For someone who says he just “fell into IT,” Joel Sanchez is pretty good at it.

It may be surprising to discover that it was not something he was interested in—that would be cooking or working on cars—but after repairing a computer one day, he was intrigued by how simple it was and decided to learn more about working in technology. That all led to where he is today at Mercy Home.

As the Manager of IT – Systems Administrator, Joel helps manage Mercy Home’s servers, take care of IT service tickets that coworkers put in, and working on various projects with other departments, just to name a few of responsibilities.

A lifelong Chicago resident, Joel attended DeVry University, where he got his degree in systems administration. When asked to explain it for all those not-so-IT-savvy folks, he said that it includes provisioning, configuring, trouble-shooting, updating network resources, and dealing with hardware.

Joel Sanchez

After graduating from DeVry, Joel worked for their corporate office as a network operations center technician.

“I worked in an environment that resembled something from a movie, like the FBI would, [with] these massive walls of TVs, and [I was] in a closed room, that was literally my job,” he said. “I was in an enclosed room surrounded by monitors 24/7.”

And though he did enjoy the “clandestine feeling” this job gave him, he said it also made him very introverted because he was closed up in a room most of the day—something he is still trying to overcome.

Joel heard about Mercy Home through a staffing agency and decided to apply. The date of his first interview is locked into his brain—May 13, 2017—and after meeting with Brian Kovick, the Director of IT, he was sold on Mercy Home.

“I had a really good interview [and] got a really good vibe about the place,” he said. “I liked the culture, as far as the cause and why Mercy was here.”

When he started at Mercy Home, there was something that surprised him, and that was how friendly all of his fellow coworkers were.

“It was a shock, I will be really honest,” he said. “I came from an environment where that’s not what we’re used to, but I was put at ease and from that point forward, I didn’t look back. I’ve been challenged every day. Every day is different, and I think that’s what makes it so much more enjoyable for me. There’s always a new challenge for me.”

“I’ve been challenged every day. Every day is different, and I think that’s what makes it so much more enjoyable for me. There’s always a new challenge for me.”

During his two years at Mercy Home, Joel has worked on countless projects. His first order of business after being hired was to work on our internal communications systems, such as using systems like Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. He’s also been hard at work on updating the phones used in each of our youth program homes.

“We’re trying to ensure that there’s reliability,” he explained. “We’re just trying to build a reliable environment where people know that, hey, I’m going to log in at work and it’s going to work for me.”

Joel also worked on the transition of using SWC’s help desk to Zendesk, our current IT portal. Since deploying Zendesk, Joel said he has added 141 different articles to help coworkers with all technology-related aspects of their jobs, including how to use the different Microsoft Office Suite programs, setting up multifactor access, and how to use VPN access.

Perhaps because he’s always so busy, Joel said that the past two years “passed in the blink of an eye.”

“Every day is a new adventure,” he said. “And I’ve got a great team that I work with. I mean, they’re family, they’re not even coworkers or friends, they’re family. We make the best of all our areas of opportunity. We make the best of them and we build on that and we try to collaborate as much as possible to get the job done.”

“Every day is a new adventure.  And I’ve got a great team that I work with. I mean, they’re family, they’re not even coworkers or friends, they’re family.”

And when he looks to the future, he feels confident about the direction Mercy Home’s IT department is heading.

“[We have] great people here,” he said. “We all literally feed off each other and that’s why things are going to get even better still.”

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