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MC Spotlight: Caleb Foss
Metropolitan College alum, Caleb Foss, needed a way to pay for college at the University of Louisville (UofL). Being a native of the Louisville area, Foss knew a lot of people who were part of the Metropolitan College/UPS program.
After Foss graduated from high school at Portland Christian High School in Louisville, KY, he began employment at the UPS Worldport in Louisville, KY working third shift as a part-time package handler to qualify for the company’s tuition benefit.
In December 2009, Foss graduated from UofL with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. Foss initially majored in communications with the intention of going into broadcasting, but later developed an interest in telecommunications and found that the networking side was really exciting. Foss commented:
“All communications, whether that's TV, phone, 4G, it all relies on the internet backbone to get to the rest of the world. I think that having a formal understanding of what goes into broadcasting gives me a greater appreciation for maintaining the transport of the data.”
Today, Foss works as a Strategic Account Engineer at Charter Communications in Louisville, KY. He has been with the company for eight years working in various roles. Foss’s advice to others:
“Don’t be afraid to start in a small role. All careers have to start with some entry level position, but if you have the proper motivation you can move fast. I've been in seven different roles in eight years, all with the same company.”
In Foss’s current role as Strategic Account Engineer at Charter Communications, he is responsible for a number of essential projects some of which include: developing comprehensive network designs using Microsoft Visio; writing and delivering post-mortem reviews following outage events; delivering network improvement plans to customer management teams; implementing Y.1731 testing using SAM 5620 for service level assurance; using HPNA to perform regional audits and push configuration scripts; and developing scripts in Python to compile and collate large data set.
Foss’s was led to his current role out of the desire to take on more responsibility and larger roles, and a strong curiosity for wanting to understand how the provider backbone works nationally. The most rewarding part of his job is tackling large-scale projects that impact entire states or the whole country. “There is a great satisfaction in knowing that one of my projects is improving reliability and greater network performance to thousands, potentially millions of end users,” said Foss. In the next five years, Foss wants to attain more experience in a project management type role and use that experience to take on larger projects.
In the meantime, Foss frequently follows new technology to remain current in his field as there are incredible advances in machine learning and robotics going on right now that are fascinating. Foss went on to say:
“I can't tell anyone that a robot won't take their job, but I can say that learning how to learn might be one of the most key skills in the upcoming decades. College is a great place to practice that, so stay in school.”
When asked what has most contributed to his career success, Foss replied, “Mentors have had a huge influence on my professional career, and it is good to find one in every role you take to make sure you keep growing.” For this reason, Foss decided to volunteer to be a mentor for the Metropolitan College Online Career Guide Program, a new career development initiative which connects current students and recent graduates with experienced professionals for valuable career advice and one-time feedback on their resume, LinkedIn profile, and online career portfolio. Foss encourages students to connect with him through the Online Career Guide Program.
Learn more about Caleb Foss’s Metropolitan College experience and career advice in this Q&A.
Q: What professional skills and qualities do you find to be most valuable in the workplace and why?
Leadership has been the most valuable quality throughout my career, the ability to take charge of a situation and influence it to reach a desired outcome. Not everyone practices leadership and so by showing this quality I have proved myself to my manager’s time and time again, which always pays off when it's time for promotion consideration.
Q: What is the best career advice that you ever received?
One of my managers told me "you're always being interviewed" and that really stuck with me. He was referring to how all of your little actions throughout the day, showing up early or late, telling a customer it's not your problem or taking ownership, your bosses notice all of that.
Q: What were your biggest challenge as a MC participant? What contributed to your success with balancing academic, work, and personal life?
The biggest challenge was staying awake through my classes, but I made it through by making sure I prioritized school over work or other personal interests.
Q: What is an interested or fun fact about yourself?
I met my wife at UPS, she was also in the Metro College program, so I'm thankful for that.
Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in life so far?
Buying and selling my house probably, that was the greatest challenge me and my wife took on together and it was very rewarding once we were done.
Q: What has been the biggest influence in your life?
My dad is still biggest influence [in my life]. He's the one who has always told me to find something I love to do, and not feel like I have to take a certain path just because it's more money or the company wants me to do it. I still follow that advice, and I'm glad I haven't allowed myself to be [pressured] into a career path that I would have enjoyed less.”
Q: What is your favorite quote/life motto?
Live every week like it's shark week. That's from 30 Rock and it remains a significant source of motivation in my life.
Metropolitan College is looking for current and former Metropolitan College participants to spotlight! If you know of someone, please contact Renecia Griffie Davis, Student Development Counselor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-852-2534.
“This journey has not been easy … but hard work and perseverance pay off,” says Smith who has already earned nearly $30,000 in tuition benefits, book reimbursements and academic bonuses.
"Thanks to UPS, I can go to school and graduate debt free!"