Attain Partners Welcomes Higher Education Veteran Ilya Pinchuk, Experienced Salesforce Architect and Advancement Expert
Ilya Pinchuk joined us in August as a Principal Consultant/Solution Architect to provide Advancement and Salesforce expertise to our clients. With decades of experience in higher education, Ilya knows the ins and outs of how Advancement initiatives can benefit an institution as well as the practical ways to ensure all team members have a system they can easily use.
Attain Partners is the Salesforce 2022 Consulting Partner of the Year – Education and a Salesforce Summit Partner. Our team of experts is always striving to Invent the Future and Be the Best in everything we do. Please join us in celebrating our newest team member, Ilya Pinchuk, as he shares his expertise and why he loves working in Advancement.
Attain Partners (AP): How did you get into Advancement?
Ilya Pinchuk (IP): I actually fell into Advancement by accident; I’m a lifelong learner and cross-discipline adventurer, and my career path has been moving from higher education institution to institution helping launch innovative projects everywhere I go and learning different disciplines as I go along.
I followed the technology and the projects and have worked in Student Success, Recruitment, Human Resources, and nearly every other practice out there. When it came time to look for an exciting opportunity to join a university looking to launch a large-scale enterprise Salesforce system, I stumbled upon the University of Colorado and its Advancement office launching this managed package called “UCI Ascend.”
Reading over the documentation of the managed package, it sounded like it would be fun to implement. I hadn’t yet worked in Advancement, so I thought, ”Sounds like a fun discipline to learn, let’s give it a go.”
After two-and-a-half years, my work helped the University of Colorado launch the Ascend Managed Package successfully, and I gained incredible firsthand experience with the ins and outs of Advancement. I realized I loved it, and the rest… Well, as they say, the rest is history!
AP: What did you do before joining Attain Partners?
IP: I have spent nearly my entire career in Higher Education and the public sector. Prior to joining Attain Partners, I worked as the principal Salesforce Solutions Architect and technical team lead for the University of Colorado, helping bring its extremely large-scale implementation of the UCI Ascend managed package across the project finish line and pushing it live. I lead all aspects of implementation, focusing specifically on data integrations/migrations and Salesforce customizations to bridge the gap between Managed Package solutions and required functionality that had to be customized.
Prior to the University of Colorado, I worked at Oregon State University as a Salesforce Solutions Architect and Analyst, leading the implementation of Salesforce solutions in the Human Resources and Graduate School departments.
I have also dipped my toes into state government by helping to lead and implement a consumer off-the-shelf product implementation for the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles and have worked with smaller higher education institutions, specifically earning my Bachelor’s and Master’s while working at the University of Idaho in a variety of roles involving technology—from front-line technical support to web applications manager—which gave me an appreciation of smaller schools and doing more with less.
AP: What brought you to Attain Partners?
IP: I wanted to join an organization that primarily focuses on higher education and nonprofit clients, and a place where I can apply my expertise and skillset to help higher education organizations innovate and make a difference for students and the university as a whole. I have worked with several employees at Attain over the years and was excited to join a customer-centric practice with top-notch talent that is focused on higher education and nonprofit innovation.
AP: Which of our seven core values speak to you the most?
IP: Invent the Future is really a core value of mine. I’m most comfortable when technological change and innovation are in the air and have gravitated my entire career to organizations embarking on transformational technology journeys. My passion is to empower end users with technical solutions that make their lives easier and their jobs more efficient.
AP: What do you like the most about the work you do?
IP: The excitement and buzz that comes with a successful launch, and the excitement and joy of end users and customers as they start using the new system is something that is unlike anything else. Seeing everything come together and watching as end users begin using, adopting, and making a newly-launched IT system their own, and seeing the improvements to business processes that come as a result of a well-designed piece of technology, is an absolute joy and is a fundamental part of why I love the line of work I am in. This is doubly true of Higher Education, of which so much is asked for, and which serves that elusive higher purpose, while always doing more with less. Being a part of implemented change to the betterment of customers is one of the most fulfilling things for me.
AP: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
IP: Higher Education is at an interesting crossroads of being both extremely unique—each university has its own way of doing specific things—while also being extremely similar in many aspects with a lot of opportunity for standardization, in data, practices, processes, etc. The implementation of new technology can be a catalyst for standardization and normalization of such things, but oftentimes it gets overlooked. The most efficient use of technology, especially newly implemented technology, is when it is paired and used as a catalyst for larger organizational change to increase overall efficiency across the entire organization.
Speaking and making recommendations on wholesale improvements (e.g., technology, processes, Organizational Change Management, etc.) is oftentimes a harder sell than just implementing a new piece of shiny technology. But ultimately, organizations that look at the big picture and embrace organizational change as part of larger-scale enterprise technological changes end up in a better, more efficient state.
AP: What do you read and watch to keep current?
IP: I’m a nerd at heart, so I enjoy pouring over technical notes with every Salesforce release, spotting changes large and small and how they can be used to greater efficiency in my current or future implementation. I am also a big fan of community-driven developer events and trailblazer groups.
Being based out of Oregon near Portland, we have a burgeoning Salesforce and AWS/Azure scene, with conferences, groups, and functions to attend throughout the year. I find connecting with like-minded individuals and sharing battle stories to be one of the more efficient ways of keeping up with current technological trends and facilitating in an exchange of ideas that makes everyone better.
Outside of that, I love conferences, especially those focused on developer and technical tracks (such as TrailheadDX, re: Invent, and Ignite), especially when there is an opportunity to connect with developers and technical architects working directly on the various platforms.
AP: What do you do for fun outside of work?
IP: Being based in the great Pacific Northwest (Northern Oregon specifically) I am an avid lover of all things outdoors. On any given weekend my family—my wife, one explorative, inquisitive seven-year-old daughter, and two very active lab/husky dogs—are out hiking on a trail in the Willamette National First, crushing some single-track mountain bike trails around Mt. Hood, hauling our kayaks and stand-up paddle boards out to the coast or the Cascades to paddle lakes and rivers, or strapping on our climbing harnesses and scaling French’s Dome or Mosquito Butte.
When outdoor adventure shenanigans are not afoot, I enjoy spending every waking moment with my seven-year-old daughter, helping teach her about the world and re-experiencing it through her eyes, or sneaking away with my wife and visiting the many wineries and breweries Oregon has to offer (when we can get a babysitter!).
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