Blue Devil of the Week: All (Tech) Systems Go

Name: George Bowen

Position: OIT Systems Administrator / Senior IT Analyst

Years at Duke: Almost five years

What he does at Duke? George Bowen keeps Duke’s Microsoft Windows system connected in his position on the OIT Systems team at the Office of Information Technology. I work as a Systems Administrator which means I typically support the systems that other IT people use. So, for instance, you call your IT person regarding an issue with an application. They might call me to make sure the system which that application is running on is okay.”

How many positions has he had at Duke? Coming up through the ranks, Bowen has worn several hats during his time at Duke. He has held three different positions in five years, starting at The Link service desk in Perkins Library.

“I started in 2012 at the service desk. I was working the second shift – the three to midnight shift, so it was interesting.”

He then joined the Centralized Desktop and Services Support group (CDSS) where he supported staff computers. Recently, he moved from CDSS to his current position.

“I really like it,” he said. “It’s engaging and provides a lot of opportunity to be creative.”

What he loves about Duke: Bowen appreciates how Duke employees are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

“We have really important mission critical systems but we’re not expected to work 80-hour weeks,” he said. “We’re expected to take vacation and spend time with family. Also, to educate ourselves. I feel like maybe other companies don’t really do that as much. I think Duke invests pretty heavily in our well-being – in our growth.”

A memorable day at work? Bowen reflects on one of his favorite Duke-wide events called TechExpo held by OIT and Duke Health Technology Systems. TechExpo is a daylong event, where people can submit presentations for new technologies and services, and share them with the greater Duke IT community.

“This most recent one was fun, I actually presented on Chocolatey Package Management. It’s really nice to be able to have a gathering like this and meet people from other IT groups around campus all at one central area and show the things that you’re working on.”

What’s he working on now? “I’m working on this new technology to manage Windows servers, it’s called ‘Chocolatey Package Management.’ It’s got a funny name. It’s a tool for Windows computers that allows making setting up a new computer much, much faster.”

Strangest IT situation: “I was working with a student (at The Link), she was saying her disk drive wasn’t working on her computer. So we opened it up, and started shaking it out, and we found a quarter inside.”

Favorite food? Seafood. “I love calamari, some people think it’s gross… squid, octopus, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a seafood I wouldn’t eat.”

He recalls a trip to the Caribbean where he tasted a delicacy of the sea.

“I was in the Caribbean once hunting in the water for conch shells,” he explained. “I caught one and the tour guide actually broke it open, took the meat out and did ceviche with it and served it right there.”

Something people may not know? He was born in Liberia. “My mother is Liberian and my father is American,” he said. “I immigrated when I was three.”

Best advice received: “The most recent advice I’ve heard was from a speaker (Guillermo Diaz Jr., senior vice president and chief information officer of Cisco Systems) at TechExpo. He said, ‘To be successful, you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.’ ”

Nominate a colleague to be the next Blue Devil of the Week.

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