Big Shoes to Fill: A Q&A with Charlie Talmage
Posted by Julie Delazyn
Sixteen years ago this week, Charlie Talmage started working at Questionmark. Things were a little different back then… not horse and buggy different, but Perception V 2.1 different, which is pretty crazy.
Charlie is the kind of guy who lights up a room and makes lifelong friends, so when I heard he was retiring, or, as he put it, “[getting ready to] lay my burden down and let someone else step into my shoes, however large or small those shoes may be,” I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk to him about his significant experiences as a Questionmark technical support representative and quality assurance tester.
Sixteen years is a long time! How have you seen the company change since you started working here?
Good lord, the industry has come a long way, and Questionmark has been really good at keeping up and staying ahead of the curve. When I look back to what I was supporting— very straight forward and direct — a simpler product all around. Most of our customers used Microsoft Access as their database—today the amount of information processed requires SQL or Oracle. And Questionmark does so much more than it did back then, and the interface reflects this. There’s so many whistles and bells that we couldn’t even imagine 16 years ago. As a tech support rep for many years, I can tell you that you have to keep learning and stay flexible. That’s what we’ve been able to do as a company. It’s a whole different ballgame from Windows ’98.
What have you enjoyed most about your time at Questionmark?
The relationships I have built with customers and co-workers over the years. There are definitely moments that stay with you. When I was a tech support rep I had a customer who I referred to as a frequent flier. He called often to discuss fixes and ask questions. Since you talk often, you develop a rapport. He was a very nice man. A St. Louis Cardinal fan. Every time we got on a call, we would spend the first three or four minutes talking baseball. One day, he called me in a huge difficult situation. He was five minutes from delivering an exam to a large group, and things weren’t working right. I heard him out and was able to help him in jig time with two minutes to spare. That was a huge triumph. Those moments are what you live for.
So what’s life going to be like for you after October ninth?
Definitely a mixture of emotions. All my life I’ve wanted to travel, so I’ll be hanging out with my wife Karen and visiting Ireland, taking a train trip through the Canadian Rockies. But nature abhors a vacuum. I have a feeling I’ll wander to my office often. Questionmark has been a real nice atmosphere, with great people working together to reach a goal. It’s a family kind of deal here, and you’re all working together as a team, and in that way you get to work on some great projects. I’ve never been around a nicer group of people, and I’ve developed some great relationships. It will be strange to shut these machines off for the last time, but I’m sure I’ll manage to find ways to fill my time.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me Charlie. We’ll miss you around here!