Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ron Combs: The Servers' Keeper

Ron Combs is an IC legend. Why?  Because this man makes delicious BBQ wienies that he shares, on special occasions, with the rest of IC. Oh, and yeah, he's an awesome employee too; that being said, when you see Ron roll up to work with a crock-pot, you know you're about to have a good day.

This is not Ron, it is a Chocolate Lab pup, his favorite breed
On any given work day, you can count on Ron to be in a good mood. In fact, most days you can find a delicious Wint-O-Green flavored lifesaver on your door handle. Yeah, that was Ron, just dropping off a tasty present like a breath-improving Santa.

Like many subatomic particles, Ron's labor, cannot always be witnessed directly, but when you log onto the network successfully, and use many of the services that are hosted on a SU server, you will see hints of his labor.

Right before lunch, I knocked on the door to Ron's office, which requires a special keycard to gain access to that I could conduct my interview. Check it out:

Q: Ron, would you mind telling readers about yourself?
A: I'll give you a little bit of information: I graduated from high school in 1980, and graduated with a degree in geology from WVU in 1985, and I've been working ever since. When I first got into geology, companies were hiring geologists right and left because of an oil shortage, but by the time I had graduated in '85, nobody wanted to talk to you unless you had a Ph.D. That's when I took some civil engineering courses, and then in the mid '90s I made a transition into computers.  I actually took some networking classes at LFCC, and I started working in a related field in Chantilly. After that I got some important certifications (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Microsoft Certified Database Administrator) that allowed me to start work here in Winchester.

Q:What's your favorite type of music?
A: Rock, Classic rock from the 70s and 80s.  Aerosmith and Van Halen are two of my favorites.

Q: Do you have a nickname that you're aware of?
A: Nope, no nicknames here.

Q: Are you an animal lover?
A: I'd say so. I like dogs. I don't have any right now, but I  like Chocolate Labs.

Q: Do you have a celebrity look alike? 
A: Not that I'm aware of. 

Q: What does a typical work day look like for you?
A: Most of my job is monitoring. I monitor the temperature to the server room itself to the performance of our servers, and I monitoring the backups that are performed here at the university. 

Q: What direct impacts does your labor have on specific end users?
A: I guess the biggest access to end users would be that they, specifically, have access to our network and the data that is stored out there for them.

Q:If you disappeared into an extra-dimensional pocket for an extended period of time, and nobody took over your job responsibilities, what would happen after a six month period of time?
A: For awhile, everything would be ok, but then, pretty soon, new users would have issues getting logged on to the network.  If anybody deleted files and they were not supposed to, all that data would be gone. All of that is outside of there being any major problems with the servers.

Q: Care to tell anything to end users, specifically, about your labor?
A: I just keep the gears lubed up so that everything works properly for them.

Q: If you could give end users one quick pro-tip regarding technology that you support on a day-to-day basis, what would it be?
A:Make sure your data is backed up properly.  People lose stuff on their laptops all the time, and that stuff could be backed up easily to the network or a variety of other ways.

If you've logged on to SU's networks or used any services hosted on SU servers, chances are, you've actually interfaced with some of Ron's labor without even knowing it.  That is one of the interesting things about IC, sometimes, the work that you do, if is done correctly is not noticed by the everyday Shenandoah University end users.  

No comments:

Post a Comment