Article 19 MiniPod 3 – Conversation with Jeff Tamburino, Tamman CEO

Candle, tungsten bulb,fluorescent bulb and LED bulb

This is a bonus episode of the Article 19 podcast. Marty talks to Tamman CEO and Co-Founder Jeff Tamburino about what drives him and what the future has in store for Tamman.

Voiceover  00:00:00

Expression is one of the most powerful tools we have a voice, a pen, a keyboard. The real change, which must give to people throughout the world, their human rights must come about in the hearts of people. We must want our fellow human beings to have rights and freedoms, which gives them dignity. Article 19 is the voice in the room.

Marty Molloy  00:00:24

Hi, and welcome to another mini podcast from Article 19. We are here today with the man himself the head honcho of Tamman, Tamman CEO, Jeff Tamburino. Oh, Jeff, how are you feeling today?

Jeff Tamburino  00:00:39

Feeling pretty good.

Marty Molloy  00:00:40

So unlike our regular podcast, we kind of dispense with all of the other stuff we get right into the meat of things. So I want to jump right in, So tell us, How did Tamman even come about? Tell us about the start of Tamman.

Jeff Tamburino  00:00:53

I had had a working relationship with Mike Mangos, we were both consulting, I had been doing my own IT gig for a few years. And he was getting ready to make a change in his direction and try something new, get out of the rat race, so to speak. And he wanted to go to Japan and teach English. He had a project he needed finishing up. He trusted me with that project. He’s like, Hey, Jeff, can you go in and finish this? I have a three week IT project that I need you to finish up with a pretty big client. And I was like, Yeah, that sounds great. I could, I could use an extra client, I only had about a dozen clients at the time. And so I took this project on I went in to a large FinTech, Bank of America to help finish up a project. And I’ve been there since actually. The amount of opportunity that I saw in there and the help that they needed. And I could not resist within a few weeks calling Mike back up and going, what are you doing, you got to come back here, we could make a company out of this. There’s enough work here for us both, and then some enough opportunity to grow something and thus started my year long campaign of you know, Skype calls and late night calls to Japan over Skype, convincing him to come back and start Tamman. And so that’s, that’s how it started.

Marty Molloy  00:02:03

And like any good startup, you started in your basement, right? I mean, isn’t that where the real origin was?

Jeff Tamburino  00:02:11

Yeah, yeah, the real origin was in the basement. While he was in Japan, he was also teaching with a friend of his that he had made when he was over there, Trevor Menagh was his name. And he was an engineer. And he actually convinced him to come back. So he came back with employee number one. And we started with three people in the basement, you know, and Mike immediately picked up a couple of his large older clients, Blue Cross being one of them. And I continued to shake the trees of Bank of America. And one thing led to another and we brought on a developer. And, you know, I think it was within that first year, we actually brought on Cynthia Black, who is still with us, you know, almost 13 years later now as employee number two. And that’s where history started in my basement, You know, you’ve cultivated this amazing climate and culture. And I can say it because I live it every day. I think it speaks volumes to who you are about your people first approach, but I don’t want to be presumptuous. What’s your favorite thing about Tamman as an organization? I mean, that’s easy. I mean, it’s, you know, seeing the culture that we’ve evolved and built, you know, it basically culture equals people. So you know, the thing I love about the company, or the people that we’ve been so fortunate enough to bring on, and it’s by choice, I mean, we go through that process of vetting. But right away, Mike and I are able to look at somebody and say, Yeah, that’s a Tamman person, bring them on, or that’s not gonna work, that personality doesn’t fit with what our values are. And over time, that’s just evolved into growing the kind of people that we want to foster the culture that we believe in. And, you know, great companies are built with great people, that’s been the basis of everything that we do, if we bring in those type of people that respect and treat others with the right respect that we expect, it just leads to success. And it’s been proven. That’s it. I mean, I just I love the people that we work with.

Marty Molloy  00:03:55

I completely agree. And I as someone who’s involved in the recruiting and everything else, I know exactly what you mean, when you say up, that’s the fit. For me, it tends to be a sense of curiosity, a sense of goes beyond respect, I think when you see it, because a Tamman person, a Tamman, good, you know, someone’s going to build this climate and culture is someone who jumps in and wants to learn more, and go beyond what they come in with. And I just think you and Mike, you especially have done a phenomenal job in that crafting, like supporting that, you know, curiosity and wanting them to move forward in their own careers. And sometimes they move on into other places outside Tamman, but you I’ve heard you say, but then we have a great Tamman alum. And I just think that that’s an awesome sentiment to have.

Jeff Tamburino  00:04:43

Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of employees are worried about retention and how do we keep people forever and we went into this knowing especially you know, starting in the IT side of things where that skill set, people just hop around a lot and expecting that to happen and planning for it and knowing like, Hey, we’re gonna get This person for a certain amount of time, let’s instill our culture and our values into this person. So when they do move on, it creates that social network of people that are like, oh, yeah, I worked for Tamman, loved it. They were great, you know. And once we get that on the street, then it just kind of builds upon itself. It’s worked out really well for us.

