Employee Highlight > Employee Highlight: Richard Bowen

Richard Bowen

Project Manager

What is your title at Synergy, and can you give us a gist of your responsibilities?

I recently received a promotion to project manager mid-December of 2020, a highlight in what was a fairly bleak year due to the pandemic. In this position, my primary responsibility is to execute and report on about 40 projects.

A day in my shoes involves attending all kinds of meetings, but also ensuring people have tasking, updating project plans, and clearing obstacles on projects, amongst many other daily tasks!

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

In my spare time, I like to play piano. I have one in my home office, the playing of which has been one of the small perks of working from home more often. Though I’m not terribly good at it, it’s fun to practice what I do know. More recently, I’ve tried singing while playing at the same time, which is proving more difficult to learn.

I also enjoy some video games on occasion. I play Fortnite with my two children, Ambrose and Gracie; we’ve had some Victory Royales as a trio! I also enjoy the video game version of Magic: The Gathering, a card game I grew up playing.

During the non-winter months, I like to spend time taking care of the yard and gardening with my wife, Michelle. We normally like to grow tomatoes and peppers, but after deer decimated our garden last year, we tried something different. We instead planted some in-ground vegetables and ended up with a really great crop of radishes that Michelle used to make kimchi.

Do you have a favorite book/blog/podcast?

There are a couple of books that I count among my favorites. One is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card; it is one of the very few books I have read more than once. I remember reading it as a teenager and relating to the young protagonist. Nowadays, reading it gives me nostalgia for an 80’s movie called The Last Starfighter that I watched countless times in my youth.

Besides Ender’s Game, I also loved the first two books in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. They’re similar to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, but in my opinion, even more enjoyable.

What kind of music do you listen to?

My music tastes are all over the spectrum, but as a general rule, I tend to pair what I’m listening to with my mood and environment. Classical piano and hip-hop instrumentals fill a lot of my work day because the lack of vocals makes it easier for me to focus on my tasking. When I’m driving, I like to listen to rock radio stations. Sometimes I help artists record and edit their music, in which case I listen to whatever genre the artist is producing and thereby enjoy something different from my usual playlists. For example, I don’t normally listen to bluegrass, but one of my favorite recording projects was for a bluegrass album called The Closing of the Door by Ernie Bradley and the Grassy Ridge.

How do you define success?

For me, the most important forms of defining success are in the welfare of my private life and professional life.

Success in my private life means my family is happy and taken care of—this is my highest priority. In order to tend to my family’s needs, however, I must find success in my professional life, because a steady income is critical to providing basic necessities for supporting a happy family.  

In my professional life, I define success in a few ways. First, do I feel satisfied? If I feel satisfied with my accomplishments at work, that is normally a good indication of success; I also tend to be happier when I feel job satisfaction. Second, are projects meeting deadlines? Obviously, meeting deadlines is a good way to prevent stress and feel successful. But perhaps most important of all, are management, government customers, and project staff happy? Successfully satisfying all three of these groups can be challenging, yet it is one of my biggest indicators of professional success.  

If you could try your hand at another profession for one day, what would it be?

I’ve daydreamed a lot about being a brewer of beer or kombucha. I’ve done countless batches on my own at home since I brewed my first beer in 2005, and doing it on a mass scale and sharing with people would be a lot of fun!

What is your favorite part about working for Synergy?

During my last job hunt in late 2018, I was looking for project management opportunities. I had a Project Management Professional (PMP) credential, but my work history was all web programming, business analysis, and management. No one wanted to give me a shot at project management. I asked for a project management job about two years after I joined Synergy, and they gave me one. All this to say, my favorite part about working for Synergy is that they listen to their employees and provide opportunities to grow your career.