As OneNet’s director of network services, Sky Pettett helps design and maintain all network operations while also assisting customers, coordinating with other state agencies and helping lead projects in our network operations center.
Pettett first arrived at OneNet in 2014, working as a network engineer providing support to customers. He joined OneNet immediately after graduating from Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SEOSU) with a master’s degree in information technology.
In early 2018, he was promoted to director of network services, and his work has shifted toward bigger-picture ideas. Instead of working only on technical network details, he plays a key role in larger strategy discussions.
“Now I work more on the administrative side, such as designing work for the future,” Pettett said. “As an engineer, I was more involved in what was happening right now.”
One strategic goal Pettett is thinking about is how OneNet can help support institutions without the resources to effectively manage their own networks.
“We have new services all the time,” Pettett said. “Sometimes the schools we serve need an extra hand to assist their technical staff on-site, so we help them whenever we can.”
Despite his expertise, Pettett is not a conventional tech worker. His undergraduate studies at SEOSU were not in network engineering or in any STEM field at all, but theater. Though he hasn’t pursued acting after college, Pettett says that his dramatic training is still useful in everyday situations.
“A lot of the stuff lapsed from theater, but being able to put myself in uncomfortable situations and still be able to function…that has helped me considerably,” he said. “If I need to do something, I can get into the right frame of mind and just do it.”
At OneNet, Pettett has put his theater talent to use in the “How The Internet Works” video series. Pettett explained fiber optic cable and DDoS attacks in the series’ first two videos, with more on the way.
Pettett has two kids. He says his 4-year-old daughter, Indiana, is very friendly and loves meeting new people, while his 1-year-old son, Lincoln, is more relaxed and gentle.
“We have a hammock in the backyard, and we like to pretend that it’s a pirate ship and play there with a bunch of Nerf swords I bought when I was younger,” Pettett said. “We also have a new kitten, so now it’s very popular for the kids to pretend they’re cats.”
At home, Pettett has recently developed an interest in 3-D printing, using it both for fun and for practical purposes, like fixing a door in his bathroom. He says having a technology-related hobby helps keep him creative and forward-thinking at work.
“These different fields don’t overlap much, but having a foot in all these places helps you see things, have ideas and come up with solutions to problems that you might not have thought of before,” he said.
At OneNet, Pettett translates that problem-solving ability, his creativity and his technological skills to provide the highest quality of service and assistance to constituents.
“Overall, what’s driving us is [the desire] to help people, higher education, schools and government,” he said. “To have that culture is important because we’re always helping someone.”
Story by Tim Hatton, 2018 Strategic Planning and Communications Intern