NCDC Insider: Meet Hardware Technician, Kelvin Rouse
With over 250 employees at NCDC’s Asheville, North Carolina, location each needing a functioning computer and support for its maintenance, it’s imperative that the Center have a dedicated team to assist in meeting those needs. One part of that team is Computer Information Technology Hardware Technician, Kelvin Rouse, with ERT/STG Inc. Kelvin’s main responsibilities include computer repair, server repair, and a variety of maintenance duties along with installing software, running network lines, and helping set up video conferences. Once, Kelvin even crawled nearly 20 feet under the floor to run a network cable because there was no other way to access. And, Kelvin’s crawled around in the ceiling to run lines too.
Ever since he was little Kelvin has, as he puts it, “had a problem with taking things apart.” To keep him out of trouble, Kelvin’s step-dad would often give him broken electronics to take apart. Kelvin had a natural affinity for both taking things apart and putting them back together. He even surprised his step-dad a few times by giving the broken gadgets back to him as good as new.
Even though he has a natural talent for taking them apart and fixing them, Kelvin hasn’t always worked with computers. He began his career working as a factory worker at a local plant. After a few years, the plant closed forcing Kelvin to look for a new job. He was able to find one at another plant, but unfortunately, that plant closed as well. Kelvin realized, as the job market landscape began to evolve away from plant and factory positions, he needed to make a change.
Kelvin had saved up some money and decided to use it to go back to school and change his career path. “I wanted to invest in myself,” said Kelvin. And, he did just that, obtaining his Associate’s degree from Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College in computer information technology. After completion of his degree, Kelvin also went on to obtain several certificates in small hardware and desktop repair as well as computer networking.
With only a few semesters left before completing his degree, Kelvin had the opportunity to tour NCDC and a few other data centers in one of his courses. He really enjoyed getting a firsthand look at NCDC and knew he would like working at the Center. As he entered his last semester, a position with NCDC’s Computer Operations team opened up, and Kelvin jumped at the chance to apply for it. And, over the past seven years, Kelvin has worked his way up from third-shift computer operator to his current nine-to-five position as a hardware technician.
On any given day, you can find Kelvin working on any number of projects, diagnosing computers that are “under the weather” and fixing them. Currently, Kelvin is working with NCDC’s IT team on two major projects: virtualizing several of the Center’s computer servers to reduce our carbon footprint and completing a “PC refresh” to provide more employees with laptops and the ability to telework.
Outside of his career, Kelvin is the father of a 13-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter. While he spends most of his time watching over them, Kelvin is also an avid drawer and enjoys creative projects. Kelvin has built everything from cardboard dollhouses to a portable gaming station using a suitcase. He also enjoys creating 3D environments, like space stations, ships, and buildings, with digital landscape software. “I really like creating things,” said Kelvin, “and, I always strive to do my best at everything I do, so my kids will know that if I can do something well, they can too.” Kelvin also enjoys giving back to his community by bringing old or broken computers back to life and donating them to children in need.
Stay tuned for the next edition of NCDC Insider to meet more of the Center’s dedicated staff.