This past school year was the first time the human resources department at Pacific Union College recognized a staff member of the year. They planned to start this award in 2020 but got off track when COVID hit. In May, Chris Vance, information technology support services operations manager, was named Staff Member of the Year. He was honored during an award ceremony for his tremendous work overseeing and handling the campus’ information technology systems. One of Vance’s strengths is his amazing communication skills– all while juggling responsibilities with different departments and offices. There is no doubt this award is well-deserved.
What brought you to PUC? Why did you decide to work here?
I crept in the door as a temp when the old analog phone system took a detour to doom. Before that, I performed audio design. However, most of the local sound jobs churned out promotional material. I became miffed that all the work I performed was for content designed to interrupt the shows people wished to view. Computer technology has always tugged my interest; the temp position morphed into a full-time client support job. I decided to convert audio work into a hobby and make a career in IT at that point.
Describe your typical work day.
I brew up a loose schedule in my head when I amble toward work each day. That plan rarely survives the first half hour. Variety exudes from this type of IT work. A certain allure exists to avoiding daily routine. I am always delving into new projects and support requests requiring that I accomplish something altogether new. The helpdesk requests tend to form avalanches, too. This leads to a jolly match of ping pong where I am the ball. Fortunately, I am dense enough to shrug off the back-and-forth.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Evicting gremlins and smiting bugs brings catharsis. That said, I most enjoy concocting workarounds to bizarre problems with the team down here in IT.
You were named this year’s staff member of the year. What does this recognition mean to you?
It means I roused from my root cellar often enough to be noticed by the denizens of the overworld. Sassy quips aside, it feels great to have my efforts seen and recognized. I am far from alone in those accomplishments, as we have all had a taxing year.
What is your favorite thing about PUC?
The faculty, staff, students, and community are bodacious. IT work engenders and intertwines with stressful situations. This leads to wailing, gnashing of teeth, and rending of hair in many businesses. However, in all my years working here, no one has barged down the stairs to my office, spoiling for a fight.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy reading, writing, music, video games, baking, and canning.
What is something you do or want to do that might surprise people?
I am in a band where I play saxophone and cello.
Where is your favorite place to eat in the Napa Valley?
The Azteca Market holds the position of prominence, as it is the traditional film major hangout. I spent many a pre-production meeting on the metal patio furniture adorning that place.