Innovator Spotlight - Steve Tyng

Steve Tyng at the Reston Row project site

At DAVIS, we’re constantly looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve. This industry is always evolving, and the only way to succeed is to innovate. This year, we’re featuring people at DAVIS who help us continue to break new ground—in more ways than one.

As Senior Field Solutions Engineer, Steve Tyng helps provide our project teams with the latest cutting-edge technology and keeps our jobsites connected at all levels. Read below to learn more about Steve and the incredible work he does at DAVIS!

Steve, what do you do at DAVIS as Senior Field Solutions Engineer?
In a nutshell, my team and I work all project side IT that isn’t related to desktops. That means providing internet and network infrastructure at our jobsites, keeping meeting rooms connected through Teams, and maintaining the more advanced systems like noise sensors, motion monitoring, and more.

I’m sure there’s also the occasional odd request as well.
For our latest all hands meeting, I was tasked with providing a rock-solid internet connection at the venue to support live streaming of the event.  To accomplish this, I put together what was essentially a heavy-duty directional hotspot to lock onto the nearest cell tower. I was able to use components we already had in our inventory and put them together with some beefy antennas. Just took some creativity.

Oh, so you MacGyver’d it.
(laughs) Exactly, MacGyver’d it.

Steve Tyng stands in front of a custom hotspot and other network equipment.
Steve Tyng, in the DAVIS workshop and equipment warehouse, stands with the custom hotspot he built for the most recent All Hands Meeting.

How long have you been in this field?
I’ve worked in IT since 1988, designing and managing networks. My main expertise was property management and land development fields, which is parallel to construction, so I get to use that experience here at DAVIS. For IT, that meant setting up VPNs to apartment projects, linking with corporate networks, and more. A lot has changed since I started—we moved from modem dial-ups to DSL and then finally fiber, 4G and even satellite—but the basic infrastructure ideas are the same.

What’s something about the evolution of tech that took you by surprise?
The biggest change that’s affected me is how everything is moving to the cloud. Traditional networks have in-house servers running an OS called Active Directory and as an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), supporting these systems has been the focus of my career.  With the cloud move, this paradigm is going the way of the dodo. 

What has your time at DAVIS been like?
DAVIS is really serious about IT—the size of the department alone was surprising. I love how the BusSol team works together, too. Each person has their own specialization and can laser-focus on our individual projects—but we also mesh well and are always helping each other. I’ve always been a generalist, so I’ve dipped my toes in all these areas over the years. However, I’ve enjoyed concentrating specifically on connectivity and AV, and we’re looking at new technologies that we can deploy at jobsites soon. It’s very exciting.

What’s something people don’t know about you?
I’ve got a few odd hobbies. One is R/C Combat, where people build radio-controlled models of tanks and warships that shoot paintballs and bb’s at each other. It’s a fascinating hobby, and you can be creative with it.  I even have a US Patent on some of my tank designs. A lot of my work with these models, like building 24V power systems, has directly translated to my efforts here at DAVIS!

That’s so cool. Do you still battle?
Not often, I’ve been busy with other interests, one of them being Computer Numerical Control (CNC) equipment. I’ve designed and built my own CNC router, which I use to make parts for other projects. I actually wrote an article on it for Instructables, a workshop and DIY enthusiast website, and after 2 weeks it went viral! They held a contest for new publishers which I won as well, so it was really great to get that type of reaction and recognition.

Is there anything on the horizon at DAVIS you’re excited about?
We’re putting together a prototype for a new type of office, called Field Office of the Future. It’s a full triple-wide trailer assembly that’s built to our specifications with an optimized design for project teams. My team is involved with installing the network and necessary hardware—it’s a big project, and it’s really exciting.

We’re constantly looking at our processes and seeing what we can rejuvenate and revamp. From noise sensors and camera systems to solar energy solutions, keeping up with new tech and innovative ideas is a top priority, and it’s one of the reasons DAVIS projects are so successful!

Can’t wait to see what new ideas your team implements. Thank you!