Whether it’s meeting with stakeholders around the business or working with his teams to create the data tools that drive business decisions, it’s never a dull day in Artis’ world – but his role still affords him the time to spend with the family, learn the guitar, and become a coffee afficionado!
Hi Artis! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to speak to us! Let’s start with the basics, where are you based?
AL: Happy to! Currently I’m sat in my home in North West England. I’m originally from Latvia but have lived in the UK my entire adult life.
Any fun facts or hobbies you’re happy to share?
AL: Fun facts? English is the fourth language I learnt. Before that, I started with Latvian as my native language, then some Russian, German and finally English. And that’s not counting VBA, SQL, Python and a bit of Scala.
As for hobbies, where do I start? It sounds like a cop out, but I really do love my work and I’d go as far as to call it a hobby. It is often hard to say where work stops and fun starts. Whether that’s reading about tech or tinkering with a computer, not a day goes by where I’m not learning something new. On top of that, I’m neck deep in DIY house renovations at the moment, and I’m learning the guitar.
Also, I love coffee – making it and drinking it. Can that be classed as a hobby?
I think many of us can relate to the love of caffeine, Artis! Now switching it up a bit, can you tell us a bit about your current role at Cox Automotive?
AL: My current role is Head of Data Development, and I lead Enterprise Data Services. My teams provide data and analytics, integration, process automation and CRM capabilities for the business. My job is to work with various stakeholders within Product and Technology, as well as the wider business, to understand current and future requirements, translate these into delivery roadmaps, and then empower, enable, and support my teams to do their best work delivering these requirements.
And what do you love most about your job?
AL: I love that I am afforded the opportunity to really own my role and steer it in the direction I want to. My job description has changed dramatically since I started my current role, which tells me that I’m driving changes, evolving teams, and always looking for incremental improvements.
Seeing engagement scores for my teams over the last few years has also been a source of great pride for me. I’ve never had a formal management training and have always managed my people the way I’d like to be managed. For me it is all about empowering, enabling, and supporting.
Where did you start with Cox Automotive? Any interesting roles along the way?
AL: I’ve had a couple of formal roles at Cox Automotive, more if you go beyond the formal job title label. I started as Business Intelligence Manager, where I was responsible for reporting platform and managing report development across the company. I then took on a more technical role as Head of Data Development, where my focus shifted to data engineering and developing our data platform. Beginning of 2021 reporting as a capability moved back into my remit when we moved all business intelligence and report developers under one roof in Enterprise Data Services. Towards the end of 2021 I had an opportunity to step out of my mostly technical role and drive data strategy conversations. And finally, in 2022 I took responsibility for our integration and asutomation as well as CRM platforms.
There are always opportunities to learn, grow and carve out a career you can be proud of at Cox Automotive, that’s what I love about working here.
That sounds like quite the journey! How long have you been with the company?
AL: I can be exact if you want? 2,289 days. Or six years and three months.
Wow, precise! That must be the data analyst in you coming out.
AL: I find it hard to turn it off!
Your days are surely very busy, what does a typical working day look like?
AL: They are busy, but we’re also incredibly lucky at Cox Automotive in that the business actively promotes flexible, hybrid and at-home working which caters for everyone’s needs. For me personally it’s a pretty standard day that fits around my home life. I get to take the kids to school in the morning, attend meetings and complete work throughout the day, and finish at reasonable time for family and me time in the evenings. That’s what matters the most to me, and while work can be demanding at times, I have control, and it never feels like it’s taking over.
What have been your favourite experiences at Cox Automotive?
AL: The Autos, our annual employee awards ceremony is always a fantastic evening! It’s inspiring to see all the great work that’s being done around the business, and it gives you a real sense of pride for the company you work for.
But in general, I have to say it’s the people I get to work with. I see professionalism and dedication everywhere I look, and I’m privileged to work on exciting projects with some of the friendliest technologists who are really passionate about their craft.
Finally, what advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing a career in technology?
AL: The first thing I’d say is to remember that technology is not actually about technology, it’s about creating and enabling business outcomes. Get close to your customers and stakeholders to understand what their pain points, needs, wants and opportunities are. Never do tech for tech’s sake. Create solutions that address your customers’ needs, connect the dots, and make it easy and frictionless.
The biggest thing however is to be constantly curious. Tech is always evolving at a rapid pace, so dig deep and always keep learning. it is important to pick a field and become an expert in it, but don’t neglect adjacent or related skills. Everyone likes a unicorn – being able to code, manage your application stack and be able to manage your own infrastructure will make you stand out a lot more than if you can just code.
Thanks Artis, that’s been really insightful!
AL: My pleasure, take care.