Meet the Team: Tyson Nakagawa
Our latest installment of Meet the Team features Walsworth’s Director of Information Technology, Tyson Nakagawa.
Tyson has more than a decade of technology experience in the legal industry in positions ranging from Systems Administrator to Senior Manager, IT Infrastructure. He joined Walsworth with excitement for the opportunity to shape the firm’s IT strategy, spearhead new initiatives, and implement systems which not only improve internal efficiencies, but also lead to an even higher level of service to clients.
Tyson embarked on his IT career after his service with the United States Marines, where he was deployed to Iraq in the infantry. His career started by building custom PCs, and he later joined a large tax preparation company in its networking department. Tyson furthered his career at a financial institution before joining a multi-service law firm as a Systems Administrator where he continued to learn the roles of different systems and develop his knowledge. Several years later, Tyson moved on to a mid-sized law firm specializing in real estate. He was hired as a Senior Engineer, and was later promoted to Senior Manager, IT Infrastructure.
“I’ve always felt included with technology decisions, and my input was valued,” he said. “However, I was not necessarily the one to make final decisions. When the position opened up at Walsworth, it presented an opportunity to apply my technical and leadership abilities in the driver’s seat. I thought this would be a great challenge to test everything I’ve learned over my career.”
Tyson grew up in San Diego and enlisted in the United States Marines in 2003. “It was an eye-opening experience,” he said. Serving his country taught Tyson valuable lessons that have shaped his management style, including taking a disciplined and systematic approach to tasks and projects, and investing in the success of his team members. “I didn’t realize the importance of the knowledge I was gaining during my time as a Marine, however it has had a big impact in evolving me into the person I’ve become now.”
Upon reflection, it was the influence of his father that had the biggest impact on Tyson’s outlook on life. “He’s the person who shaped my understanding of what it meant to be a hard worker,” he said. “He’s someone who’s very determined. I rarely heard him complain about work. Instead he would welcome obstacles as challenging opportunities. I found a lot of value in that – in seeing someone enjoy what they’re doing.”
Another valuable lesson that Tyson learned from his father was the importance of balance. “No matter how hard he was working, my father always made time to come to all of my high school matches and games,” he said. “Despite his busy work schedule, he was there for us. I picked up those values along the way. Now that I have three young children of my own, I’m having to find the balance between my career and family time, as my father had. With so many exciting projects on the horizon, it’s easy to become engulfed in the day to day tasks. However, thinking about personal and family goals helps to remind me if the scales are becoming tipped too far in one direction.”
What are people most surprised to learn about you?
A lot of people are surprised to learn that I don’t speak Japanese and I’ve never been to Japan. When people make a comment in Japanese, I just smile. Japanese was not spoken by my parents growing up, and since it wasn’t offered as a language in high school, I’ve come to know more Spanish than Japanese. Being fourth-generation, unfortunately the language is lost at this point in my household. I would love to go and visit Japan one day, but I haven’t had the opportunity.
If you could become an instant expert in something, what would it be?
I would want to become an instant expert in Jiu-Jitsu. I’ve been training for about four years, and just received my purple belt. The average student takes about ten years to become a black belt, which means I still have a long way to go. There’s a lot of time and energy involved, but what’s great about Jiu-Jitsu is that it’s not just about the martial art. I’ve learned it can teach many lessons which apply to life and work. For example, in life we often find ourselves in challenging or difficult positions, and the answer isn’t obvious. However by breathing, finding patience, and looking for the next step, we can navigate a path to success. There have been many times when I’ve relied on this mentality both on and off the mats to better myself.
How do you recharge your batteries?
Family time! Sometimes I lose focus on why I’m working, so spending time together and going on trips are great ways to recharge my batteries. I also enjoy riding motorcycles. It’s just you, the road, and music – pure freedom!