#MeetIronGalaxy – Daniel Fejklowicz

Published by
Keenan Moralicz
March 28, 2024
Daniel Fejklowicz Blog Header

If you want to make a video game, you’re going to need two things: people and technology. At Iron Galaxy, we have a bunch of very talented people, but they’d be lost without their equipment. Thankfully, we have a bad-ass IT team to keep us sorted with fantastic machines we can use to make the magic happen. One of those teammates who is always at the ready to help is Daniel Fejklowicz.


Iron Galaxy: Hello. Who are you and what would you say you do here at Iron Galaxy?

Daniel Fejklowicz: I'm Daniel Fejklowicz, and I'm in charge of keeping our tech running smoothly as the Technology Services Manager. I’ve been with Iron Galaxy for roughly five years now.  My main responsibilities include managing the network/server and desktop teams, as well as making sure everything tech-related works like a charm and stepping in when things get tricky. I'm a bit of a double agent, juggling both the tech and the people side of things.

IG: Thanks for setting us all up for success. We are nothing without you. What’s one skill you learned growing up that you use the most in your role?

DF: One skill that's been invaluable in my role, and which I surprisingly picked up during my childhood, is troubleshooting. This all started thanks to my early obsession with PC gaming, sparked by the game Heroes of Might and Magic 3. I used to count down the hours until I could play it at my friend's house. One pivotal day, his older brother made me a copy of the game, unknowingly igniting my passion for all things PC. With PC gaming, as many of you might know, comes the inevitable companions of error messages and crashes. Navigating these challenges required me to dive into troubleshooting, teaching myself how to diagnose and fix issues just so I could get back to playing.

This early dive into problem-solving has been a cornerstone of my career. Whether it's managing network/server issues, handling desktop support, or dealing with the myriad of unexpected tech hiccups, that foundational skill of looking at a problem, breaking it down, and finding a solution has been crucial. It's a skill that goes beyond just fixing things—it's about understanding them, learning from them, and anticipating them before they happen. And it all started with a childhood game and the desire to keep playing, no matter what technical obstacles stood in my way.

IG: Games have inspired us all. How is your specific job unique when compared to other roles at our company?

DF: What I love about my role is how it's all about balancing tech and people. I get to geek out on the latest tech trends and tools, making sure our company stays ahead of the curve, but also lead an awesome team of tech wizards. We're here to light up the way for our company, not just keep the engines running, and I'm stoked to be a part of that journey.

IG: If you could give someone who wanted to follow in your career’s footsteps one piece of advice, what would it be?

DF: If I could share one piece of advice with anyone looking to carve out a career in IT, it would be to seek out environments that encourage growth through hands-on experience, especially early in your career. My entry into the IT world was, to put it mildly, a trial by fire. I found myself in a situation where our team was understaffed, and we were rapidly taking on new clients. This meant that I had no choice but to learn the ropes quickly, as some of our senior team members had left, and the responsibility fell to me and a few others to keep things running smoothly.

This experience taught me the invaluable lesson that being in a role where you're encouraged to get your hands dirty and tackle a wide variety of technical challenges is gold. It's in these environments that you'll learn the most, not just about technology, but about problem-solving, project management, and teamwork. These are the crucibles that forge not just competent IT professionals, but true experts and leaders in the field.

Look for opportunities where you're not boxed in by excessive red tape or limited to a narrow set of tasks. Find a place that will let you explore, experiment, and expand your skills across the full spectrum of technology. It's these experiences that will build your confidence, enhance your abilities, and truly prepare you for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in your IT career.

IG: There are those problem-solving skills in action! What’s the best thing about working at a video game development company?

DF: The best part of working at a video game development company is being in the engine room that powers the creation of games I've been fascinated by since my childhood. My earliest gaming memories are tied to a Pegasus console, an Eastern European NES clone, which sparked my lifelong passion for video games. In my role, I support the brilliant minds behind these games, ensuring they have the tools and technology needed to work their magic. It’s incredibly rewarding to contribute to the behind-the-scenes efforts that enable developers to bring their visions to life. Every day, I get to merge my love for gaming with my professional skills, playing a crucial part in creating the next generation of games that might inspire or entertain someone just as I was. This connection to the creative heartbeat of the gaming world is a dream realized, making every challenge worthwhile.

IG: You helped transition over 200 employees to work-from-home setups during the beginning of the pandemic. That must’ve been quite the undertaking. How did you approach that challenge?

DF: The transition to work-from-home for over 200 employees at the onset of the pandemic was, without a doubt, a monumental shift. Originally, I had plans to be in Orlando that week, but as the situation unfolded rapidly, those plans were abruptly canceled. Instead, we were faced with the immediate task of preparing everyone to work remotely for the foreseeable future. It was quite the shock to the system, both logistically and mentally.

Despite the suddenness of it all, I was fortunate to have an incredible team by my side. Together, we dived into the challenge head-on, dedicating countless hours to planning and execution. The process was not without its hiccups—technical glitches, logistical puzzles, and the sheer scale of the task made for a daunting journey. However, the unwavering support from every corner of the company made all the difference. Our colleagues were understanding and cooperative, willing to navigate the bumps in the road with us. 

