You What?

Chris Mengerink, Partner, DWD Technology Group
Apr 3, 2023
Jeffrey Crane
You What?

Do you have a nickname? According to my sister, it’s Chrissy-poo. She’s taught many people to call me that, and at this point I just smile and accept it.

What do you actually do at your job? I believe my kids and family ask me this same question. I spend my days meeting with clients and prospects, learning about their businesses and how the solutions we work with could potentially increase efficiency for them and their processes. The results of those conversations sometimes go to other team members, but what’s nice is that I still get to work on the application and the code behind that application. My inner nerd really loves sitting down and writing out the code to make something work better.

What was your first job? At 15 years old I worked at Atz Ice Cream Shoppe busing tables. I took over the ice cream counter in the summer and then moved to the grill to become the backup for the cook. I also waited tables on the weekends to help with the rush. I believe that job taught me a lot about working and dealing with all sorts of individuals at a young age.

What would you choose as your last meal? Give me a true Guinness and shepherd’s pie, both preferably from Ireland, and I will be smiling at the end.

Who would you like to see perform in concert? U2, the original Mumford & Sons, Norah Jones and Led Zeppelin.

If you could solve one major problem, what would it be? Saltwater desalination. I believe this resource will be the cause of wars over time, as the population continues to grow and the resources continue to shrink.

What’s one thing you can’t live without? Espresso. Every day my morning starts with four shots. Some might call it an addiction, I like to call it liquid motivation.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? My mother pulled me aside when I was about to get married and said the best piece of advice she could give me was pick your battles. This isn’t limited to married life; this is life in general. Always live to move forward. Learn from the past, but move forward and be better.

What’s your biggest fear? Failure to provide for my family, without question. I believe this is what drives me internally and causes me to sometimes work more than I should.

What is the best gift you have ever been given? My two daughters. Hopefully someday I will have grandkids and can try to be half of what my grandparents were to me.

What is one important skill you think everyone should have? Patience and the ability to communicate. It’s so difficult to have a conversation with some individuals, especially in today’s environment. Each party should be able to explain what they would like to see happen and work together to obtain the best outcome.

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? While in Italy a couple of years ago, I ate cow brain and tripe. I have to admit, the cow brain was good. It was very hard to get over what I was eating, but the flavor was excellent. As for tripe, I’m ok with never eating that again. 

When was the last time you tried something new? I participated in my first Spartan Race last November. It was an experience both from a physical and mental standpoint. It’s very rewarding at the end.

When was the last time you cried and why? When my daughter left for Italy. I was happy to see her take on the experience and attend a university in a different part of the world, but was going to miss her being around and reminding me daily how “great” she is.   

Describe yourself in three words. Determined, patient, hard worker.

In what city did you grow up? I started in Convoy, Ohio and moved to Fort Wayne when I was 10 years old. It was a substantial change, going from one neighbor and corn fields to a neighborhood and schools much larger than I was used to. It was a great move for our family, though and I have spent my time ever since then in this area.

What book has had the greatest impact on you? “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. There are some general themes throughout this novel that I feel are important. I believe no one in this world owes me anything and my decisions dictate my own happiness.  This story is centered around these types of ideas.

What is the first movie you ever saw in a theater? This is a hard one. The first I remember that formed a significant memory was “Star Wars.” My grandmother took me to see it and I fell in love with it.

What famous person would you most like to meet? Norah Jones. I listen to her sing when I’m stressed — there’s something about her voice that is so relaxing. I would like to thank her for that.

What is your favorite part of your job? Working with clients and seeing them succeed. I’m constantly learning about how businesses operate, the different things they make and the processes that go into that. 

Do you have a motto you live by? If so, what is it? Support your circle. This includes family, friends and co-workers. I do not get caught up in politics or other such drama. I focus my time on the things I can positively affect within that circle.

What three items would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island (other than food and water)? A knife, a reusable fire starter and a good pair of shoes.

If you had a time machine, where and to what time period would you travel? I would love to experience the Wild West — a true saloon, just to see what it was like during that time.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I would like to travel throughout Europe. We have hosted exchange students over the last five years and recently travelled to Italy for two weeks. The experience was so wonderful; talking to so many different families and learning how they see the world and interact with it was fascinating. 

What profession would you never try? I would never be a politician. I do not see the world in a political view. It’s frustrating to me that people who are a D and people that are an R both act like children when they do not get their way. Also, I am not one that would ever want to be in the spotlight.

What fad do you wish would come back or stay gone forever? Bell bottom jeans. Why do they keep coming and going? They need to stay gone.

What is the most productive time of day for you? Typically from 5 -7 p.m. I have less interruptions and can focus on getting things done that are on a to-do list, often generated from the events of the day.

If you received enough money to never need to work again, what would you spend your time doing? You would find me traveling around the world — experiencing the food, culture and the beauty of nature. 


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