RSDC Technical Lead – Senior Cognitive Engineer
During his enlistment in the US Navy, Austin O’Donoghue lead large teams at several work centers to ensure optimal air ring readiness. Responsible for the inspection, calibration, maintenance and repair of hundreds of pieces of electronic test equipment, O’Donoghue’s teams were vital to the safety of the airmen and the success of their missions. Under his leadership, he brought a backlog of items to zero, and kept it there.
A career in IT had always been the plan. Before his career in the Navy, O’Donoghue had worked in software development as a freelancer, creating solutions for independently-owned businesses. The combination of experience in software engineering, electrical engineering in the Navy, and a comprehensive understanding of the needs and challenges of deployed personnel made O’Donoghue a natural fit with RSDC Group (RSDC). “Although I’m not working directly with hardware or physical architecture, understanding how they work, their limitations and potential, informs my work every day,” he said.
Leading a team of engineers, O’Donoghue taps into his own extensive background, and that of his team, to create well-rounded solution options. “Among our team members, there is a tremendous knowledge-base in the variety of options available. Between us, we know the strengths and pitfalls of almost every option out there. That allows us to bring to bear better solutions for our customers. In addition, our business analyst comes from a CFO background, so business value is always tied in to what we deliver. Our subject matter expert (SME) is also a veteran, so he understands the language of the military. That enables us to make communication efficient and clear.”
With RSDC, O’Donoghue works to prepare AI helpdesk capability for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The DLA is a vital federal organization that provides materials and services to the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, ten combatant commands, federal facilities, and partnered and allied nations worldwide. With more than 80,000 inquiries coming in to the call center, a great deal of time and employee focus is dedicated to answering basic questions. Rather than software that uses a branching decision tree, which can result in response loops and customer frustration, RSDC has partnered with Amelia to utilize AI for tier one help desk inquiries. The result is a human-like interaction and rapid access the information needed. With the ability to connect disparate segments of data across the entirety of the organization, and learn the patterns of inquiries as the software runs, the new helpdesk is on track to accept the majority of calls in the coming year, freeing up call center employees to do what they do best: think critically and creatively. Tasked with cognitive engineering, O’Donoghue’s focus is to increase Amelia’s comprehension of user needs and the system’s responses.
When asked how his mission at RSDC fits into his career path, O’Donoghue said, “Expanding my competency in new and emerging technology is important to me. RSDC actively develops us. They challenge us to approach our solution options differently for the benefit of the customer and the long-term value of our solutions. The results are teams of highly skilled professionals, working together with passion and drive to create something truly amazing.” With veterans and former government employees on staff, every member of the RSDC team is personally invested in the success of the solutions. “Every person here takes ownership of the project. Everyone has their own reason to care deeply, and it shows.”