Thursday, June 5, 2014

Devon Taylor: Support Juggernaut

Looks like Ethan Hawk with lots of freckle-glitter, right?
If the IC department was a delicious sandwich, Devon Taylor would be the exotic condiment that makes the sandwich unique. Devon is well known around campus for providing assistance with technology and training newly hired staff members, but there is more depth to Devon's character than you'd think. In fact, there is so much depth to this guy that you might as well call him Mariana Trench!  He's not just an excellent employee, and valuable member of the IC department, he's a cool dude.

Today I sat down with Devon, mano-e-mano, to pick his brain about a topic that he knows better than anybody, himself.

Q:First, could you tell me a little about yourself?
A:Sure! I'm almost 31. Yeah, I'm getting up there... Starting to get a little achy at times. Heck, when I was thirty I got sick, pulled my back out, got strep throat, and I've been going down hill ever since! Though, I'm doing better now.  Actually, I'm expecting my first child, he is due at the end of August.

Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born in Stratford, Ontario.

Q: What brought you to America?
A: My mom used to go caving in West Virginia, and we ended up moving there when I was four.  I've lived in West Virginia ever since.

Q: How did your cool family history end up with you at SU?
A: I went to college at WVU and got a History degree with a minor is Spanish.  My wife is a teacher in Berkeley Springs, and that is what brought us to the Eastern Panhandle.  I got to SU by applying online at

Q: Prior to being employed at SU, had you worked in technology?
A: Yes and no.  At WVU I had a fairly technical position as a student employee, and I took lots of technology in education classes for my master's degree. Those things gave me a lot of the knowledge that I use on a daily basis.

Q: How long have you been at SU?
A: Two years this August!

Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: I love to read. I read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi.  Currently, I'm reading the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, but late in the series, Robert Jordan actually passed away and his writing was taken over by Brandon Sanderson to finish the series, and I am currently on Sanderson's books.

Q:What is your coolest hidden talent?
A: I can cook, and play a mean juice-harp.

Q: Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses, or 1 horse sized duck?
A: I'd rather fight 100 duck sized horses! I'd be like Godzilla wading through those little things. One huge duck would give me nightmares, I mean, think about that beak and quack! 

Q: What does a typical work day in your life look like?
A: I generally get to work a little early because I have a long commute, and you can never anticipate traffic.  Once I'm here, I start busting out items on my task list.  I'll usually meet with several people who need help, post some training videos, and research new technologies that the university might use.

Q: What's the coolest part of your job?
A: Part of my job is to be a contact in IC for everybody at SU. The key here is that if I do not know the answer to a question, I know somebody who does. People can come to me with any tech question, and I will find them the support they need.

Q: If you disappeared into an extra-dimensional pocket for an extended period of time, and nobody took over your job, what would happen after 6 months?
A: I'd try to come back, quick. I think "new hires" would be put at a disadvantage without somebody breaking them into the technology we use here at SU. Also, I think there would be increased work loads across IC because instead of contacting me, users would contact other people within IC, and everybody in IC is already incredibly busy with important projects and tasks.

Q:Is there anything you'd like end users to know about your labor?
A:I'm always busy. I certainly don't sit around reading news blogs all the time, that's for sure!

Q: If you could give end users a quick pro-tip with any of the technology you support, what would it be?
A: Be curious.  Don't be afraid to try. A lot of people would prefer to ask me how to do something before they have even tried to accomplish the task on their own. Play with technology, and if you can't figure it out, give me a call and we will get you straightened out.

Go figure, one of our most vocal and visible personalities is also one of IC's most interesting people! The father to be, Devon Taylor, will always find you the help you need.  Feel free to get in touch with Devon via email or call his phone at extension #4838

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