In 2018, Nick Knopf made the life-changing decision to sign up for his very first triathlon. He has achieved some significant accomplishments since then, such as competing at age group Nationals, winning local races, qualifying for Team USA and the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Equifax caught on and sponsored Nick’s team, The Blairwood Triathlon team.
“Triathlons have taught me valuable lessons about discipline, perseverance, and pushing myself beyond my limits. It's incredible how my love for the sport has opened doors and brought people together, and I'm proud to have Equifax on this journey with me.”
Beyond being a triathlete, Nick is also a Software Engineer Manager with Equifax Workforce Solutions. We sat down and learned more about his story of taking on new challenges, including leading a team for the first time, and how his resilience and passion pushes him forward in everything he does.
What stood out to you about Equifax when considering career opportunities?
I joined Appriss Insights in 2019 as a full stack engineer for the automations group, working under operations to streamline services, writing new platforms and web applications. It was the kind of work I had always wanted to do, and I felt like I had found the perfect fit. When Equifax acquired Appriss, I was pleasantly surprised by the company's approach. They didn't just come in and take over; they listened to our ideas and perspectives and even sought to adopt some of them. This made me feel valued and appreciated as an employee.
One of the things that stood out to me about Equifax was their commitment to the local communities in which they operate. For me, this was particularly evident in VINE, our victim notification service. VINE is not just another website or platform, but a critical service that people depend on for their safety and security. Being a part of something that was so impactful and important made me feel fulfilled and motivated to do more. Overall, I felt like I had stumbled into the right opportunity at the right time. Equifax's authenticity and dedication towards getting things right aligned with my own values, and being a part of the company gave me a sense of purpose and fulfillment that I had been searching for.
Tell us about a project or accomplishment you were proud of.
When I joined the automations team, our primary mission was to streamline and automate processes for our customer operations and support teams. A lot of our tools were very outdated, so I immediately set out to create a solution that would both fulfill our objective and modernize our stack. After a lot of hard work, (and a lot of early morning escalations) I had developed an automation platform I called IO. IO’s primary function is application integration, including ticketing systems, Cloud platforms, and other SaaS applications. It is a flexible and versatile solution that is designed to be extendable and developer friendly. It serves as a "glue" between different applications, allowing previously incompatible systems to communicate with each other and automate tasks. The platform has been a game-changer for EWS Insights, and it's still in use today.
With IO's success, I was promoted to manager of the Automations team, which now falls under the umbrella of Equifax Workforce Solutions' platform services team. I now manage a team of five talented engineers to provide monitoring and automation services across all of Equifax Workforce Solutions. We are focused on driving software solutions and automation to improve efficiency, and I'm proud to be leading this team of creative individuals and making a significant impact in the company.
Can you share a story or experience that illustrates how your experience as a triathlete has helped or influenced the work you do for Equifax?
In October 2022, I raced in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships at St. George, Utah for the Equifax-Clarksville Schwinn cycling team. As I reached the most important climb of the day on the bike leg, my chain malfunctioned and became too damaged to continue. When it was starting to appear that I might DNF (Did Not Finish), a course mechanic was able to remove the damaged links in the chain and I could continue the race. The mechanical issue added more than 45 minutes to my overall time, but I didn’t give up and I finished the race. Even though the mishap caused me to fall to the bottom of my Age Group, I enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from it.
I’ve faced numerous challenges in my racing career, and they have taught me valuable lessons in life. Every race has its own unique challenges, whether it's the course's difficulty, crosswinds, choppy waters, or a hot and humid run. I learned to never give up and to find ways to overcome obstacles and finish the race. My promotion to a management position has been a new challenge for me as well. However, my experience as an athlete has helped me handle challenges in my professional life. There’s always a way out of a problem. I try to apply the same attitude to my work, where my team and I innovate to solve unique and challenging problems.
What would you say to someone who may be considering joining Equifax in a role similar to yours?
As cliché as this might sound, just be yourself. It’s important to build trust by being your authentic self and having conversations with your manager about your goals. Practice being flexible and taking on different roles within the organization. Try new solutions, and explore them with teams that need help. It’s always valuable to have another creative presence on the team to provide insight into all of the challenges that work and life bring.