|The legend, Paul Messina|
Paul Messina is one of those guys that you can always rely on. You rely on him not just because he knows what he is doing, but because he has the type of personality that gets things done. When he comes to work, he works, and then, after a long day, he eventually goes home.
For example, here is a list of things that I would not be surprised if Paul would do, even off the clock, if he had the right tools, worked in different industries, and was in the right time period:
· Construct an awesome Pine wood derby car, and then donate it to kids in need of awesome Pine wood derby cars
· Be a pretty darn good pirate captain
· Assist, in a meaningful capacity, with the American Revolution
· Remove a downed tree from a country road so that the local folk can pass without worry or delay
Point being, Paul does a lot of helpful stuff around here, and when you put him in tricky situations, he still gets the job done right.
Recently, Paul took up permanent work residence at SU's NVC campus. There, he will be the front line guy who will, reliably, help students, staff, and faculty with whatever technological issues they may have.
Just before BbWorld2014, I sat down with Paul over a Google Hangout session and ask him some interview questions so that you can get to understand the man behind all that good tech support a little better.
Q: Would you mind telling me a little about yourself?
A: I was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, but I was raised in Greencastle, Pennsylvania. I went to a year of college at Penn. State university, but after my first year I started working. I started working in the printing industry, and that's where I stayed for about 20 years. I bounced around to a few different companies in the Hagerstown area for awhile, but when I was 23 I moved down to this area, and began working at Berryville graphics where I worked for 15 years. Oddly enough, my first job title was "Stripper." Get your head out of the gutter, that's what they called the people who were manually film stripping. After a year or so, they opened up an electronic desktop position, I applied, and then got the job. That job is where I got a lot of my computer skills, most of which were mostly self taught.
Q: How'd you get to SU?
A: I was working at FedEx at the time because I had ceased working with Berryville Graphics, and I had wanted to work at SU for a number of years. The job security here is great, and after being in the printing industry for so long, I was ready to get a more stable job. I applied for a few positions before I landed my job at the Help Desk. Like I said though, something about SU always interested me, and I like being here.
Q: How long have you been working in technology?
A: I've been working with technology for just about 20 years at this point.
Q: What hobbies do you have outside of work?
A: My family takes up a lot of my free time, I have two small children a 6 and 3 year old. When I get a chance, I love to fish. I'm a mediocre to decent guitar player. Actually, I'd say I'm a jack of all trades but a master of none.
Q: Do you have a favorite type of music?
A: That's funny you ask because I looked at your list of questions, and this one seemed like it was going to be the hardest for me to answer. I have a broad range of interests in music; I'll listen to anything from Motorhead to Frank Sinatra. Basically, I listen to everything except rap (unless it is old rap: i.e. RunDMC, Tone Loc).
Q: What's your most memorable experience at SU thus far?
A: During one of our iMLearning distributions we had an earthquake. At the time, we had some of the baseball players behind us helping out, and I thought that maybe they were fooling around, but the floor kept shaking and then somebody started talking about an earthquake. That was an interesting day.
Q: What does a typical work day in your life consist of?
A: I don't think there are ever any typical work days. Here (NVC), I'm somewhat of a jack of all trades. I might have to be working on a laptop, a Smart Board, VTC equipment, software questions from students, and installing a few network patches if need be. I will help with just about anybody with anything here (NVC), if needed.
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 six months?
A: I don't think it would take six months for people to notice that there was a need for some assistance up here. It would only take a few days before there was a big enough problem that would require some hands on work. It's also kind of fun to imagine our staff, students, and faculty hanging out by the remote help desk kiosk seeking help.
Q: If you could give end users one quick pro-tip regarding the technology that you use and support on a day to day basis, what would it be?
A: Everybody needs patience, especially when you are learning something new. Nobody expects you to be an expert right of the bat! Learning takes time, but with repetition you can get comfortable with what you're doing. Oh, and you haven't broken anything until you've hit "save!"Like I said before, Paul is good at what he does. If you are a NVC user, make sure to get familiar with Paul because, regardless of your technological issue, he's going to be able to help you out. If you need Paul, you can reach him at 571-223-0816 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org