More than 20 years in sales makes Ted Rutsch a veteran on the Sales America Public Sector team, but he couldn’t be more excited to be part of the Zscaler family at a time of great transformation. Outside of work, Ted balances his time as a family man and outdoorsman, while also making time to see his favorite bands in concert. We interviewed Ted for his one-year work anniversary on May 13, 2020. See why Ted makes Zscaler a Great Place to Work!
What is your background?
I started my sales career in the dregs, cold calling in my early 20s, doing more than 100 calls per day. I worked my way up through the ranks, mostly in telecommunications. I worked for Cable and Wireless USA, AT&T, and British Telecom. Then the telecom bubble burst in the early 2000s, and one of the last projects I worked on in telecom was some IT security-related stuff. I thought it was really interesting and knew that was the path I wanted to take. So from there, I started working for some small startups around firewalls and VPNs and it just went from there. I fell into security, I loved it, and I stayed there.
What drew you to Zscaler?
A few years ago I had the foresight to see that cloud was going to be the trend going forward and so I started looking for a cloud security company. After looking at companies like Salesforce, OKTA, and Saviynt, I saw the Zscaler presentation and was like, “Are you hiring? I’m in.” It took two years of pursuing Zscaler and waiting for them to get their FedRAMP certification before they were ready to build out the Public Sector team, but once they were ready I was on board.
Give us an overview of your role at Zscaler
I’m in sales, so naturally, I’m driven by money, but personally, I’m driven by the win. Most importantly, I want to continue to deliver something of value to my customers and we are in an amazing position to do that here. In my role, I cover the Federal financial and regulatory agencies, which include the Department of Treasury, SEC, FDIC, SSA, the Federal Reserve System, and a bunch of independents. I leverage my relationships and the strength of my team to bring the value of the Zscaler platform to these agencies. In my first year, we have already onboarded four new accounts including a large, recently awarded five-year deal.
What’s your favorite Zscaler memory?
I loved the new hire onboarding training. I got to meet new hires from across the company including product managers, inside sales, sales engineering, and new leadership coming over to Zscaler from other competing companies. It also helped me establish relationships within the company that I still leverage today. It really defined that I was in the right place. They worked us through real-world scenarios for selling Zscaler and it definitely showed how much the company was investing in their people, which was great to see.
I actually just brought a friend of mine over to be a Sales Engineer for Zscaler. He told me, “I’ve never been in a place where everyone was so invested in my success. At my previous company, they brought me in and said ‘good luck.’” Everybody has been super supportive here in making sure he gets up to speed and is getting the training he needs.
How has COVID-19 affected your role?
I’ve been working from my home office for more than 20 years now, so not much is different for me. I do like to get out every once in a while, but we don’t really have the option currently. Normally I’m heading to downtown D.C. for meetings two to three days a week to meet with customers, as business gets done much more easily face-to-face. For sales, there’s nothing that’s better than an in-person meeting but we are making do with Zoom, Teams, and Webex as best we can. We are not really complaining since the current crisis has actually helped accelerate our business!
Do you have any tips for working from home?
Working from home, I’ve actually found myself working too much, if anything. I’ve always been driven, I’m very competitive, so if I don’t do certain things throughout the day where I feel like I’ve accomplished something, I don’t feel good about myself, so I focus on specific goals each day. Once I get those done, I’m like, ‘okay, today was a good day, I made these paths forward and things are good.’ I break those goals down every morning, focus on those, and check them off as I go.
I do think it’s important to still get dressed up for meetings—I put my suit coat on, and I always put my video out there, because it shows that I’m vested and interested and taking this seriously. Do your best to still put your best foot forward. Make sure you have that personal drive and ambition to be focused. Working from home isn’t for everybody, some people get easily distracted, but for me, working from home has always been a blessing.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I’m a big live music fan. I have been to countless concerts and more than 80 Grateful Dead shows. All of the concerts I was planning to attend this summer have been canceled or postponed though, so I’m pretty disappointed about that. I also love to get outdoors to hike, mountain bike, fish, hunt, and ski.
Outside of music and outdoor activities, my family takes up most of my time. I’ve been married for 20 years and have two sons and one granddaughter. My youngest son is about to head off to college. He got a football scholarship to Stevenson University, so we’re really proud of him and excited we get to watch him play for four more years. And we see our granddaughter (pictured above) very often and she is a lot of fun.
Any last thoughts about your role, your team, or Zscaler?
We’re a successful 12-year-old company that just started our Federal initiatives, so the Federal team is over-the-top excited about the opportunity. They’re serving it up to us on a silver platter, so we’re about to explode, and the Federal team is ready to deliver. The use case is just too good to pass up. It’s a very exciting time for our team.
Overall, if anyone is thinking about coming to Zscaler, they’d be lucky to be here. It’s the perfect place to be right now, and there are not many companies that can say that right now.
Join Ted and the rest of the team!
Visit our careers page to explore opportunities in regional sales management as well as the many other roles in which you can help Zscaler drive secure digital transformation for enterprises around the world.
Kristi Myllenbeck is a copywriter at Zscaler