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Behind the Screens: The People of OIT

Meet Mike Williams

 'Behind the Screens: The People of OIT’ is a Connections series that features the people working hard behind the scenes to make OIT run.

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Mike Williams

Position: CDSS Analyst IT

Time spent with OIT: One year

If you make your way to the ground floor of the Power House and into the office of Mike Williams, you will likely be met with two things. The first: an array of computer parts—a testament of the multiple projects Mike balances. The second: Mike himself, offering a big, warm greeting and a cheerful smile that could make anyone feel instantly welcome.

What he does for OIT:
In his role, Mike is responsible for managing day-to-day repairs, ordering equipment, assisting with device engineering, and working with backend servers.

“You name it, I do it,” he said with a laugh. 

Although Mike had originally pursued a degree in programming, he felt the pull to switch to the hardware side of things.

“I like problem solving, because it’s like being a mini-detective,” Mike said.

What he enjoys about working in OIT:
Mike’s favorite aspects of working in OIT are not necessarily working with hardware and solving complex, technical problems.

“As much as I love that, it’s the people interactions,” he said. “Every day, you meet someone different. You see people of all walks of life, and you learn something from each experience.”

The impact he hopes to have at Duke:
Part of Mike’s job is to configure desktops and/or laptops for new employees and teach them how to use their equipment, but he may carry the box out to their car for them as well.

That kind of personal touch, as well as consistency, are the keys to success for Mike and how he makes an impact every day.

“I make sure that everyone is up and running, because the biggest thing, at the end of the day, is the people we support,” he said. “If one of our users go down, it’s going to have some effect on the institution. But I know that if I don’t hear from them, I’ve done a good job.”

Advice for those new to OIT:
Mike is fairly new to OIT having recently celebrated his one-year anniversary. In his first year, he’s learned the power of perspective and the importance of being open to change.

“It’s important to keep an open mind,” he said. “A lot of people come to OIT with preconceptions, myself included, but luckily I’m the type that I like to keep myself open to new ideas and be humble.”

What he’s doing when he’s not at work:
When Mike’s not at work, there’s a good chance you will find him engaged in an epic battle or competition of sorts. He is a huge gamer with a passion for video games and tabletop games alike, due to the camaraderie and competition. His favorites include Final Fantasy and Warhammer 40K.

The games bring back memories of playing with his uncle, who led him down the path toward technology.

“He was a network engineer, and I’d be over at his house playing video games with him, and he’d show me stuff because he worked from home,” Mike said.

One of his secret talents:
When he was pursuing his associate’s degree in game design, Mike programmed his own video game with a few other students as part of their capstone project. They received such positive feedback from companies like Ubisoft and Red Stone that they published it on Steam for free. Although the group recently took it offline, Mike would love to design another game one day.

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Know someone in OIT with a story worth sharing? Nominate them (or yourself!) by emailing kaylee.wilkinson@duke.edu.