Management: Handled all facets of a $1.5M+ operating budget for an IT Department with 11 support employees serving approximately 250 users. Communication was a key issue and I was able to bring forward a mindset used to dealing with right and left ‘brain’ perspectives. This allowed me to mediate and troubleshoot issues between artists and programmers while maintaining corporate directions. Interfacing between multiple departments and vendors was a daily task that allowed me to maintain a consistency in planning and purchasing, regarding technologies, throughout the organization, allowing the company to save time and money through sharing assets and technology between departments.
I found the most successful support occured when users were treated as customers. The primary purpose of an IT/Support organization is to create and maintain an environment where employees can achieve their objectives with the tools provided them, and to achieve their objectives with the least interference from those tools. A level of courtesy and respect is required that I often see lacking in support departments. Although I understand the dynamics of this, it is unacceptable. I insist on promoting the fact that the company’s product or service is the ultimate goal and the support department’s role is to oil the gears and replace when necessary (with better, newer gears when available), always with a dynamic focus on the effects to ‘production’.
Project Management: Developed preliminary designs, planning, budgets and implementation for numerous short and long range IT and Production projects. Developed interactive kiosk for the search of recorded music based on artist name, album name, recording label, etc. This involved writing all code/software, assembling off-the-shelf hardware, to include multiple video sources and a touch-screen interface, and coordinating the Graphics/Artwork (with Matt McDonald). Developed interactive kiosk for the sale of tickets for sporting and entertainment events. This included incorporating 3D and actual video representations of the venue in question (original design was for San Diego Sports Arena) as well as a credit card payment system and a ticket printing system that helped prevent fraud.
Setup and managed Digital Video System(s) (Silicon Graphics servers and workstaions) used for game production as well as in-house and promotional videos. This included setting up linear/analog based editing systems and decks (Sony BetaCamSP) as well as broadcast capable cameras.
Designed and oversaw construction of Digital Video Studio with Cove, blue background, approximately 30,000 watts of lighting (and all controls, patch panel) as well as lighting grid, cameras, tripods and cabling for production use.
Planned purchases and support of print services/servers in a mixed environment requiring access from/to UNIX (native and Samba printing resources), PC and Macintosh workstations, for both plain printing and rasterized, high resolution printing for design and publishing work.
Planned and implemented upgrade of data center from Novell with 18 gigabytes storage to UNIX with over 750 gigabytes available (using SCSI Fiber, with RAID and virtual file systems).
Network:(Under construction) Designed and developed LAN’s and WAN’s for production use (creative arts, programming, administration) using proprietary and OTS (Off The Shelf) technologies, including backbones, routers and switches as well as cabling. Intimate with TCP/IP standards, including DNS/Bind; Routing, Bridging; POP; Sendmail; SMTP; DHCP; NFS; SAN/NAS; SMB (using Samba for PC to UNIX connectivity as an example); IPX/SPX. Familiar with connectivity issues in “mixed” environments where UNIX/Linux, MS Windows and Macintosh workstations and servers have to perform reliably. Performed installation and setup of copper and fiber cabling, routers and switches. Intimate with establishing terminal interfaces for the setup and configuration of network hardware. Experienced troubleshooting and testing network hardware using standard toolsets (ping, traceroute, netstat[Windows environments] as well as handheld network diagnostic hardware) Experienced with multiple firewall systems, system hardening, security practices and standards. Created a “Safe Hex” training program to educate employees regarding Spyware, Virus and Spam issues on the Internet. I regularly visit discussion forums dedicated to these issues to stay up to date on the latest (weekly) threats. Solely designed and implemented LAN/WAN and coordinated VPN installation between the 4 Midway facilities in San Diego, Chicago, Corsicana, TX, and Milipitas, CA) as well as a VPN connection to a small London office. Experienced with 802.11x Wireless networking and security (WEP and other ‘hardening’ practices).