Marty Molloy  00:05:16

That’s excellent. So we started with history talked about things you love the best, what do you anticipate the future holds for Tamman?

Jeff Tamburino  00:05:24

You know, it’s been an interesting ride, especially these past two years, I think, building on the basic premise of the culture that we have, and the great people that we have, there really isn’t anything that I don’t feel we can’t accomplish with the base foundation of the culture that we built for our company. Good culture, I think is the challenge for most small companies, especially during this time with the pandemic right now, I feel like we’re ready to springboard into whatever we want to tackle, because we have the right people in place to do so. So I’m super excited about what the future is going to bring. I can’t tell you what it’s going to be. But I can tell you, we’re going to be prepared for it. So I’m excited.

Marty Molloy  00:06:01

And I think prepared for it is something that I think is a gift of yours, even before you know, March 2020 and the pandemic started, you were saying, hey, let’s have a couple of test days, let’s make sure that we can be successful remote, you put in place all those things, so that when all of this sort of happened, I mean, we didn’t miss a beat. And having that preparation really allowed us to continue the success pretty much unbroken, which is phenomenal.

Jeff Tamburino  00:06:27

Yeah, I mean, I had no idea we’d go this long, I thought, you know, this is going to be a problem for a couple of weeks, we should get our remote act together, who knew it was going to last as long as it has, and it really has evolved into a different normal at this point. I’m happy with where we are, I’m happy that we prepared for it. And I’ve seen the success of just having the right people to work remote. It’s been great for us.

Marty Molloy  00:06:48

Yeah, thinking about relationships. And you know, I think this is an absolute strength of yours that even still throughout Tamman, you’ve kind of gotten a bit of a reputation for trying to solve or at least anticipate problems before they occur. Can you talk a little bit about you know, why you take some time to think through, especially for larger organizations, from your consulting lens to look at? Alright, here are some potential issues that could be down the road. Let’s get in front of that. Can you talk a little bit about that mentality?

Jeff Tamburino  00:07:17

Sure. I mean, I think I’ve seen you know, even from back in the Lockheed days, you know, the larger the organization, the harder it is for individuals to succeed. Everybody has their own motives and their own agenda in a corporate environment. When you get on these calls, and you get on a meeting for uh, I was on one today actually about, you know, long term plans to get something accomplished, and when you hear that dead air on the call, you know that people’s minds are like, this is never gonna work, but people don’t want to speak up. So just being able to be empathetic to the way things are being presented and how they’re being perceived by people on the call, and then being able to call that out later and have a smaller meeting. Hey, look, guys, here’s what I see happening. Here’s how we can succeed despite that, these issues, just being able to put those pieces together and have those conversations and just be an Unblocker for people to succeed. It’s what I do.

Marty Molloy  00:08:07

So you are a gambling man, anybody who knows, you knows that you are a poker player, you started a poker group, at least when we were still meeting in person in the office. What are you gambling on these days?

Jeff Tamburino  00:08:18

At the moment poker is taking a backseat. Tournament poker, which I love to death is just a real time consuming investment. Right now, I can’t focus on that I have to focus on the company at this time and the direction that we’re going in making sure that we’re firing on all cylinders. You know, I do dabble in the stock market and investing. That’s a gamble. Don’t let anybody tell you any different right now. It’s not doing that well. But you know, again, it’s the long game that we play. And you know, same thing for poker. Actually, it’s it’s over time you get better and over time, your results are what you’re judged on. It’s not that day only. But yeah, I think right now, you know, the gambling has kind of been on the side. I’m banking on the culture of the company bringing us forward.

Marty Molloy  00:09:00

I love it. And it’s the long game and I think talents, belonging relationships, whether it’s employees or clients for the long game. And I think that that’s something that again, you brought all of that into the company. Well, Jeff, I appreciate I know you were a very busy guy, I appreciate you taking a few minutes to talk about Tamman. You know, we’re gonna put this out into the world, see if anybody eats it up. But these mini podcasts in Article 19 have been a hit, and I hope that you will come back on for a longer conversation soon. We just have to find the scheduling in your calendar to do it.

Jeff Tamburino  00:09:30

Sure. Well, it’s been a pleasure. I you know, I love talking about the company. And I’m super excited to where we are now and where we’re headed. So thanks a lot for the opportunity.

Marty Molloy  00:09:38

Thanks, Jeff. We’ll talk to you soon.

Voiceover  00:09:40

If you like what you heard today, and want to explore more about digital accessibility inclusivity or to schedule a time to talk with us. You can find the whole Tamman team at Tamman Inc dot com. That’s tamnaninc.com for follow us on social media Tamman Inc. on LinkedIn twitter instagram or facebook we’ll talk to you again next time

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