In this series, we aim to bring the personalities of our passionate and hardworking team to light. It is our hope that these Spotlights will help you get to know us a little better, so you can put faces to the names of people you work with.
We are excited to introduce our second Employee Spotlight feature of 2015. After starting things off with a look at one of our project managers from the corporate office, we thought we'd go in another direction and get a little more technical. This month, our journey takes us all the way to Dallas, TX, the home office of one of our most accomplished IT Engineers.
IT Services Engineer
Dallas, TX Branch
Hi, Jeffery! Thanks for letting us shine the spotlight on you today. Let’s get started by talking about your work with districts. What is your favorite part and what brings the greatest challenge?
Sure. The best part of my job is when I can find answers for our customers and remove their burdens. It’s my chance to – if only for an instance – make a positive impact in another’s life.
Technology is dynamic, so it’s constantly changing. I think that’s what makes my job the most difficult. I try to combat that by keeping my nose in the books and by being innovative in my approach to problem solving; there’s no single solution.
Since you spend so much time working with districts, you’ve seen firsthand how K-12 education has changed in recent years. How do you see it changing over the next 10 years?
The trend is smaller, faster, and more convenient. I think we’re probably looking at mobile classrooms.
Hmm… That’s a thought-provoking idea. Well if that happens on a large scale, we have you quoted here – you called it. Was technology always your passion?
No. Growing up, I dreamed of being a scientist. Science was always my favorite subject. My older brother told me scientists were paid by donations. Lesson learned: Don’t always listen to older brothers.
[In my early professional years] I got started on canvas and acrylics and did three years of commercial art. I was also in the U.S. Navy. ‘What did I do?’ you ask? Sorry, although many things have been declassified, this one hasn’t. In short, I held a Top Secret clearance for over twelve years.
Wow, that is really interesting! Rumor has it you are not only an IT expert, but an author as well. Can you tell us more about your passion for writing?
I fancy myself as a science fiction novelist. As a writer, I started late (around the age of 26). I began with short stories that would have been viewed as folk tales. The stories kept getting longer and longer, so hum? “Why not a novel?” I learned so much about the craft and the industry in my first two novels.
Now, I’m currently (80 percent) into my third and feel it’s my best work to date. My goal (and my dream) is to make the list of Hugo Award winners, science fiction’s most prestigious award, voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention.
That’s awesome. It’s great that you’ve set such a high goal for yourself. Best of luck in achieving it! Now it’s time for some fast facts. You ready?
Favorite hobby: Hydroponics gardening (strawberries, lettuce, peppers, etc.)
Favorite quote or motto: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." – Thomas Edison
Favorite music: Classic rock, jazz, and everything in between
Favorite place: Pick an island in the western Pacific with crystal clear waters and I’m home.
Okay, we’re going to go in a different direction now. If you could live in any time period, when would you live?
I would go forward (say about 1,000 years), take a look at life in the city, and then move to a Pacific Island with crystal clear waters.
Maybe we didn’t go in such a different direction after all! I’ll try again: What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
I ate balut when I was in the Philippines. If you really want to be grossed out you’ll have to look it up (if you dare). It was the lesser of two evils. It was either balut or the monkey brains. I think I came out on top. I think.
Well, I am going to have to look that up! (I’m guessing our readers will too.) Let’s finish by looking to the future. What are three things on your bucket list?
1) Write a National Best Seller
2) Win the Hugo Award
3) Scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef
I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors, Jeffery. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us!
Have you worked with someone from Skyward’s team who you’d like to see featured? Send us an email at email@example.com or leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to make it happen.
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