Wednesday, July 23, 2014

James Randall: Awesome Guy & HPB's Technology Support Provider

If you frequent HPB, you've almost certainly seen James moving with haste from one area to another. If you have never stopped to talk to him, it's possible that you don't exactly know what James does. In brevity, James is IC's go to guy at HPB, but he also works heavily with Pharmacy's DTE (Deivision of Technology in Education) group.

When you do encounter James, make sure to stop him and introduce yourself. In all honesty, it would be difficult to find a more friendly character in any of SU's campuses. Personally, when I was brand new to IC, I was sent to HPB to begin assisting their users with Blackboard related questions when I had begin to communicate with James more frequently. Every step of the way, he offered any kind of a assistance I might need in order to make sure HPB users were properly taken care of, and I think that's the exact mentality somebody should have when they hold a position like James's. 

Should you have been following this blog series in the past, you would know that many of the questions have been the same, that is because I want these blogs to be consistent, and I want my coworkers to have the opportunity to be prepared. James, being incredibly prepared almost immediately emailed his responses to my questions in an email. I thought that was a particularly efficient and savvy idea.  Here is what he had to say in response to my questions:

Q: Would you mind telling me a little about yourself?
A: I'm from New Orleans, LA, and I have been working in technology since 1992. I started to work in technology for a company that manufactured large-scale blueprint scanners. back then, computers were considerably more sparse tha
n they are today. Computer parts were expensive, and repair facilities were almost entirely non-existent, so we learned to repair computers and their components ourselves to save the company money.

Q: What hobbies do you have when your not at HPB?
A: I am the Cub Master of Pack 1 in Winchester. I enjoy scouting. Also, I enjoy cooking. Both are incredibly rewarding, scouting because making an impact in a kid's life is great, and cooking, well, I like to eat awesome food!

Q: James, what is your favorite type of music?
A: Big Band, Blues, 70's and early 80's punk, and anything by Captain and Tennille

Q: Are you an animal lover?
A: I love animals -- well... I'm not a huge fan of cats. My favorite animal was our pig, Penelope.

Q: What is your most memorable experience at SU thus far?
A: I suppose this past graduation, it was really memorable for me. I've met a lot of characters at SU though, I have a lot of fond memories of each of them.

Q: What does a typical work day in your life consist of?
A: I'm in by 7:30a, that's when I check on some techie stuff and servers, make a walk through to make sure anybody who needs assistance is receiving the help they need. I'll check and answer a lot of emails. A lot of stuff happens here in a day.

Q: What are the primary systems that you deal with on a day-to-day basis?
A: I'm responsible for the health of the HPB network and its servers. I also support the DTE (Division of Technology in Education) group with any issues that they may have related to the network and other technologies. I'm also part of the Pharmacy Technology Committee.

Q: What do you do that directly affects the end users of Shenandoah University?
A: I support every faculty and staff member at HPB by keeping the network up and running. I also support their computers, distance learning technologies, video conferencing, and any other technological issue that they may have.

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: I document what I do so that anything I do can be duplicated, should I slip into an extra-dimensional pocket. That way, the users at HPB will never be without the help they need!

Q: If you could give end user one quick pro-tip regarding the technology that you work with and support, what would it be?
A: You have three DIFFERENT passwords at SU.  Your Gmail, SUNet (Bb, WebAdvisor..etc), and your MacBook are all different. Your SUNet password will need to be changed every 180 days, but remember that does not affect your Google or MacBook!

Like I said previously, seek James out should you find yourself needing some tech assistance at HPB. He's a superb guy, and if he can help you, he will! That's just how he is, and that's why he's a valuable asset to IC and Shenandoah University. If you need to contact James call 540.678.4348 or email him at

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