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Meet Paul Ericson: The Fast Interview

Paul Ericson, Cloud Security Engineer at Fast

Paul Ericson

Role: Cloud Security Engineer

Team: Security

Talk about your background leading up to Fast.

I come from a DevOps (software development and information technology operations) background, and I was always gravitating toward the Shift Left aspect of security, which focuses on incorporating security into the application development process from the start of the development cycle. Also, the application and corporate security teams usually have a blind spot around cloud security, and I stepped up and covered the gap. I had been looking for a while for the right opportunity to make the jump from the technology to the operations branch in the organizational tree. The Cloud Security Engineer role here at Fast was exactly what I was looking for.

How did you get to Fast? 

I have worked at startups and huge enterprises. I jumped from General Electric to Dynatrace six weeks before my team at GE was laid off. After Dynatrace went public, I wanted to move over to a dedicated security role. Anshu (Gupta, Vice President of Security at Fast) reached out to me and did a great job selling Fast as a product and company. He also has a great vision for Fast’s security practice, and I wanted to help execute it.

Where did you grow up and what were you like as a child? 

I grew up in Iowa and went to high school and university in Baltimore. I was a very independent and extroverted child. When I was three years old, my mother taught in a one-room school in Costa Rica for a year. My grandmother was doing academic research there and encouraged her to come teach there. I was raised by three well-educated women: my mother, aunt and grandmother. I started exploring computers when I was 11 and have been hooked ever since.

What was your first job?

My first job was stuffing envelopes for a marketing company when I was 13. I used the money to binge on sweets. Got three cavities. Lesson learned.

What career path did you almost take? 

Lawyer. I come from an academic family, and we were always debating and arguing about things, so I thought becoming a lawyer would be a good fit. But the lure of tech was too great. When I was a kid tech was stimulating intellectually and futuristic.

What app on your phone do you use the most? 

Apple Music. I love listening to music. 

What food do you uncontrollably eat?

Pizza. It is definitely the food most likely to give me a stomachache from eating too much. My favorite kind of pizza is NY style. Thin, soft crust. Lots of cheese and garlic. I used to work at a pizza place in Baltimore that brought in all their ingredients from a supplier based in NYC. It was the best pizza I’ve ever had, which is why I wanted to work there.

Who is your favorite TV or film character? 

Steve Rinella. “MeatEater” is such a great show because Steve does such a good job explaining so many philosophical ideas around hunting to a broader audience.

What personal goal would you like to achieve in the next five years?

In five years I want to be able to produce most of the food I eat. I love cooking and eating good food. I live in the country on 18 acres. My neighbor has chickens, cows and pigs. My five-year personal goal is to get set up like that.

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