Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tom Anderson: Mr. Mac Guru Specialist Extraordinaire Wizard Master

"Yar! Have ye updated to Mavericks, Scallywag?" -Tom
If you've ever been to IC, you know we're mostly a bunch of straight-laced PC people, but there is one among us who maintains the "Mac dude" style: Tom Anderson. Fitted jeanslow-rise ChucksEvernote Ts, and a mind for victory are all apart of Tom's daily wardrobe. Not only does Tom possess the style of a hipster overlord, he also possesses, what appears to be, the largest lunch box that can be purchased on the civilian market. What's in that massive lunch box? Probably the secret to his success: Brain-Fuel gazpacho.

As Tom's office neighbor, let me just say, it's a rare sight to see Tom in a poor mood.  This guy comes to work, tosses out a few jovial pleasantries, and then casts wizard spells upon the devices and services he manages until he leaves at 5pm.

Q: Tom, would you mind telling me a little about yourself?
A: Winchester native. Didn't go to college. I began my career in '93 at AOL in Tyson's Corner, that was back when AOL was the internet. I was employee #245. I started in the call center, and worked my way up to a technical manager position where I lead an international team of six. In 2007, I left AOL and started a consulting business that focused on Mac products.  I got that business up to about 150 customers, Shenandoah University being one of them. To make a long story short, I got tired of commuting, and eventually took up full-time work here at SU in 2010.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: I try to keep my three sons entertained, turns out, that's a full-time gig. I'm an amateur iPhone photographer; I like to take pics of food, architecture, historic landmarks. Also, I enjoy reading, and exercising.

Q: You're looking a little svelte, care to elaborate?
A: Svelte is a good term, I'm certainly not jacked! I just eat right, and I’ve been doing the UFC Fit DVDs. They're brutal.

Q:  Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?
A: 100 duck-sized horses. I don't know if I could do it though, they would be pretty cute little horses.

Q: Any celebrity look alikes?
A: I've been told Loki from the Thor movies

Q: What's your most memorable moment at SU thus far?
A: Probably the first iMLearning distribution that I was apart of. It was great interaction with the parents and students. Hands down, the iMLearning distribution is still my favorite thing to do; there is a lot of planning and work that goes into the distribution, and the students are energized to receive the technology they will be using to further their education and experiences.

Q: What does a typical work day in your life consist of?
A: It seems to be a lot of looking at where things are heading as far as the technology, mobile devices and MacBooks.  A lot of what I do involves the management of those assets, and once they are deployed, making sure they break as little as possible. Basically, I try to come up with new ways to use the tools we have to make the technology more reliable, convenient, and user friendly for SU users.

Q: What are the primary systems you deal with on a day to day basis?
A: The tools that allow Self Service to work properly, so the Casper Suite.  As far as personal tools to manage all the information that needs to be sorted and filed, I use Evernote.  Without Evernote, all the information I would be required to remember would be next to impossible.

Q: If you disappeared into an ext-dimensional pocket for an extended period of time, and nobody took over your job responsibilities, what would happen after 6 months?
A: I think things would continue to run, but they would run in stasis, there would be no improvement.  There wouldn't be any operating systems released or updates of any kind, there would be no improvements to the services provided by Self Service. I think Kevin Nealon would have to step up and take over some of the work that I do.

Q: If you could give end users a pro-tip regarding technology you support, what would it be?
A: Relax and don't be intimidated by the tools that we have. A lot of people get overwhelmed by technology, but we have the support in place here that makes it so you cannot mess up too bad. Even if the worst happened, say you mess up your operating system somehow, you would just take your MacBook into the Help Desk for an hour or so, and then the Help Desk staff would have your computer back up and running again.

Tom's a groovy dude. How groovy?  If you're a '90s kid, he's Moon Shoes groovy.  As you know, Macs are a big deal here at Shenandoah University, and Tom is one of the key players behind the success of Mac products here.

1 comment: