IT technical associate Chad Hankins is the recipient of the Prairie Research Institute’s 2021 Outstanding New Support Staff Award.
Chad joined the PRI desktop support team in 2019. This small team of three assists PRI’s hundreds of staff in using a wide range of IT tools. The institute’s already considerable IT support needs grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic as most staff shifted to working from home and needed to adapt to new ways of collaborating, communicating, and working.
In nominating Chad, Water Survey scientist Brian Chaille praised him for “promptly, cheerfully, and capably” handling IT issues.
“There is never a ‘can't’ with Chad,” Brian wrote. “He always knows the way to get it done, and it just happens.”
Chad recently answered a few questions about his work.
What’s a typical workday like for you?
My typical day almost always involves coffee! :)
After my initial sips of coffee, today I am:
- setting up six computers (four new, two repurposed),
- assisting a co-worker with her technology needs as she prepares to retire,
- monitoring our ticket queue, ordering computers for both new hires that will be onboarding in the next 4-8 weeks and also for employees that are eligible for our computer replacement program,
- working with programmers in CDS who will integrate tools into existing systems that will allow us to more easily track assigned computers and determine who is eligible for PC replacements in future years,
- processing new hires and employee separations in IT systems,
- deploying software to an employee’s computer in Ohio, and
- entertaining/punishing my co-workers with terrible dad jokes.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I get a great deal of satisfaction from working with people and helping them to better use and understand technology.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your job at PRI so far?
My time at PRI (two years on April 15) could be described as “the perfect storm” in many ways. The shift to work from home for almost all of our employees across PRI has greatly increased the time it takes to support the Institute. We have also had staff depart for retirements or other career opportunities. There seems to be no shortage of work to be done.
How do you feel about winning the Outstanding New Support Staff Award?
This was an incredible surprise to hear that I was nominated and also that I was the recipient. I have worked with so many new staff members during my time at PRI; it is very humbling to have been selected when I see the incredible personalities and work being completed around the Institute. No one works specifically for the kudos, but it is heartwarming to know the work I do is appreciated.
I would like to thank my colleagues in the Computing and Data Services group. They have been an integral part of any service and support I am able to provide.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your work, your background, or your interests?
Outside of work, you will find me bowling, behind a camera, playing pool, snooker or billiards, or working on some type of technology project.
I moved to Champaign from Macomb, Illinois, where I had spent the majority of the previous 18 years as both a student (‘05 Computer Science and ‘17 MBA) and employee (2007-19) at Western Illinois University.
I’d like to thank everyone that has welcomed me to C-U and helped me make this my new home shortly before and during this very strange time in history.