Name: Jarod Leeson
Job title: Computer repair technician, Southwest Allen County Schools
Background: Has worked in the school district's IT department for 11 years; started working with computers in the sixth grade and got two associate degrees from Ivy Tech Northeast in computer science field
When Jarod Leeson gets to the office every morning, a stack of laptops wait to be diagnosed.
As the computer repair technician at Southwest Allen County Schools, he is responsible for more than 8,000 computers, laptops and iPads, if something goes wrong.
If the device is broken accidentally, it's shipped to the manufacturer. If the damage is intentional, Leeson and his assistant will fix it.
“Most of it,” Leeson said, “is accidental damage; all kinds of crazy things – run over by cars, lots of broken screens, they sit on them, drop them out of the bag or step on them.”
Leeson's day starts at 7 a.m. at the CMT building, an outpost behind Homestead High School where a staff of seven handles the school district's IT.
“Every building has its own computer specialist,” said Leeson, who took the job in 2007 when the district was installing desktop computers at elementary schools in pods or laboratories. “If they can't fix it, they send it to us.”
Now the district, with an enrollment of 7,400, has one device per student. The challenge is “just keeping everything straight, where it's coming from and where it goes,” Leeson said. Students in kindergarten through second grade use iPads, and the rest of the students and teachers are equipped with Lenovo or Hewlett-Packard laptops.
“We have over 8,000 devices being used by employees every day,” said Don Chase, director of technology. “They take a beating, and Jarod is the superman to repair them.”
Leeson has to keep up with repairs and follow up with vendors who may not stock parts for the devices that are kept for four years, Chase said.
“Jarod's got to beat the bushes, find other suppliers who will honor the warranty we have and provide those free of charge. It does become quite the job to make sure that happens,” Chase said.
Leeson, 39, has worked in computers since the sixth grade, when he took a job at a local computer store. He graduated from Garrett High School in 1996 and earned two associate degrees in PC support and administration and networking from Ivy Tech Northeast.
Leeson worked eight years as the sole IT employee at St. Vincent de Paul School in Fort Wayne before taking the job with SACS.
His wife, Nikki, is a third-grade teacher at St. Vincent, and they have three children: Jenna, 8, Mallory, 7 and Connor, 4.
Leeson loves to play golf and work on his 2014 Chevy Camaro, modifying it and making it faster, he said. He also loves spending time with his kids.
Superintendent Phil Downs called Leeson smart and efficient and said he knows his trade.
“Jarod is called to help when something is not working and his customer may be frazzled and frustrated,” he said. “When Jarod shows up, his calm demeanor and the smile on his face helps brighten the mood and ease the mind.”