Meet Patel, the Executive Director for Software Engineering in Payments at NCR, is the epitome of the person that business, political, and economic development leaders want to live and work in Atlanta. A Computer Science graduate of Georgia Tech, he is responsible for engineering NCR's payments gateway. Just the sort of highly educated person needed to help build the future of Georgia.
"I was very fortunate to establish a career at NCR," he says, "the opportunities here are enormous."
Born Gujarat, India, Meet and his family moved to Atlanta when he was eight years old. "I didn't know English, so that was the first hurdle," he says, "but I had it down pretty well within a year. Adjusting to the culture of the US took a little longer."
Understanding teachers, especially two in high school with whom he is still friends today, helped immensely. "They were very understanding and caring of me," he says. "They introduced me to people, helped me make friends, and develop good hobbies, like coin collecting."
Attending Georgia Tech to become an engineer had been a goal of his since middle school. "I was thrilled to be there, but it was challenging. It prepared me for the real world since most of our learning was project-based. Also, the diversity of today's workplace was present there since we had students from all over the US and around the world," he says.
After graduating from Tech, Meet accepted a job at Radiant Systems, a leading provider of multichannel point-of-sale solutions to the hospitality and retail markets. "On my first day, NCR announced the acquisition of Radiant," says Meet, "and the deal closed within six months." Steadily growing in his role, Meet became a lead developer, a solutions architect, and a lead engineer.
The NCR payments gateway that he runs today offers a secure payment route and ensures complete data and transmission protection from pinpad to payment processor using EMV ready terminals, tokenization, and Point-to-Point encryption. "Our gateway allows customers to comply with evolving payment regulations and standards easily," says Meet, "and gives them the freedom to work with any payment processor or peripheral vendor."
Today, Meet has over 100 people working for him via seven direct reports and is very grateful for his fashion career. "NCR is an amazing place to work," he says, "in addition to being one of the top companies in Atlanta, I have found the people and culture to be very supportive. The values that the company embraces - focusing on people, diversity, and teamwork - easily reflect my own."
In leading the next generation of software for the NCR payment gateway, Meet and his team moved to cloud solutions, combined teams, and raised quality. "This has helped our P&L enormously," he says, "and it was satisfying to the team and me. The customers are happy. That's the most important thing."
Meet believes that to keep customers happy, he has to keep his team happy. "I strive to be a servant-leader, empowering my team to do their best," he says. "I don't believe in micromanagement. I want my team members to grow. How can they grow if I'm telling them what to do all the time? They should have enough space to figure things out for themselves without feeling like they're stranded on a desert island."
The people he works with respond positively to this approach. "Meet is one of the most professional people I've worked with and, on a personal note, he pushes for individual development and continued growth," stated Charles Woodall, software engineering manager at NCR.
"I love the human interaction aspect of what I do," Meet says, "because I'm a problem solver at heart. Getting to solve problems in technology is the cherry on top. Helping my team and others in the company improve and grow, that's what I love to do."
His boss, Troy Bradley, Chief Information Technology Officer at NCR, has equally good things to say about Meet. "From the first time I met him, I knew that he was something different, something special," he says. "He's a genuine, passionate leader with a long runway of success ahead of him in his career."
Meet mainly thinks about his future at NCR and elsewhere in terms of giving back. "I just want to grow in leadership so that I can foster more careers - the same way mine was fostered for me."