Employee Spotlight: Dawn and Sonny Pawchuk
CRM Dynamics prides itself in the diversity of our staff’s experience. To highlight that, each month we present the Employee Spotlight.
This month we learn about our Husband-and-Wife dynamic(s) duo, Sonny (Senior Architect) and Dawn (Senior Consultant) Pawchuk.
Read on to find out more about the Pawchuks!
How did you two meet?
Dawn: We met at CDI College in Edmonton. Sonny was working on becoming a Programming & Network Specialist, while I was studying to be Business Computer Specialist. Our first interaction was Sonny thoroughly trouncing me in our mock interviews. He had to work hard to make up for that…
Sonny: Computers was my second career choice, after multiple school & club sports injuries basketball, football, and soccer forced me to change my initial career choice in the arts through ballet. Like every aspiring programmer in Edmonton at the time, we wanted to work at BioWare as a game developer. Coming from a family of accountants and entrepreneurs, last on my list was business software development. (Laughs). But of course, my first job the day after I graduated was working for an ISV developing payroll software on Microsoft Dynamics GP.
Dawn: From there, I worked primarily in the banking and accounting industries, and helped Sonny with the odd project when he needed editorial review or someone to do QC. Our first project together was in 2001 where I completed all the lab exercises and editorial review on the VAR version of a new Payroll manual that he had designed. Opportunities to work together continued to grow until 2017 when I decided to leave the Accounting firm I was at and do Microsoft Dynamics work full time.
Sonny: Yeah, we’ve worked for companies together before, sometimes on different floors or different groups but for the last three years we’ve worked within the same home office together. I married my best friend 20 years ago this year, and we keep telling ourselves “too bad we didn’t have the guts to try to work together earlier”.
Wow, so how did you two end up at CRM Dynamics?
Sonny: I loved Microsoft Convergence and used to be a bit of a swag junkie. At the 2012 Houston Convergence, CRM Dynamics was giving away hoodie’s which was one of the crazy swag items in the Expo, so of course, I was there to get one. Over the next couple of days, I spent several hours at the booth geeking out about Dynamic CRM to GP and vise versa. From there, CRM Dynamics blog and online resources became a trusted source of information over the last ten years.
Dawn (smiling): We actually just donated the hoodie last summer during our spring cleaning. As a basketball coach, Sonny has so many hoodies that he had to make a choice, build more storage space, or do a hoodie purge. (laughs).
Talk about long term recruitment, how did this come together in 2021?
Dawn: Part of our daily routine was me searching the job boards and calling out companies looking for Dynamics resources. When I called out CRM Dynamics, Sonny stopped typing. I showed him the job ad and told him it would be perfect for him. A running joke since then is that they owe me a referral fee for headhunting Sonny. (Laughs).
Sonny: Yeah, CRM Dynamics was on a very short list of technology companies where I feel that our long-term plans align. I applied for the position right away. My career spans over 21 years and I need to learn so much yet, so my application process really focused on future plans. CRM Dynamics learned about Dawn and her skills through our initial conversations and that led to both of us coming on board at the beginning of the year. Between the CRM Dynamics culture, the changing industry landscape, and the pure desire of each person to learn from every project to be better for the next one, it is truly hard to conceptualize a CRM Dynamics limit to how much we positively impact others.
Very cool. Now, I have to ask – What’s it like working together and in such close proximity?
Dawn: It’s great. We have a 7 km walk for coffee (I am a steeped tea person) most days, generally before work. It usually ends up being a type of daily stand-up or project planning meeting. When meetings are scheduled at the same time, we have a second area setup as our backup video conference area. What has really worked for us is the communication. When we are in a meeting together, we establish the role we are filling before the meeting, that way we know who leading that meeting and who is providing colour commentary or taking notes.
Outside of work, what are some things you two are passionate about?
Dawn: I love to hike and camp. Although I hate bugs. (laughs). When camping, the tent must be bug-free for me. I am very much a family person and love doing anything with my family and friends. When my children were younger, I stayed home with them in their primary years and would often refer to myself as a “Conflict Negotiator”. When I was a child, I played soccer, basketball, volleyball, and baseball, so it is great being the basketball Mom, watching my kids play and grow through sports. I also enjoy just hanging with my friends enjoying a good conversation and playing some foosball or pool at the local club with friends or even board games around the table.
I love that. What about you, Sonny?
Sonny: Over the last ten years, I have loved coaching Basketball. As a High School Basketball at a school our children don’t attend, I had to coach against my son last year. Our son was captain of the team, and I had coached a lot of the players when they were younger. So it was an interesting game as each team really knew the scouting report on each other and every play being called. My team was able to pull off the one-point victory, but I did get a technical and my son wasn’t too happy with me for a few days. (Laughs).
I still love my computer gaming time, though I just can’t compete with my sons on some platforms. I like to think that I am still king in strategy games. On weekends, you can easily see me playing Total War, while listening to classical music, and have the YouTube channel on the latest Business Software/DevOps improvement. Just wouldn’t have it any other way (smiling).
Dawn: For the record, if Sonny wants to come to our son’s practice, he has to have his Dad hat on, not his rival coaching one. (Laughs).
You have two boys, right?
Dawn: Yes, our oldest is just starting engineering school at U of A, and our younger one is in his junior year in High School and has set his sights on his dream career as a physician.
Very impressive! Is there anything else you two are passionate about that you’d like to share?
Dawn: We try to help out in our community where we can. The robotics program needed to improve their equipment, so we donated funds so that the program could get the lasted VEX robotics equipment. The improved equipment helped them finish the season as a great success as the school’s team qualified for the Nationals in Toronto! It was great to be able to help a program, where just some financial aid helped a group achieve greater success then what they planned.
Sonny: The other initiative we are passionate about is gender equality in the tech space. We’ve always been a big proponent of putting forth the right person for the job and understanding and valuing a diverse group of contributors to companies and projects.
Incredible work – now for some fun facts. You two are known for being big Harry Potter and Marvel fans so…What’s your favourite Harry Potter Movie?
Sonny: That’s easy, Half-Blood Prince.
Dawn: I love the final one, but I prefer the ending in the book over the movie. Even still, I’d say the second part of the Deathly Hallows part 2. We also love going to Harry Potter world every couple of years, it is great to cosplay in the Harry Potter world.
And finally – who is your favourite Marvel Superhero?
Dawn: Ironman – hands down.
Sonny: It would be Spider-man for me.
You can catch Dawn and Sonny on your next project with CRM Dynamics, they will be the couple sharing the office with the Infinity Gauntlet behind them – can’t miss them!