Our approach was methodical yet flexible. We prioritized essential needs, ensuring every team member had the necessary tools and access to maintain productivity. The collective effort and adaptability of our team and the entire company turned what could have been a chaotic ordeal into a testament to our organizational strength and unity.

In the end, the experience reinforced the value of teamwork, adaptability, and proactive planning. It was a reminder that, even in the face of unprecedented challenges, a committed team and a supportive company culture can accomplish remarkable feats.

IG: The IT team did just that. Major props! What makes for swift, impactful game studio support at a studio that works on multiple titles at a time?

DF: Effective support in a game studio handling multiple titles boils down to experience, adaptability, and clear communication. Many of us on the IT team come from managed service providers (MSPs), giving us a background in managing diverse IT needs. This experience is crucial when facing the different challenges each game project brings.

Communication and collaboration are at the core of what we do. Our work varies significantly—some projects demand detailed planning and coordination over months, while others are more straightforward and quick to implement.

The ability to adapt our approach based on the project's scale and needs, combined with ongoing communication with development teams, ensures we can tackle issues efficiently.

IG: You’ve rooted yourself in a knowledgeable team. What about your roots? How has your family helped shape the trajectory of your career?

DF: My family, particularly my mom, played a pivotal role in steering me toward a career in technology. It all started when I received a sum of money for my communion. At 11, my heart was set on buying a mini motorcycle, but my mom, wisely thinking it was too dangerous, suggested a different investment: a computer. She had noticed my growing fascination with games like Diablo 2 and Runescape and thought a computer would be a better outlet for my interests.

Ecstatic with the idea, I quickly shifted my focus from motorcycles to motherboards. I dove into building my own PC, ordering parts from Newegg and embarking on a journey filled with trial and error. I went through two motherboards before learning the crucial lesson of using spacers to prevent short-circuiting against the metal case. There were even times when my makeshift setup worked only when tilted on its side or turned upside down. Despite these challenges, or perhaps because of them, my passion for technology only grew.

This early foray into the world of PC building and troubleshooting laid the foundation for my career in IT. My family's guidance not only diverted me from a potentially reckless path with the motorcycle but also opened the door to a world where I could channel my curiosity and problem-solving skills into a profession.

Here is a picture of my first ever build 😊

IG: What a pivotal moment in your life! Your interest in PCs and games are apparent. When did that interest turn toward IT?

DF: When I was working as a manager at Planet Fitness, I was the go-to tech troubleshooter; this extended to family and friends too. Whether it was leveraging my Google-fu skills or applying my own knowledge, I found a unique satisfaction in solving the tech puzzles that frustrated others. This enjoyment in troubleshooting, combined with the realization that I could turn this knack into a career, was the catalyst for my shift into IT. 

One day, driven by the desire for change, I decided to take a leap and started applying to IT positions, despite lacking formal experience. It was a shot in the dark, but eventually, one company saw potential in me and gave me the opportunity I needed. That leap of faith was the beginning of my journey in the tech world, leading me to where I am today. Looking back, it was my enjoyment of problem-solving and the challenge of figuring things out that truly piqued my interest in IT and set me on this path.

IG: What places do you call home?

DF: I'm originally from Gorlice, Poland, but moved to Chicago when I was just a little kid, about four years old. We arrived at O'Hare Airport on Halloween, which was a wild intro to the U.S. for me. Back in Poland, Halloween wasn't a thing, so you can imagine how spooky that day was for a four-year-old! After some time in the city, my family and I moved to Elmwood Park in the suburbs, and that's where I grew up. If you’re looking for an amazing tavern style Chicago pizza (which is the real Chicago style, not deep dish) hit up Coluta’s Pizza just outside Elmwood Park on Harlem & Belmont!

IG: Careful Daniel. We love all kinds of pizza here, though tavern-style is very good! Aside from playing video games, what’s a favorite hobby of yours?

DF: Outside of the gaming world, I'm really into martial arts. I spent years training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which was awesome until a bunch of knee injuries forced me to take a step back. Even though I'm not actively training anymore, I still love keeping up with mixed martial arts. Watching fights, following my favorite athletes, and staying connected with the MMA community is something I really enjoy. It's a different kind of passion from gaming, but it's equally important to me.

IG: You’re qualified to protect people in a variety of ways. What a fitting hobby. What’s something you have always wanted to create?

DF: I've always had this dream of creating my own game. Back in school, I dabbled in computer animation, graphics, and programming, making small projects but never anything big. Then, with all this buzz around AI, I decided to challenge myself a few months ago: could I create a card game in just one day, using AI for everything? From dreaming up the rules to designing the art and coming up with a catchy name, AI was my go-to tool.

It took about four hours and I ended up creating 'Dino Dynasty,' a card game with a little nod to 'Exploding Kittens' but with my own spin. I introduced it at a family gathering, and it was a blast.

