining room and I worked between feedings and diaper changes. For the first six months of our daughter Skylar’s life I took her to the office every day and she rolled around on the floor behind our office manager and I. I often dropped equipment off to clients at construction projects around Seattle with my kids in the back seat, or lugged a baby in a carseat into Fedex along with 200 pounds of boxes to get orders shipped, so at the very least I hope we have instilled a sliver of our strong work ethic in them.
Datum Tech Solutions is a SBA certified Woman Owned Small Business. As a woman in a field dominated by men what does this certification mean to you and your team?
AL: It means a lot to me personally because I have worked hard to be here. A lot of what I do is on the backend of the business, and isn’t seen in the day-to-day work with our clients, but none of that would be possible without my contributions. It is important to recognize the accomplishments of women because it is no secret we aren’t given a level playing field with men in the workforce. I’m not the only woman behind our successes though. We have an incredible team of women who give 110% to our company and our clients. The Women-Owned Small Business certification is a reminder to each of those women, and all women and girls that our tireless fight for gender equality is important, and it is working.
What are some of the most amazing ways the team at Datum Tech Solutions supports you?
AL: Our team knows that family comes first to me, and they have stepped up on multiple occasions to support me when family matters take precedence over work. The current pandemic left us without school or childcare for our two young kids so I have been doing my best at the work from home with kids life. Let me tell you, it is no joke. Stay at home moms are nothing short of superheros. My team has stepped in and willingly added to their workload in order to lighten mine. They have constantly checked in to see if they could help in any way, and most importantly they have extended grace when it takes a little longer to get a response, or when they have to listen to screaming children in the background of our calls.
The globalization of technology and learning has been greatly impacted by COVID-19. Any insight into how young entrepreneurs can stay connected during this time of difficult communication?
AL: Pre-covid we used to attend and participate in a lot of technology trade shows around the country, which were often the center stage for unveiling the latest and greatest in technology and innovation. They were also our opportunity to stay connected with people in our industry and catch up on what’s happening next. We haven’t been to a trade show in over a year. Social media has always been a great place to learn about new technology in our field, but during the pandemic it has become an invaluable tool to stay connected and relevant. It helps us maintain those relationships with people we use to see at all the tradeshows.
What does your typical work day look like? How do you traverse unknown territory when a new project is thrown your way?
AL: Thanks to the pandemic I don’t have a “typical” work day. My days currently involve being a personal chef, police woman, teacher, jungle gym, chofer, lego builder, cleaning crew, nurse, and mediator. On top of that I run a very demanding business. I couldn’t do the latter without my amazing, very competent team. I am in constant communication with the team throughout the day, and we work through tasks as they arrive. We are often presented with projects that challenge us and take us into unknown territory. We love this! If anyone can figure it out, we can.
Did/do you feel at any time that as a woman you needed to prove yourself again and again? And if yes, how did you overcome that?
AL: Absolutely. I am not only a woman in the tech industry but a woman in the construction industry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been standing next to my husband and a family friend or relative will look right at him and say, “Stanley, how’s your business?” I’ve even been asked how Stan’s business is doing by people close to us. These people see or hear about the techie construction stuff we do at Datum Tech Solutions and it completely slips their mind that I founded the business, worked 80 hour weeks for years to get it up and running, and that I could possibly know anything about an RTC360 laser scanner or an iCR 82 Total Station with GeoCOM. Yes, it drives me crazy. How do I overcome it? I just politely inform them who does the real work behind the scenes and I move on. Then I make sure my marketing team plasters my face all over social media to remind everyone (lol)!
Have you ever wanted to give up your career in STEM and pursue another passion? What made you stay?
AL: I often daydream about finding a more creative path to pursue. I love photography, I am crafty and I like the process of building or creating things. But I also have found that starting and growing a business is similar to creating and building something, so I appreciate the creative aspect of that process. I also enjoy the challenge and I love watching the evolution of this business we have created and grown.
Learn more about becoming a WOSB business here