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Help Desk support specialist Chagnon competes for national honor

• For Christopher Chagnon, earning recent accolades for his work is exciting, but it doesn’t make him waver for an inch on his daily mission as a desktop support specialist at WPI. “It’s all about customer service,” he says.

April 9, 2015
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Chagnon recently returned from the HDI (Help Desk Institute) 2015 Conference in Las Vegas where he was the northeast region nominee for HDI’s Desktop Support Specialist of the Year award. As one of only five nominees in the country, Chagnon first had to take top honors in his local chapter and then his region (from Maine to D.C.) before being able to compete at the national level. In Las Vegas, Chagnon had a full schedule. Finalists had several interviews—from the light-hearted to more intense—as well as a full roster of sessions to attend, and panelists and keynote speakers to listen to and learn from.

“He brings a tremendous amount of energy to everything he does. This was an easy nomination to write for him.” – Marie DiRuzza, on nominating Christopher Chagnon for the HDI award

Marie DiRuzza, associate director of IT service and support, and Scott Streeter, desktop support supervisor, worked together to nominate Chagnon after seeing how his work ethic, his commitment to customer service, his interdisciplinary approach, and his whole-hearted immersion in the WPI community makes him an exceptional addition to the team. “Chris is so outstanding as an individual,” says DiRuzza. “He’s extremely personable and outgoing. He’s always looking for ways to improve things, especially from a process standpoint.”

According to an HDI press release, HDI is “the first membership association and certification body created for the technical support industry.” There were 350 entries for the five awards categories—top team, manager, analyst, desktop support technician, and local HDI chapter.

Chagnon appreciates the nomination and says he’s grateful to have his work recognized and to have had the opportunity to represent the region at the conference. “I like to help things get done better or in a different way,” says Chagnon. “If I can help someone learn a new way to use Excel and that saves them five minutes a day, look how much that saves them over a year.”

Although Chagnon has been in the IT field since 2007, he has been at WPI for just two years. His time is divided between working at the help desk and at desktop support. The positions offer him a broad scope to help the WPI community. At the help desk, Chagnon looks at the short- and long-term projects for the department and assesses how they can help the university as a whole. Desktop support hours are spent on the immediate IT needs like virus scanning and deploying mobile devices.

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

“A big part of IT is knowledge management,” says Chagnon, who is in the midst of earning his master’s degree at WPI. “It’s what we know about and share with users to help them, but it also about sharing with the team.” DiRuzza says Chagnon’s willingness to share information and to always look ahead to make a process better is a huge benefit to WPI’s IT mission.

And with such a large community and so many people using the system in so many ways, IT is always hopping. “For me, every day is different,” says Chagnon. “Without anything going wrong, it would be boring!” DiRuzza sees that. “He’s always working through the customer’s experience and thinking of how to improve it,” she says. “He brings a tremendous amount of energy to everything he does. This was an easy nomination to write for him.”

And for Chagnon, the award is just another reminder of how he has found a niche at WPI. “I work with students, faculty, and staff,” he says. “It’s a great mix of people here.” Chagnon also decided getting involved in the community was essential. “I don’t feel like I could breeze through without any involvement, without knowing what’s going on, and without any stake in the community,” he says. Chagnon spends time on the HR Advisory Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee, and he is a member of Safe Zone. “It builds a great sense of community,” he says.

NEW PERSPECTIVE

And even Chagnon’s time as a grad student gives him a new perspective to bring back to the IT department. “He’s so helpful to our process when he comes back and shares with us what he’s learned from the student standpoint,” says DiRuzza.

Chagnon is thrilled to have found a good fit at WPI. “Once you see what WPI has, you realize what you were missing,” he says. “There’s a huge history behind everything going on here, and this crazy culture that’s steeped in tradition and always with one foot forward. The things we are doing here are important.”

– BY JULIA QUINN-SZCESUIL

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