Hamed Hemmati

Pala Tribe
Director of IT

What can you tell us about your team and your background?
I started with the Pala Tribe seven years ago as a network administrator and now am serving in the Director of IT role. I have seen the number of people, locations, and hardware and software that we support grow immensely in the time I have been in this department, all with a staff of just three people. When I started, the IT department was responsible for maintaining Microsoft Office for less than 50 users and managing one file server. We had five buildings and everyone had individual email accounts. We now have over 130 employees at the tribe and18 buildings all connected via fiber. We’ve moved to an exchange server and are in the process of deploying VOIP for a unified communication system stretching across all of our campus. My team provides service and support for all government functions in the tribe such as; tribal administration, GIS, emergency management, fire/public safety, post office, radio station, education and child care. The tribe also owns some non-gaming enterprises that we are involved with deploying and maintain technology at such as the motocross raceway.
What was it like moving from a technical role into a leadership one?
I still remain hands on and don’t remove myself from projects just because of my position. I think it’s important to be involved and remain aware of what’s happening with the projects even if you aren’t the person that’s hands-on in every instance. At the leadership level I also deal more with the tribal council than I did as a network administrator on things like strategic planning and the role IT plays in some of the tribe’s businesses.
What projects are on the horizon for your team?
I would say we have three main projects or areas of focus for the rest of 2015. Security is a topic that is always on our minds, we will be continuing to work on the balance of ensuring that our network is secure while not impeding on user ability/access. We are changing our badging system to include QR codes and microchipping for every area of the tribe from things like employee and visitor badges to accessing the fitness center. Last is a project that will not only foster improvement but could also potentially increase revenue, the deployment of a new A/V system that would be available for use within a rental space owned by the tribe.