CGCC’s inspired IT department marks 17 years

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.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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