IG: Next time IG has a game night, please bring Dino Dynasty out! If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

DF: Without a doubt, tacos. Corn tortilla, cilantro, onion. <3


IG: What’s your favorite travel destination that you have visited?

DF: Poland is hands down my favorite place I've ever visited. I left when I was just a kid, about four, and didn't get the chance to go back until I was fifteen. My grandma lives a bit outside of Krakow, and when we finally made it to her place after all those years, it was already night. Stepping out of the car, my little sister and I couldn't believe our eyes. The sky was lit up with millions of stars. It was like those photos you see and think “No way that's real." But it was. Right there above us. We just stood there in the dark, staring up in awe for about an hour. It was one of those moments that stick with you, you know? Poland's night sky is something else. Truly beautiful.

IG: What’s one genre of games that you think is underrated?

DF: I've always had a soft spot for games by Quantic Dream like Heavy Rain, Indigo Prophecy, and Detroit: Become Human. They're often labeled as 'interactive movies,' which might not do them full justice. This genre, blending deep narrative with player choice, feels underrated to me. Each game is a hit, offering immersive stories where your decisions genuinely shape the outcome. It's a unique experience that goes beyond traditional gaming, engaging you in a way that's both emotionally impactful and thought-provoking. More people should give these interactive adventures a chance; they're missing out on some truly innovative storytelling.

IG: What was the last concert you saw? 

DF: The last concert I caught was Atmosphere & Lupe Fiasco at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. I've always heard people raving about that venue, and honestly, I thought it was all just hype. But man, was I wrong. The place is unreal. You're out there in nature, with stunning views all around, jamming to great music. Plus, you can bring your own drinks and food. It's like a picnic with a live soundtrack. Totally lives up to the hype and then some. Amazing experience.

IG: Fun combo of artists with incredible sights to see. What game have you spent the most time playing?

DF: Back in the day, Diablo 2, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, and Runescape were my go-to games. I spent endless hours diving into those adventures, completely hooked. But if we're talking about more recent times, it's got to be Rumbleverse. I powered through over 1000 matches and loved every minute.


IG: Name a scene from a movie that makes you cry, every time…

DF: Every single time, the ending of 'Click' gets me. It's that powerful reminder to cherish the time we have with family and friends. Even the most ordinary moments can turn into memories we'll hold onto forever. It really drives home the message to embrace our loved ones while we can. You know the saying, 'give them roses while they can still smell them?' That scene embodies that sentiment perfectly and brings it to life in a way that just hits right in the feels.


IG: The perfect movie that’ll queue up tears and laughter both at once. What movie have you seen the most times?

DF: It's a tie between 'Forrest Gump' and 'Big Fish' for me. I've seen both of them a bunch of times and never get tired of them. They're classics. Every rewatch feels just as good as the first time.


IG: What is the one superpower that you would like to have?

DF: Definitely time travel, or maybe the ability to pause aging. Both would be amazing for the same reason: getting to spend more time with the people I care about. Imagine being able to freeze those perfect moments or zip back to relive them whenever you wanted. It's all about making those precious times with loved ones last a bit longer.


IG: Time travel is classic response on the blog, though the ability to pause aging is a new one! If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

DF: I'd wish for a wallet that always has the exact amount I need for any purchase or bill, no matter how big or small. It's technically just one wish, but it keeps on giving every time I reach for it. Plus, it's environmentally friendly, only printing the exact amount of money I need.


IG: That’s what you call smart spending. Given a time machine, which historical period would you like to experience first-hand?

DF: I'd go back to the 1970s. Life before the internet sounds like a different world. I caught just a tiny bit of that era before AIM and cell phones took over by the time I hit middle school. Experiencing the 70s first-hand would be amazing: catching live music that's now legendary, witnessing the fashion, and soaking in the vibe of a time when people connected face-to-face, music was on vinyl, and photos took a week to develop. It's that raw, unfiltered connection to the world and people around you that seemed so awesome.


IG: What fictional universe would you choose over our own? What if there was no coming back?

DF: If I had to pick a fictional universe to dive into with no return ticket, it's got to be the world of Pokémon. Who wouldn't want to live in a place where you can travel across the land, searching far and wide, with Pokémon to understand the power that's inside? Becoming the very best, like no one ever was.


IG: Now we must ask. Who would your starter be?


IG: Classic choice. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would you invite?

DF: I'd go for Sam Altman or another big name in AI. With his role at OpenAI, Sam's got some cool insights into where tech's heading, the ethics of AI, and what new stuff we can expect. Chatting about what AI's going to bring to the table, both the good stuff and the challenges, would really open up my eyes to what's coming. Plus, I need to find out when the robots might start calling the shots. Just need to be prepared, you know?


We don’t know and that’s why we’ll rely on you to inform us about the future! Thanks for the deep dive on your history. Following your journey from age 11 to now was very informative. You’ve highlighted how seemingly small moments in life can be pivotal moments for growth as a working professional or an individual living life.

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