The Next Generation of You: Steve Folsom
Jan. 1, 1970 Professional Athletes Foundation
By Jim Gehman
“I always looked at myself as a guy that may not have started on some teams, but I was a good, solid backup on most,” said Folsom, a tight end. “That would be my role. So when I was going through the different opportunities, I felt that I performed well. I just got caught up in the numbers game.”
After retiring from the NFL in 1991, Folsom got caught up in computers.
“Doug Cosbie, one of the other tight ends for the Cowboys, bought a computer and said, ‘Hey, come over and check it out,’” Folsom said. “And so I went over and thought it was pretty cool. I’d kind of been one of those guys that want to know how things work. That started getting the wheels turning and I started thinking, maybe this will be something to get into.
“It was right before the internet started taking off. And I was like, ‘You know, computers seem like the way everything’s going.’ So I bought a computer and went to Blockbuster Video and rented a video on DOS [disk operating system], and got myself a DOS. That’s how I kind of got into computers.”
After working for a small network support company and for a company that supplied video editing systems for teams, Folsom was certified by Microsoft as a system engineer. In 2001, he took a job with Dell at the company’s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, where he remains as a global technical account manager.
“I have a team that I deal with around the world. I love the team-building aspect of it and the strategic part of my job,” Folsom said. “So my job isn’t to be down in the weeds making sure things are getting fixed, my job is more strategic. How do we make sure that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing?
“The thing that was difficult for me was in football, there’s a lot of an intangible skill that you gain especially from just being a part of a team. But from business acumen, you don’t really learn a lot about how business operates. And so the difficult thing coming to a big company like Dell is to learn the culture. It’s like learning a whole new language because of the way they work.
“The thing with football and athletics, everything happens relatively quickly. You know if you’re going to win a game or lose it. The thing with the business world, at least for me, things move a lot slower. A company like Dell, it’s such a big boat, it just takes a long time to get it to turn and make things happen sometimes. But it’s great! I’ve learned so much. I’ve been exposed to a lot of cutting edge technology and to a certain extent, I geek out on that stuff. I enjoy that.”