Video: Though I started a Desktop Publishing business in 1990, I quickly gravitated to developing computer systems capable of handling NTSC Video. I designed and built prototypes for several touch-screen based kiosks that used various video sources (laser disc, VHS tape, PC based playback, etc.) that needed to be combined (synchronized) for one output. A video game company became aware of me through the local computer/video industry and hired me to start their Digital Video department. We immediately acquired workstations identical to those used in the production of “Jurassic Park” as well as an assortment of Digital Video Recorders and high end analog tape equipment (Sony BetacamSP). I setup and maintained these systems, as well as their connectivity/availability. This required being able to control and synchronize the digital and analog equipment for editing (using serial and/or ethernet controls systems) as well as controlling IRE levels to NTSC standards for broadcast/video output. Before 3D motion capture was practical, I used this system to help artists capture sports “plays” and activities to be disassembled for analysis and/or used to apply realistic motion to animated characters/objects within a game. At that time I also became involved in training artists in batch processing (conversion, palette manipulation, etc.). Moving to a bigger facility required me to design, from the ground up, a studio for 2D and 3D(motion) capture with all lighting, camera, and editing systems necessary for video acquisition, motion capture (infrared, originally 6 camera, later upgraded to 8 camera)and video pre and post production, working closely with our purchasing department, vendors and all project managers and departments with vested interest.
Some quotes from professional references:
“There are also several projects in development concurrently with their own set of deadlines creating additional challenges for both the IT and Studio schedules. Sam proactively handled each task before him with efficiency and a good-natured professionalism without exception. I consider Sam one of the very best I have ever worked with and consider it a pleasure to give him my highest recommendation.” -Karla Wurzel
“His professional and technical abilities are far greater than any previous manager I have had in the past ten years. Sam listens to both sides before taking action. I was greatly amazed at how technical he has remained after being a manager for so long, from networking to basic hardware and motion capture. Sam is a sure asset to any company and to anyone that knows him.” -Eric Miracle
“I reported directly to Mr. Devol. I came to appreciate his capable and efficient management style, and the performance of my job duties was greatly enhanced by Mr. Devol’s ability to communicate effectively and dependably between our department and upper management. I know that [previous employer] will be hard pressed to find someone that possesses both his well-developed leadership skills and his extensive degree of technical knowledge. I would consider myself a very fortunate individual if the opportunity to work with Mr. Devol presented itself again.” -Allan Alexander
“Sam is approachable, brilliant, and best of all, keeps me in the loop by translating what he’s doing technically into language I can understand. He gets right back to me when I have questions and performs fixes for me immediately. I’m so glad Sam’s on my team and I recommend him highly for tech/web/graphic design/IT/game work.” -Nancy Holder
“Sam Devol has been my go-to web design resource even since I found myself in over my head attempting to create a web page on my own. I contacted him in a panic over this time-sensitive project that occurred during the holiday season. He gave me options, answered my myriad questions, and then created the page I needed in no time at all. I was thrilled. I again hired Sam this year when I needed help with the design and set up of my photography business website. Sam again jumped right in, managed the set up in a timely fashion and kept me well-updated with his progress. He was very adept at taking my “artsy” concepts and making them work within my site’s structure. I couldn’t be happier with the final product. I’ve found Sam to be diligent, determined, and undaunted by challenges. Yet he is also warm, engaging and capable of translating “tech” language to those who are not as well versed in the dialect. He always completes his work in a timely fashion and his work is an incredibly good value. In short, I strongly recommend Sam Devol’s web design and tech support services. He is the best!” -Liana Clark
“I hired Sam 5 years ago to advise me on setting up a complete computer system for my illustration studio. At the time I did not even know how to turn on the computer. I have employed him from that time to teach me the skills I needed to incorporate the computer in my work. He was very clear and extremely patient, working at the speed I needed to increase my learning curve. I now use the computer for every aspect of my business including my illustrations. If the computer gets temperamental, Sam is a phone call away and either talks me through the problem or takes care of it himself. For a non-techie like me he is invaluable.” -Wendy Rasmussen