Computer Support Specialist
What are the top job elements you focus on the most?
As a member of the Information Technology Department here at APTA, my primary responsibility is to support all staff members with any computer issues they encounter—anything from “My computer won’t turn on” to “Can you help me set up this webinar?”
I also act as a backup to our IT manager in dealing with the servers and switches and to the web manager in dealing with our website.
I provide support for the electronic version of Passenger Transport, posting classified ads and APTA member and staff videos—like the one I’ve done to accompany this profile—to the APTA website.
Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about the most recent times you’ve helped out a member.
I seldom have direct contact with APTA members—only when they’re here for meetings and needed help with hooking up to our projector or get connected to our Wi-Fi network.
We recently made improvements to the APTA website, but with those improvements came a few challenges. Some users had trouble logging into “myAPTA” because the old cookies were bad. I helped a couple of members on the phone showing them how to clear their cookies.
Also, I recently helped a member who had difficulty accessing APTA’s FTP server to upload files.
What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
Every year since I’ve been at APTA, I’ve put together a computer auction for the staff just before the Christmas holidays. It’s usually old computers, printers, and monitors that we have replaced. It’s a fun time for everyone who participates, since they can get a computer for around $10.
I called it “Haibay,” but I don’t get to keep the money!
How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?
I’ve been working at APTA for five years now. I was looking for a new challenge and saw an ad on Craigslist. I was told that I was like the 10th person they interviewed for this position.
Have you held other jobs in the public transportation industry (besides working at APTA)?
What professional affiliations do you have?
None. I have a Microsoft certification. I’m a MCITP, Microsoft Certified IT Professional.
Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
I’m a “slug.” I live about 25 miles south of Washington, DC, off Interstate 95. If you know the DC area, you know how bad the traffic can get during rush hours. The good thing about I-95 is that it has dedicated high-occupancy vehicle lanes for three or more people in a car.
Slugging is basically carpooling with total strangers who meet up at predetermined sites along I-95, usually at a park-and-ride lot or a large shopping area with plenty of parking spaces. I take the train for a few stops to the APTA offices, but this is how I get into the city.
In the morning, I’ll drive about two miles to the park-and-ride, park my car, and get into a line. There are several lines that refer to various points in and around DC. When a car pulls up and it’s your turn, you just get in and says “Good morning” or “Thanks.” Once three people are in the vehicle, it’s time to go. I do the same thing for the afternoon commute home.
This is a win-win situation for both the drivers and riders. The driver wants to drive and doesn’t want to get stuck in traffic for two hours, compared with only 30 minutes if they pick up slugs. Passengers can get a free ride into the city and don’t have to spend money on gas and parking.
Something else few people know, even my co-workers at APTA: I have two little daughters.
Make sure you see Hai Tran's video, now that you've read this!