December 2015 OCIO Employee Spotlight: Richard Atwood

This December, the spotlight shines on Java developer Richard Atwood. This former equestrian has spent over 10 years in the OCIO, making people’s jobs easier by designing intuitive applications. He loves helping users solve their problems at work, and the fixing continues at home where he can be found tinkering and renovating around the house. Learn more about Richard with this month’s employee spotlight.

Q: What is your role at the OCIO? Currently, I’m a Java developer working on the Buckeye Oasis web applications as a member of the Web & Mobile Team. I also support most of the reports that are associated with these applications.

Q: How long have you worked at the OCIO? I’ve been with the OCIO since the fall of 2001. Prior to coming to OCIO, I worked at the Office of Sponsored Programs for about a year.

Q: Have you worked on any large projects since you’ve been here? My first large project was a PeopleSoft HR upgrade. Then I worked on the PeopleSoft Financials implementation and eventually became the technical lead for billing and accounts receivable. However, for nearly the last five years, I have been involved with supporting and working on the Buckeye Oasis web applications due to a passion for development and Java.

Q: What are you currently working on? Currently, I’m working on the implementation of Elasticsearch for the eRequest and eTravel applications. Specifically, I’m developing programs to perform indexing and working on the search API.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you? A typical day would consist of dealing with any incidents or problems from the previous day, a daily standup meeting since we are an agile development team and then continuing with development unless some production issue comes up.

Q: What do you like best about your job? I like building applications that assist people with doing their jobs and being able to help the end users by troubleshooting technically challenging problems.

Q: Did you always know this is what you wanted to do as a career? No. However, after I took my first job as a programmer in 1989, I knew from that point on that I really enjoyed the technology as well as building applications that could be used by other people.

Q: What was your very first job? The first job I had where I actually had to show up at a certain time was during high school when I worked for a Texaco gas station. Mostly I changed tires, but this was also back when employees sometimes pumped the gas for people.

Q: Where did you go to college? I have a BSCS from Franklin University and a Masters from Kettering University. I’ve also taken several classes at OSU since I’ve worked here.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? I would like to go to Australia to tour the outback and get a glimpse of the wildlife.

Q: Do you have any family? Yes, I have a wife and we have two adult children that have families. We also have a dog, two cats and four horses that we take care of.

Q: Do you have any hobbies? I enjoy building things, fixing things, working out and listening to music. When I ‘m not spending time with family I’m usually tinkering with fixing something, building something or doing some sort of property renovation.

Q: What is something most people might be surprised to know about you? Several decades ago, I competed in a lot of equestrian-related events, which included rodeos. My stepfather competed in rodeos and I followed for a time period. I ended up mostly riding bulls throughout high school and for a few years afterward.

Q: Favorite place to eat in Columbus? Marcellas at Polaris because I like Italian food

Q: Best concert you’ve ever been to? Haven’t been to one in years, but I would say that it’s a tie between the Seger concerts and seeing the original Lynyrd Skynyrd band.

Q: Favorite quote? “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” - Henry Ford

Q: Do you have a favorite book or movie? I always enjoy “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” even though I’ve probably seen it a dozen times. It might seem boring, but I like reading books related to new frameworks.

Q: It’s 9 p.m. on a Saturday. What are you doing? If I’m not off visiting family, it would depend on the weather and time of year. In the summer, I would probably be just putting the tractor back in the barn. In the winter, I would most likely be just coming in from tinkering in the garage. Either way, I would be about to entertain the dog while my wife tries to decide if there is anything worth watching.

Q: Give three adjectives that best describe yourself. Respectful, curious, easy-going