It’s important to celebrate the hard work, dedication, and the successes of our division. But it’s equally important to celebrate the people in our team that make this success possible.
The SJSU IT Sparta Awards
The SJSU IT Sparta Awards are given to one team and one individual each year to recognize those staff members who serve our campus with distinction and work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep SJSU amazing. They bring out the best in each other through a collaborative spirit, a commitment to innovation, and everyday leadership. They provide consistent and exceptional service, whether working with students or building something with a campus department.
Every member of the IT Division has the opportunity to nominate employees through an open call. From there, I work with the IT Peer Consultation Group to choose the most outstanding project, program, team, or individual to win the award. The selection process is designed to raise our employees, increasing staff members’ visibility to work every day and get it done.
Last year’s Team Award was granted to the NextSteps App project Team, which includes Nolan Liu, Debashish Basak, Sean Davis, Steve Chang, An Nguyen, Lam Vu, Mona Hall, Elma Arredondo, Eric Matthews, Jane Wang, Kirk Nguyen, and Lor Vang.
The NextSteps App is an integral part of student orientation and the undergrad admissions process. It not only helps manage the orientation planning and registration process, it is also one of the first digital experiences that students encounter on campus. This team helped to define the App experience and make it a positive one!
The team is split into two groups. The Infrastructure Groups set up new virtual machines and OS software, networking, new databases, load balancer configurations, and all of the back-up work to make NextSteps run smoothly. The Application Group set up the software, including testing, Qualys web app security scans, system configurations (for IIS, PHP, FileMaker, file shares, etc.), upgrading to new software versions, and more.
Working with NextSteps represents a multi-department collaboration with many moving pieces operating under hard deadlines. Customer service, efficiency, and precision were all requirements for success.
Mario Rivas won the individual award last year because he consistently provides exceptional user support and customer service to an extensive range of users and technologies. He receives high praise and spectacular feedback from his customers and co-workers by going well beyond expectations and raises the bar for IT service levels. Mario has elevated the “can-do” attitude up to the “will-do” level.
He was a critical driving force behind numerous successful projects in 2019. He was instrumental in several different departments’ physical move, including Finance, HR, and our own SJSU IT folks from Clark 500 to Clark 140. For each of these moving projects, Mario exhibited careful advance planning, attention to detail, dedication to getting things done right, and quick responsiveness to issues. Because of his work, each of these moves were completed smoothly and efficiently, ensuring that customers experienced minimal disruption and downtime in the process.
Plaques for both winners are now on display on the Computer Center’s Hall of Fame Wall. Please come by after when things settle down and take a look.