Mason Earns KU Employee of the Month


(02-26-2010)


By Michelle Ward



On February 23, Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Danny Anderson presented ITTC Network Specialist Wesley Mason with the KU Employee of the Month Award at Nichols Hall. Mason joined ITTC in 2005.

ITTC investigators say Mason is the go-to guy when they are in need of innovative solutions to computer or networking problems. Researchers are always impressed at how fast Mason solves their problems, according to Michael Hulet, ITTC senior network system administrator. Hulet adds that Mason has saved ITTC tens of thousands of dollars by implementing free open source software over commercial products. Masons latest project was Zimbra, an open source server software that incorporates e-mail, calendar information, file storage, web management and other applications. Hulet says a comparable commercial product would have been cost prohibitive for ITTC.

"Maintaining such cutting-edge knowledge demands many extra hours of study," says Hulet. "He mainly does this activity on his own time since he is usually helping ITTC users much of the day."

A MacGyver of sorts, Mason once rigged a temporary core network switch, which connects all ITTC computers, out of spare parts. This allowed ITTC researchers and staff continued access to network resources. Mason diagnosed the problem with the main core network switch, ordered the replacement parts and fixed the switch with minimal downtime to the Center.

Mason has even been involved in some after-hours heroics. The aptly named cold room, which houses millions of dollars of equipment, must remain at 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the computers to function optimally. A leak in the air conditioning unit was causing liquid to drip on a compressor, creating smoke and shutting down the air conditioner. This triggered several alarms. Mason rushed over to Nichols Hall, quickly found the cause of the smoke and took decisive action to save the equipment. He also stayed to assist the fire department and make sure there were no more issues.

KU departments and organizations call on Mason for his technical expertise in networking and computers. He is always willing to share his technical expertise with others, says Hulet. Mason recently served on a project to centralize several computing clusters around campus. His expertise has been instrumental in the planning and implementation of this software.

For more information, contact ITTC.


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