Employee Spotlight

January 2011

Scott Paul, Senior Help Desk Support Specialist

Chances are, if you’re talking to Scott Paul, you’ve got a problem — a tech problem, that is. Scott, senior help desk support specialist, spends much of his day getting the rest of us, and our students, back to work when our computers and peripherals fail us. (Or when we fail them!)

In 1995, Scott accepted a position with Command Service (now VITEC), as a hardware-repair technician based in Hamilton’s ITS department. A few years later, Scott was hired by Hamilton to fill one of the newly created help desk positions, thus making the transition from hardware to software. He was happy for the change. “In general, there are more dynamic issues to work with in software,” Scott explains. “There’s more complexity in software.”

Working out of a cubicle in the ITS help desk office in Burke Library, Scott divides his time between actively covering the help desk (both in person and on the phone), researching technology or issues that have come up, and overseeing the help desk Tier 1 student supervisor and 12 student workers. (Tier 1 student employees take many help desk calls, bumping tough calls up to the professional staff, when necessary.)

Scott equates the help desk to a hospital ER. “There really isn’t such a thing as a typical day,” he says. “Sometimes you’re barraged with calls like ‘Is the server down?’ But generally each caller has a unique issue that he or she is dealing with. That’s a good challenge for me.”

The start of the academic year provides Scott with his most memorable times. “Think about it,” he says with a smile. “There are 460 new students, with their computers and smart phones, all trying to connect to Hamilton’s Wi-Fi. Then there are the returning students, often with new hardware or settings. And Hamilton may have made changes over the summer.” Scott’s voice trails off, leaving us to picture just how memorable some of those days must be!

Nevertheless, working on a college campus, and interacting with students, is a big plus for Scott. He likes the educational IT environment. “There’s a different feel and vibe, compared with corporate,” Scott says. “You can take an idea and put it through its paces.” And Scott really lights up when talking about his role as supervisor of the Tier 1 staff. “I’m not a ‘teacher,’ but I have the ability to offer life skills to the students I employ. Hopefully, they’re better off for it.”

Originally from western New York, Scott now lives in Schuyler. He is married and the father of a 3-year-old son, with a daughter due in June. Scott and his wife are active in their church, leading marriage counseling sessions and book study groups. When asked where he’d be if he weren’t at Hamilton, Scott replies, “I’d be in one of three places: at home with family, out with friends, or on a beach with my family.”

Scott raises tropical and salt-water fish in a 250-gallon aquarium at home. “I’ve had fish since I was 6-years-old,” he says. For the last 15 years Scott has owned this large tank, which currently has about 25 creatures, including tang, angelfish, damselfish and crabs. When asked to share advice about raising fish, Scott warns against overfeeding. “A fish’s stomach is as big as its eye,” he explains. “It doesn’t take much to feed a fish. Uneaten food causes water problems, which is the main battle.”

I encourage you to connect with Scott even if you aren’t having tech trouble. He’s lots of fun to chat with, and in the course of the conversation he may offer some tips to make your work life more productive. It’s natural for Scott to do so: as he said in summing up, “I love helping people.”