Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Jason Lapp: For Whom The "Tech Support" Bells Toll (In the New Building)

Jason Lapp is IC's newest personnel acquisition, and it's a good thing too because we've got this massive new health and life sciences building being built, and its soon to be occupants are going to be needing tech support.  Once the building is open, it's projected that there will be some pretty lofty support demands that Jason will have to immediately begin working on, but that's exactly why he's a good fit for the position. He's got a high quality dynamic skill set with a calming and personable demeanor, fantastic for a frantic IT support environment. 

Though Jason has only been in IC for a few weeks, I am happy to report that he is an exceedingly pleasant individual to be around, and he's definitely the type of person that makes the work place more fun than mundane, while maintaining strict professionalism. Today, Jason spared a few minutes so that I could grab an interview with him.  Here's what he had to say:

Q: Would you mind telling me a little about yourself?
A: Oh gosh, where should I begin? I'm from the Cumberland area of Western Maryland. I graduated with honors from Allegany College of Maryland and Frostburg State University. At Allegany, my major was in Communication Arts and Technology, and at Frostburg I majored in Mass Communications with a minor in Public Relations and Journalism, and a professional focus in interactive multimedia design. I wound up in Winchester after I met this girl on MySpace, who would eventually become my wife.  Shortly after she graduated from the SU PA program, she landed a job in Berryville. I moved to Winchester once I graduated and accepted a position with SU as an admissions councilor for the Conservatory. After a year or so, I moved into a new position with Media Services. After my wife and I married, we decided to have a child, and once she was born, I left my job to be a stay at home father for sixteen months. After the twelfth month, I knew that I needed to find a way to get back to work. Being a stay at home Dad was wearing on me, so I applied for a job with SU at the School of Pharmacy as a video conferencing technician. I was with the School of Pharmacy for four and a half years before I opted to move into this position with IC.  This new job will be the fourth position that I’ve held at SU, and I'm really excited about it. 

Jason and adorable daughter, Zoe "Bot Bot", giving a classic thumbs-up
Q: How long have you had technology as a hobby?
A: Well, I'm really big into video games. Recently, I've been into Sony consoles, but I've been into gaming since I was four.  My first console was an Atari 2600, and then I had just about every console you can think of including the ill-fated Virtual Boy.  I think my love of gaming at a young age led to my enjoyment of working with technology. We got our first family computer in 1994, so that's really where I began working with computers, and have loved working with them ever since.

Q: What type of music do you like?
A: I played in numerous bands throughout and after high school, most of which were punk. I was in one particular band for about six years, and it was during this time that I was traveling, enjoying life, and figuring out what I wanted to do with my education. A little part of me is still stuck in that era, and that’s likely why I still listen to punk rock. My friends and I run a blog about music and video games, so we try to stay hip to new music regardless of genre. I can listen to just about anything, but like most people, I have my preferences.

Q: Would you rather fight one hundred duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?
A: Horses are powerful, but then again, so are ducks. I spent some time working on a farm. Umm... If the small horses are agile and mean, I'm going to have to say one horse-sized duck. I think that even a horse-sized duck would still know it’s a duck, and it would probably have some evolutionary tenancies not to fight to the death.

Q: What is your most memorable experience at SU thus far?
A: I think my favorite times at SU were back when I was an admissions councilor for the Conservatory. I enjoyed giving tours to performing arts students because they are, generally, very animated people. Those tours would become performances in-and-of-themselves, in a way. I enjoyed it, and those prospective students even laughed at my jokes sometimes.

Q: What does a typical workday in your life consist of?
A: Right now, it’s getting to know a lot of people, coordinating training and trying to find holes in the plans for the new building. As soon as the new building opens up, my whole routine is going to change dramatically. Today I toured the new building, and it’s amazing at how large that building actually is on the inside. I stopped to think for a minute and thought about how overwhelming this new position will be for the first few months. I'm looking forward to the challenges though. I love introducing people to new technology, and I can't wait for the new building to open. 

Q: Hypothetically, lets assume that the new building has been open for a few months, and you've been working there successfully. One day, you slip into an extra-dimensional pocket for an extended period of time, and nobody fills your job responsibilities, what would happen after six months?
A: If nobody filled the position, I think a lot of things would come to a screeching halt. But I would also like to believe that by that point I will have trained enough people in enough areas that they could manage on their own until I exit that extra-dimensional pocket.

Q: If you could give end users one quick pro-tip about the technology that you use and support on a day-to-day basis, what would it be?
A: I think people should be using their tablets more. These devices are probably some of the more underutilized things that we currently have available to us. There’s just so many apps out there that can enhance your teaching and learning experience, it's amazing. Additionally, I think people should spend some time learning keyboard shortcuts. The other day, I showed somebody a few shortcuts and they looked at me like I was some sort of a wizard. Oh, and backup your data. Physical media is still your friend.

Before my interview with Jason, I knew very little about him, and now, I would say that I know considerably more. If you are planning on moving over to the new building anytime soon, why not drop Jason an email at so that you can familiarize yourself with his services and him as a person.  

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