Service level manager Eric Louisville

Eric Louisville has been working at SURF since February 2021. “I am happy that I’m in the position to contribute to the development of education and research in the Netherlands.”

“My official job title is ‘Service Level Manager’. This means that within the Network team, I am mainly focusing on contract and supplier management. I have a lot of contact with suppliers and I like to visit them, because I believe in close cooperation; in partnership. I also recently became a privacy coordinator. That’s a new role within SURF.”

“SURF runs like a common thread through my working life. As early as 2001 I worked here almost every week for seven years on a project for system and desktop management. After that, I switched to Vancis. They took part in the roll-out and management of the SURFnet 6 and 7 network. We now run SURFnet 8 as our infrastructure. After that I worked for a while at Equinix - a company that specializes in networks and data centers. From that position, too, I had regular contact with SURF.”

Innovative projects

“I thought long and hard about my move from the commercial world to a not-for-profit organisation like SURF. My last job was Service Delivery Manager at Microsoft, and I was working in a world that, I felt, was driven by Excel sheets and the wishes of shareholders. Microsoft does a lot of good things, of course, but at the end of the day it’s all about getting as much market share and profit margins as possible.”

“The choice for SURF was a logical one. Not only because I knew the company well, but also because I can now proudly contribute to the best ‘network builders’ in the Netherlands. Want a fiber optic network? They certainly know how to do it at SURF. It’s a bunch of fantastic people working on beautiful, innovative projects and services. In my spare time, I play the drums in a band. Not the most prominent role, but if I’m not there or if I miss a beat, you’ll notice it immediately. The same applies to the network team. We are a silent but indispensable force within the organisation. That’s why I’m glad that I can still contribute to the development of education and research in the Netherlands in my generic, non-specialist role.”

Smart people

“The colleagues are very involved and have a lot of influence on what happens in the company. It took some time to adapt to that. At Microsoft I was used to most decisions being taken on the other side of the ocean. I had been at SURF for less than six months and was already participating in working groups discussing our short- and long-term strategy. The downside is that decisions may take a little longer because participation and involvement is organized so broadly.”

“There are smart, highly educated people working here with strong opinions of their own. I am part of a very nice and diverse team. We always know how to find each other. There is a lot of mutual respect. Our team leader has a sense of the human measure, something I sometimes missed at previous employers. He gives us a lot of freedom and is always ready to support me where necessary. To feel at home in SURF, you have to be independent and enterprising. You can take on extra work if it fits in with your schedule. You certainly have that space and freedom here.”

Open and transparent

“I think it’s important that SURF acts as a protector of public values. Bits Of Freedom does this for society, the Consumers’ Association protects the rights of the consumer, and we do it for research and education. There are forces at play in the IT world that want to determine our future. There is nothing wrong with that, but we want this to happen in an open and transparent way. We want the privacy of users to be guaranteed. For example, SURF is helping to ensure that the quality and range of digital learning materials is not determined by dollars and euros, and that these learning materials are always available to everyone.”

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