Rodney Don Holder attended Jacksonville State University and graduated with a degree in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Business Administration. He began his career working for Digital Equipment, which ultimately got bought out by Hewlett Packard, doing tech support with networks.  He subsequently worked for KMC Telecom and AT&T and continue to expand his expertise in the areas IP and VOIP and network engineering management on the telecom side. After changes in the telecom industry took place, he began to focus his career more on security and its relationship to IP networks which led to working for Johnson Controls and Southeastern Security Professionals. Rodney continues to specialize in audio/visual and security and is currently the VP of Business Development and Operations of CEI.

In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?

I get up in the morning and work out. That can be on the treadmill, the bike, or even working with weights because it helps to keep me feeling good mentally. It gets the blood flowing and clears my mind. It gives me a good start to the day.

I work hard to stay focused on my business as well as my personal goals. It is important that I take care of my health and making sure that I’m there for my family and my kids. I just want to make sure that whatever I do is best for all of us.

When you feel unfocused, what do you do?

When I feel unfocused, I like to go on a hike, a long walk, or even a mountain bike ride. I like to get away and try to regroup, refocus, and clear my head.

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

I would tell that college graduate: Don’t give up on your dreams.  Give yourself goals to meet and work on those goals. Try to figure out where you want to be at and go obtain your goals. Continue to learn. Just because you graduated from college doesn’t mean there is nothing else to learn because you’ve got to learn something every day.  Technology changes every day. The way we do business changes every day. Everything changes and you want to stay on top of it. Also, have a good network.

Find a good mentor, someone that you can count on, that you can call and ask questions, and to help you navigate through the mysteries of the business and life. It’s hard to make decisions. Sometimes you ask yourself if you are making the right decision or making the wrong decision. You have to make a decision, but it also can help if you someone there that you can run things by that is not really judgmental but can be there for good advice. 

Advice they should ignore should be the negative messages we sometimes hear. If you’re getting advice from someone that’s telling you that you can’t do it or saying something is impossible, just ignore those negatives and always go for the positives.

What is one lifestyle trend that excites you? (could be something like Hot Yoga, Healthy Eating, Wearable Exercise Technology)

I love the lifestyle trend of tracking your fitness through an Apple watch or a Fitbit. It really tracks a lot of things, like sleep quality. Sleep is so important. You really need a good night’s rest to be ready to go the next day. Rest helps you think.

You can get so busy during the day that you don’t attend to yourself. You’ve got to remember that yourself comes first and foremost as far as your health, your family, because you don’t want to achieve goals, but forget about yourself and then not be there for your family. Using those types of devices can help remind you that you need to do something. It’s so easy to get behind a desk and never look up until the end of the day.

With or without naming names, who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

There have been a lot of people in my life, coaches, pastors, and friends, but the biggest influence would be my dad. He’s the one who encouraged me to get a college education. He’s the one who helped push me through.  He has always been there to listen and talk. I would just have to say my dad. He was a hard worker and a good solid person.  He was an example of being compassionate and understanding of other’s needs. He encouraged me to network and to work with others.

What’s one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned (can be personal or business related)

Don’t be in such a rush for things. You’ve got to really learn your time management.  If you get too overwhelmed, you could make a lot of mistakes. Those mistakes can be costly, or they can hurt. They can change things.  For example, I can remember being so busy and trying to do so much that I did a quote and when I sent the quote out to the client, I did not put in any margin. I sent it out at cost, which is not good. You make no money. Once you give them the quote and they accept it, there is very little you can do except walk away from it. If you walk away from it, then your word is no good. If your word is no good, why do business with that person. I would just say, always try to manage your time efficiently. You may have to work later. You may have to stop. Always remember to take time for your family. If you’re working on a deadline, at least carve out some time for your family and get started in the after hours if need be.  But the biggest thing is just try not to get overwhelmed and get yourself overtaken without properly scheduling and managing your time.

What do you think it is that makes you/someone successful?

I define success as really being happy in what you’re doing and enjoying the people you’re around. If you get up and you enjoy going to work, then you’re successful. If you’re getting up every morning and saying, “Oh man, I’ve got to go do this”, then you probably should start looking for a different path in life I think because no matter what you have or what’s going on, if you’re not happy or if you’re dreading it or not wanting to do it, you’re not going to be your best. You’re not going to perform your best. You’re always going to be looking on the other side of the fence.

How do you stay motivated?

I stay motivated because I enjoy being around people. I got two kids and I really want to show them that you have got to have a good work ethic and I want the best for them. Me staying motivated is really for them. That’s what I need to do. The other part is I enjoy what I do. It’s not that difficult to get motivated when you enjoy the work.

What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

My legacy would be that I’m a hard worker. I am ambitious. I am a really good person that stuck to my word.  I am honest and I have tried to do everything the right way. I’m someone you can count on, someone that is there for you in thick or thin, whether it’s good times or bad times. I’m not judgmental because I know how thing happen in life. I know a lot of times people do things or they try to shy away from mistakes or whatever, but it’s always good to talk about it and work things out. I guess that would be the legacy I’d want to leave behind, that I’m there for you. I’m the person that is there as a friend or even in business to try to help you through to be successful, to get your network going and to help push you through.