INA, Ill. - In the ever-changing world of Information Technology, one thing is certain: knowing the fundamentals is a must. Rend Lake College graduate Adam Powell testifies that, through his early education in community college, all other aspects of his career have come by building on the basics he learned more than a decade ago.
Powell, originally from Thompsonville, graduated from RLC in December of 2003 with an associate degree in computer networking. Afterward, he attended Mid-Continent University for a bachelor’s degree and is currently working on completing a Master of Business in Business Administration at McKendree University.
He said he initially chose RLC because of the IT program and the platforms the classes used – a decision that has helped advance his career to the IT Specialist at the Marion VA Medical Center.
“When I started school, Rend Lake had one of the best Cisco and Networking programs in the area,” said Powell. “The programs were multifaceted where they covered many areas of IT, such as Novell, Windows, Linux, computer maintenance, electronics, and, the most important to me at the time, Cisco Routing and Switching.”
Once he got into the classroom, Powell added it was his instructors and small classes that kept him coming back.
“I liked the smaller classes and the personal relationships that are developed with the instructors,” he said. “I still keep in contact with many of my instructors from RLC today – 14 years later. I also had a few RLC students who are in the IT program come and job shadow or intern with us.”
Some of those instructors include Computer Networking Professors Martha McCreery and Ricky Robinson, Computer Networking and WirelessProfessor Chris Sink, and Psychology Associate Professor Jeannie Mitchell.
“I would say that Martha McCreery and Ricky Robinson stand out the most as for their excellent experience and teaching of Cisco Routing and Switching. Those classes have prepared me the most for the technology side of my career. Chris Sink has also helped me for the maintenance side,” he said. “I also took psychology classes with Jeannie Mitchell. One would think that a psychology class wouldn’t prepare you for the workforce in IT; however, there are many different personalities out there, and her classes allowed me to develop and establish skills to work with those people I have encountered.”
After graduating, Powell started working as a Dell Contractor replacing computers. He was hired on through the Marion VA Medical Center’s internship program in January of 2009, and has worked his way up to IT Specialist. In his current position, Powell’s daily activities vary so much that he never lives the same day twice.
“From day to day, I perform Tier II support to end users and other colleagues along with project management, equipment orders, advanced software support, and with liaison between our department and others at the facility,” he said. “I also maintain our system security and contingency policies, and work closely with the facility and regional emergency preparedness and disaster response teams. For the most part, I never really know what a day may bring, and no two days are ever the same, so the spontaneity of events keeps me alert and on my toes.”
Outside of the workplace, Powell spends his time traveling and doing photography. He also volunteers at his church with sound, lighting, and online service broadcasting. In the future, Powell said he has no immediate plans to leave the job he loves.
“I truly love my job and what I do. I can only go where God leads me and follow His direction for my life,” he said. “As for now, this is where I am supposed to be, so I will carry on 100 percent until I feel called to move on. As for retirement, put me on a beach with warm weather and ocean spray and I’ll be good to go.”
For more information about Rend Lake College, visit www.rlc.edu.