From Colombia to Fargo – How Mariano Gomez Became “The Dynamics GP Blogster”

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These days Mariano Gomez is well known for being The Dynamics GP Blogster. But unlike at his first job, he doesn’t need to walk around with a bodyguard.

Mariano grew up in Colombia and went straight from college to the corporate world. His first job was as a commissions analyst for one of the largest pension funds in Colombia.  After the release of one particular statistical report, about 500 people got fired. After that, he had to walk around with bodyguards for the next six months.

The job got safer, but Mariano was still looking for the next opportunity.

One day he got an unexpected phone call.  Someone had referred him for a job as a consultant/developer. The only major requirements were that he speak English and be willing to do a training program in the United States.

Little did Mariano know that this call would set the course of his life for the next several decades.

The Trip to Fargo

The day after he accepted the job he was given a two-million-dollar budget to start working on a major project translating Great Plains Dynamics version 3.15 into Spanish and localizing it for the Latin American market. In September 1996 he took his first trip to the United States, a 16-hour journey to Fargo, North Dakota.

Mariano started his training with the GP International Team. Looking back, he knows he learned from the best, including Tom Irsfeld, an elite developer in the Microsoft Dynamics world, and Dave Gaboury, one of the “Fathers of Dexterity.”

Back in Colombia, Mariano worked as a Software Architect and a part of the Great Plains implementation team with both technical and functional responsibilities. His job also involved traveling to various countries in South America to help build up the partner channel.

Mariano’s professional career in Colombia was a springboard to move to the United States.  That opportunity came after another trip to Fargo.

The Move to Miami

Back in 1997, at a Certified Installation Specialist conference in Fargo, a Dynamics partner from Miami made an offer to build up a GP practice. Mariano accepted the challenge the following year, after much consideration. In June 1999, he moved to Miami. He worked with that partner for eight years and in that time helped build a profitable GP practice for the firm.

It was time for a change, so Mariano decided to move to Georgia and work as an independent Dynamics GP consultant. Then the market crashed.  But this crash actually led to one of Mariano’s best career decisions.

Becoming The Dynamics GP Blogster

Mariano recalls sitting with his wife, worried about where his next project was going to come from, and checking out the Dynamics GP News Groups. He started to help people in the community by answering their questions. Slowly he began to see familiar names and connect with people like Victoria Yudin, Mark Polino, Leslie Vail and the late Richard Whaley.

It was Mark Polino who encouraged Mariano to start blogging. And “The Dynamics GP Blogster” was born.

In the beginning, he blogged almost every day. He saw it as an escape during the down economy. And like most new bloggers he had no idea if people were reading his blog or finding value in it.  Mariano remembers the first time he realized that the blog had become a brand and that it had taken on a life of its own. It was at a Tech Conference in 2009, again back in Fargo.

His friend, David Musgrave, invited him to co-present a session. When he got there, GP partners walked up to him and said "Oh, this is The Dynamics GP Blogster guy. We love your blogs. Your content is amazing. You put stuff out that we couldn't even figure out with Microsoft."

Then Mariano presented at Convergence, and now he had not only partners but customers coming up to him thanking him for his content and urging him to keep writing.

Mariano has published over 1,000 posts on the site. And he makes it a point to write with longevity in mind so that the information will be useful for many years down the road. The Dynamics GP Blogster site gets roughly 350,000 visitors every year and continues to be one of the most popular resources in the Dynamics GP community.

The Dynamics GP Blogster has become a personal brand, and arguably more people recognize Mariano by that name than by his personal name, or the name of his current employer. 

Landing at Mekorma

In November 2015 an opportunity arose for Mariano to join the Mekorma team. Mekorma is one of the most recognized ISVs in the Dynamics GP market with a significant client install base of over 5,000 clients.  Mariano started as a Senior Software Engineer and is now the Manager of Product Development.

A Career Highlight

A highlight of Mariano’s career was being nominated and selected for the Microsoft MVP award back in 2008. And he has worked hard ever since with the technical communities of partners and customers to maintain the award, now in his 10th year.

Based on this experience, his advice to others in the community is to act like an MVP even without the title. He feels that if someone is selfless and has that drive to help the community, at some point, their efforts will be recognized and rewarded. And always to remember that even with the award, MVPs are just regular folks. They do all the blogging and presentations and answer questions in their spare time, in addition to their “day-to-day jobs.” It is a big part of their lives, but not the only part.

To Fargo and Beyond

The decision to begin working with Great Plains software, the decision to move to the USA and the decision to start The Dynamics GP Blogster site have all been pivotal in Mariano’s career. He gives credit to three mentors who have helped him along this journey. First, Luis Alberto Alvarez, who introduced him to his first job out of college and into the corporate world; Ed Marciniak, who helped him assimilate into his new environment and to understand the business culture as he made the transition from Colombia to the USA.  And more recently, Jay Manley who has shown him how to leverage his skills as a manager to be successful in leading a remote, distributed team.

Microsoft Dynamics is all about teamwork. As Mariano found out after his very first trip to Fargo, when you get involved in this community, there are endless and varied opportunities that can take you on the journey that lasts a lifetime.

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By Anya Ciecierski, Collaboration Works Marketing

Follow me on Twitter: @AnyaCWMktg