May 22, 2019
Late May is when many WCU employees can exhale a bit and plan for the upcoming academic year. But for IS&T team member Mike Ogoe it's actually one of his busiest times.
Ogoe's job responsibilities have greatly expanded since he joined WCU eight years ago as a help desk technician, after initially interning in this position during his undergraduate years here.
These days, Ogoe's duties include serving as the purchasing manager for faculty and staff IT purchases. With employees finally having the time to assess their technology needs -- and wanting to complete this process before the fiscal year draws to a close -- Ogoe must perform due diligence on numerous technology purchases during a short window of time.
He's had to handle everything from making sure Swedish-made software would be compatible with a professor's U.S. based suite of software to working with an employee to select the best product to support a virtual reality platform.
After the technology gets purchased, it must be set up and installed, which keeps Ogoe and his colleagues busy right through early August.
I recently shadowed Ogoe on the job, to gain a better understanding of what he and his colleagues do every day to keep this University going strong. Just think how many of our jobs depend on fast, reliable technology, and depends on the people who keep it that way.
I shadowed Ogoe just as the academic year was ending, when calls and emails to the help desk were at a peak. A faculty member couldn't access the projection system in his classroom. A staff member's PC crashed before an important presentation. Or, in the case of my own office, iPads intended for use at a Council of Trustees' meeting froze and needed to be fixed on the spot.
In all of these cases, time was of the essence. In at least some cases, nerves were frayed and tensions high. But Mike Ogoe brings to his job that unbeatable combination of technical know-how and an unflappable demeanor. He is the kind of person who never gets ruffled -- instead he works to calm those around him.
"Yeah, people can be frazzled or agitated when they contact me, but I try to get them to relax," says Ogoe. "I never promise anything that I don't know I can deliver, but I always promise to do my best to find the best solution."
On the day I shadowed Ogoe, we began by assisting Paige Carey, an administrative assistant in Student Affairs, with configuring her OneDrive file hosting service, syncing her work files between multiple devices. There was no need to go to her office in person; with her permission, we accessed her computer remotely and were able to quickly walk her through the process. Then, we configured several laptops that would be delivered to employees later that day. After a team meeting, led by Ogoe's supervisor, Mike Jordan, Ogoe and I rushed off to the library. One of the PCs at the busy check-out desk needed to be replaced.
We ended the day where mine had started, in my own office. My desktop Internet has been spotty – sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Turns out I had a damaged network port. Problem solved. Ogoe put a call into his colleagues in networking and soon I was back in business.
Employees like Mike Ogoe are the backbone of WCU's community of educators. Their efforts aren't always visible in the way that contributions by faculty members or Student Affairs staffers or groundskeepers are. That is, until something goes awry. A computer crashes. A login doesn't work. A printer decides to print everything double-sided. Sometimes technology is to blame; just as often, it's human error. Either way, Mike Ogoe has a ready smile and is ready to do his best to find the best possible solution.