Getting to Know You – Mike Roeser, IT Manager
Ever wonder what it would be like to ride 192 MPH on a 2005 Yamaha FZ1? Fortunately, Mike Roeser can tell us. The photo of his bike was taken during a trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. “I started in Cherokee NC and went into Virginia, then back. Couple of times I slept just off the road in a small tent.” Like the backroads of the South, Mike’s path holds many twists and turns. Initially, he wanted to be a forest ranger, but Mike’s path took him into the technology field.
What was your first job?
MR: At age 12, I was unloading trucks for a local grocery store chain. I was getting $1.10 an hour plus tips from the guys for unloading the trucks. From a job perspective, I have worn many hats. At 15, I worked in a service station, changing tires, doing oil changes, etc. At 16, I was a chicken cook for Krystal. At 17, I ran a 90-pound jackhammer for a crew that was adding on to Parkridge Hospital located on McCallie Ave. At 18, I framed houses with a different crew. At 19, I worked at the Wheland Foundry on South Broad Street. In my early 20’s, I worked at a crane manufacturing plant where Komatsu is now located. I even spent six months in South Carolina, planting pine trees and living in a tent. From there, I started taking robotics classes at Chattanooga State. I was recruited to work for UPS. I stayed at UPS for 14 years, doing everything from working on the docks, to delivering packages, to driving their 18-wheel tractor trailers. It was during that time I started gaining interest in computers and decided on the computing field.
When did you start working at CECS?
MR: In January 1998, I started working at UTC while working for a temp agency that was hired to evaluate campus-wide needs in preparation for the impending doom of Y2K. In April or May 1998, when CECS was still in Grote Hall, I started working part-time, helping support the computing labs after the person left the position I was to replace later in the year. During the 7-month span with the temp crew, I worked for Networks on various projects, starting with departmental equipment inventory to determine what was needed to get each department online. In addition, I took an evening shift position in the Computing Center monitoring the HP systems, doing print jobs that came down from UTK, etc. I was working for Networks, Engineering, and the Computer Center, putting in 16-hour days. They were fun times, and I gained valuable experience that covered a broad range of technology. I worked in CECS for 8 ½ years before accepting a Systems Administrator job in Enterprise Systems for Campus IT, but my old office kept calling me back, so here I am.
Tell us about what you do in your position and what you like most about it.
MR: I am the senior CECS IT Technician. I ensure everyone stays connected and happy. One of the many benefits of working for Engineering and Computer Science is the wide range of various technologies that I have learned over the years supporting both disciplines. Many times, when helping outside of the University, I realize how much I have learned. The main enjoyable aspect of my job is working on many forms of technology instead of just one area of one technology.
Where have you lived?
MR: I was born in California, moved to Minnesota, then to Chicago, and ended up in Chattanooga at young age. I grew up in Red Bank, and currently reside about a mile from where I grew up.
Tell us about your family.
MR: I have 5 children (4 girls and 1 boy), and 11 grandchildren. My grandchildren range from 4 to 23 years of age, which kind of makes a man feel old.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
MR: I like to step back from the tech world and work with my hands. I play at woodworking, and I am a good furniture refinisher.
What’s one thing about you that surprises people?
MR: I am not actually mad, I just always look that way!
Do you have any pets?
MR: I’ve rescued pets (mostly cats) off and on through the years. Currently, my buddy is a 6 old tuxedo house cat, and a very independent Maine Coon that stays outside. The only time he wants in is if the temperature is below 30 degrees.
What advice would you give to someone in their 20s?
MR: Enjoy life while you are young. Do at least a two-year stretch driving the back roads, camp under the stars, pick up odd jobs here and there, while getting to really know people. You only live once, and you are only young once.
Thank you, Mike, for your time spent with UTC and keeping us all connected.