Our customers are the heart and soul of everything we do at Cisco and each one of them has an interesting story to tell! Our Q&A series allows us to shine a spotlight on some of our most passionate customer advocates in The Global Gateway community as we learn more about their stories and backgrounds.

You may be wondering: What is The Global Gateway? It’s a community for Cisco customers where they can build powerful connections, expand their professional and personal networks, and learn from top experts in their field. One of our goals with our advocacy community is to deepen our relationships with our customers and today, we have one of the friendliest faces in The Global Gateway joining us for a chat. I’m excited to welcome Ryan Deppe from Cianbro Corporation.

Welcome, Ryan! Let’s kick things off by talking about what you wanted to be when you were 16 years old?

Hi Rashik! I appreciate you allowing me to share my story. The age of 16 is generally the pivotal turning point in a teenager’s path to adulthood, and this was certainly the case for me.  At this age, I planned to become a pediatrician and return to my small hometown in southern Indiana to open a private practice. Was it an ambitious plan? Yes, but at that time, I was all in on making it happen. That youthful plan didn’t pan out, as life has unique ways of presenting new opportunities that led me down a completely different path. Today, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing. Best laid plans of mice and men, as the saying goes.

That’s definitely quite a shift, Ryan, though I’m glad to hear you were open to new opportunities that led to where you are today! Where did you start your career? And, what professional decision or opportunity helped lead you to your current role?

Cisco customer advocate, Ryan Deppe

My IT career started roughly 21 years ago at a community mental health organization in southern Indiana. This entry-level IT job was the proverbial stepping stone for my IT career, to date. I had zero IT experience or formal training when I started that job, but I demonstrated my ability to learn quickly and expressed my desire to succeed in the growing IT field. Thankfully, the management team allowed me to dive into the IT field, and I haven’t looked back yet. This professional decision has dramatically shaped my life. My IT career allowed me to leave the Midwest and relocate to New England, which led me to my current employer, Cianbro Corporation. I’ve been with Cianbro for almost 16 years.

That’s awesome that you ended up at Cianbro Corporation. How has partnering with Cisco helped your work both in your segment and industry?

Cianbro and Cisco have a long history of strategic business partnerships. As Cianbro grew the 100% employee-owned company over its 70+ years of existence, its reliance on technology has also increased. Like many companies, technology is at the core of Cianbro’s daily operations, whether in the back office, on the job site, or supporting a remote workforce. The strategic partnership with Cisco allows Cianbro to adapt to rapidly changing technology needs in the construction industry. Cisco’s mantra of “a bridge to possible” truly hits home here at Cianbro. Cisco technologies and solutions, quite literally, help Cianbro build bridges and a vast array of other complex structures within our nationwide footprint. Cianbro looks forward to its ongoing strategic partnership with Cisco as we both continue to shape the construction industry’s future. 

What’s been your biggest challenge in your company this year, and how did you overcome it?

I believe everyone can agree that the past two years presented unprecedented challenges for all companies, both nationally and globally. Cianbro and its companies were no different. One of our continuing challenges is meeting the demand of the volatile construction industry, while struggling with resource shortages. These shortages encompass everything from construction materials and equipment, up to and including labor resources. Overcoming these obstacles has not been easy, but Cianbro’s dedicated team continues to work together and find new ways to deliver quality products to our clients. Although cliché, we find ways to do more with less without sacrificing safety, quality, or budget. Technology products such as Cisco WebEx, Cisco Umbrella, Cisco AnyConnect, and Cisco Unified Communications have allowed team members across the company to collaborate effectively and work securely from almost anywhere. This flexibility and adaptability enabled our company to push through challenges and still meet the needs of our clients across the United States.

Let’s move on to The Global Gateway! How would you describe this customer advocacy community to those who haven’t heard of it before?

The Global Gateway is one of the most unique and impressive customer advocacy communities I’ve ever experienced. I would describe The Global Gateway as a central location for Cisco customers to actively engage with their peers across the globe and gain invaluable insight on Cisco products and technologies. It is an impressive social platform that utilizes collaboration and gamification to inform and connect Cisco’s global customer base. I consistently use The Global Gateway to stay current with Cisco’s emerging technologies and learn how other customers use Cisco solutions in their industries and markets. The Global Gateway is my springboard for all things Cisco.

That’s a really cool way to describe The Gateway “as a springboard for all things Cisco.” You’re one of our community “Rockstars” and we really appreciate how active you are in the community! What made you want to join The Global Gateway, and how has being part of this community impacted you both professionally and personally?

Like many other Gatewayers, I joined The Global Gateway to learn more about Cisco products and connect with my industry peers. The Global Gateway allows me to build my network of trusted peers both at a professional level and a personal level. The platform provides ample opportunity to discuss technologies with peers instead of salespeople. This type of real-world feedback is invaluable when it comes to product selection and strategic business planning. On a personal level, The Global Gateway has helped me build a trusted, personal brand within the IT industry. It has also afforded me networking opportunities that help advance my professional status and abilities. The Global Gateway is a fitting name as it is truly a gateway on the bridge to possible.

We’re almost at the end of the interview, Ryan, and we’d love to finish with three things you can’t live without?

Well, it’s challenging to pick only three things, but I will give it a go. My family is at the top of my list because family always comes first, no matter what life may throw at you. As cliché as it may seem, the second thing on my list is technology. What can I say? I’m a tech geek, and hey, it pays the bills. The last item on my list is a little different but still inherently crucial to me. The final thing I can’t live without is laughter. Life would be highly unenjoyable if I couldn’t laugh or give others the gift of laughter. No matter what the rollercoaster of life throws at us, laughter is always there to make things better, even if just for a brief second. To quote the great Charles Dickens, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

I love that you chose laughter! I also agree that humor and laughing is the key to a happy and fulfilling life! Thank you again for joining us, Ryan!

You are very welcome, Rashik! It’s been an honor, and I genuinely appreciate the opportunity.


Read more customer advocate interviews

You might enjoy this interview with our Global Gateway customer advocate, Christoph.


Join us in The Global Gateway

For our customers who have already joined us in The Global Gateway, say hello to Ryan if you haven’t met each other yet. And for those Cisco customers who haven’t yet joined The Global Gateway, consider doing so! You’ll be able to:

The Global Gateway customer advocacy community at Cisco
  • Connect with peers in a gamified, online community
  • Have an opportunity to meet with Cisco’s executives
  • Share your feedback, questions, and best practices
  • Get access to “insider” content and resources
  • Grow your professional and personal brand
  • Amplify your company’s success story with Cisco technology

Ready to get started? Head over to The Global Gateway and say hello!





Rashik Rahman

Global Advocacy Specialist

Global Advocacy - UK