Friday, October 12, 2012/lk
From humble beginnings in a dark, dank basement room to a sleek, brand new suite of offices and equipment areas, the CGCC Information Technology department has come a long way in 17 years.
“I was the IT department in 1995,” said Bill Bohn, CGCC’s current chief technology and planning officer. “We had a main server in the corner of the office and an institutional server in another building.” Bohn was also responsible for personally reconfiguring the phone system whenever an employee would change offices. A tangle of wires in an old wiring closet attests to the challenges Bohn must have faced in the “old days.”
The IT department has since grown substantially and now boasts seven staff members with specialty skills in various IT management areas.
It is those people, supported by the ever-advancing equipment, applications and information technologies that create the college’s successful electronic infrastructure.
“I firmly believe that the real magic here happens with the people in my department,” said Bohn, who is known to encourage highly creative staff contributions and where shared poems or memorable quotations are used to start each staff meeting.
Extremely fast, up-to-date servers and back-up systems are now managed by the IT department for the college’s entire network, and fill an entire classroom with processing equipment. The IT department also has charge of smart classroom equipment, student computer labs and just about every piece of interactive technology on the campus.
However, while the IT department staff is responsible for maintaining the campus’ electronic heart, they work under a very noble and humble code.
“Our goal is to be invisible,” said Bohn. “The more invisible our work, the more successful we are. We want technology to work smoothly and as error free as possible. And our effort to make technology work that way, should be as invisible to the end users as possible. When the systems work well, the end users can focus 100% on their work. However, we want to be quite visible, accessible and available when folks need assistance. Ideally, everything should be running smoothly.”
Bohn and his team reach for this goal through a very specific set of work guidelines. As a certified trainer using Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Bohn trains his staff in a critical practice – a four-quadrant diagram-guide called the Time Management Matrix.
“We are always striving to be in ‘Quadrant II’ (focused planning),” said Bohn. “We want to be able to respond to crises (Quadrant I), but it is better to avoid them through ongoing planning.”
That management philosophy is serving the IT team well as they now embark on a complete restructuring of the college’s website, due to be completed in the winter or early spring of 2014.
“It will be phenomenal,” said Bohn.
That kind of enthusiastic leadership is typical of Bohn’s department as a whole, and is integral to the overall quality of IT services for the students of CGCC.