Education at Work’s (EAW) Arizona State University (ASU) IT team has been hard at work with several labor intensive tech projects, including preparing our new 17,000 square foot expansion facility at ASU. This new site will have capacity for up to two client programs comprised of a combined 250 FTE positions for customer service and back office support. Despite being busy at work, there has been time for the ASU IT team led by our Director, Jad Greer, to venture out for some fun activities to encourage camaraderie and team building.
Over Memorial Day weekend, our ASU IT team along with our ASU Educational Outreach team, attended the downtown Phoenix Comic-Con & expo, an annual event that celebrates superhero fandom and pop culture through features, such as pop culture actors, top comic book writers & artists, computer/video game programmers, costuming and exhibitors, etc. In order to dress the part, our team decided to suit up in costumes to fit right in with other attendees. This practice is also referred to as “cosplaying” within the Comic-Con community. Our team cosplayed as characters from Star Wars, Kiki from Kiki’s delivery service, and Negan from the Walking Dead.
Inside Comic-Con, the team walked around the convention hall floor, checked out exhibitor booth spaces, met interesting people and famous actor characters comic books, superhero movies and video games, as well as took lots of fun selfies and photos involving props. In addition, our team hit a specialized arcade where they played classic arcade titles, such as X-Men: The Arcade Game, Area 51, Donkey Kong, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This created some friendly competition and collaboration through the goal of advancing as far as possible through different
stages of each game. Lastly, our team enjoyed some staged medieval fighting, and shopped for Star Wars Lightsabers, t-shirts, and artwork. They report almost purchasing a Pokeball phone charger for the office.
Although the team enjoys play time together, in the office, they have a major focus around developing as professionals. Jad has put together several guests speaking sessions to bring in local working professionals with lots of background knowledge and experience within the IT field. Thus far, some of the standout speakers include:
Scott Wiegand – Program Manager at Vocado Software
- Scott presented his unique perspective as an IT leader, but also shared knowledge from his extensive background working on IT projects at a technical level.
- Scott advanced his business knowledge by earning his MBA. Career roles he previously held such as a Program Manager, Project Manager, and Software Engineer for companies, like Oracle’s PeopleSoft were foundational building blocks.
Jason Blade – Consultant (Unix Engineer II) at CGI
- With over 8-years of IT experience, Jason shared his knowledge of setting up Unix/Linux based servers, along with the hardware infrastructure they run on. He also shared ways he managed networking and desktop support, database software and system administration.
- Jason too worked for a number of well-known companies, such as Limelight Networks, The Apollo Group, and DHL.
Kim Naugle – Storage Administrator at OneNeck IT Solutions
- With 17-years of working in IT, Kim communicated the value of being a “jack-of-all-trades” and learning as much general knowledge about each part of the IT field as possible. From jack of all trades she was able to find her niche and specialize in data storage administration.
- Kim brings to the table vast experience within storage and database administration, desktop support, server, printer, and application backups.
Exposure to speakers like these taught our ASU IT team the value of completing their IT degrees, and gaining meaningful work experience within many areas of the IT field before honing in on a specialization. These speaking sessions illuminated the many different paths to a successful IT career. EAW’s IT leadership team will continue to provide more learning opportunities around IT best practices.