By: Gale Biddle
Chances are you’ve already met Ryan Johnson in at least some capacity. I’m sure we’ve all taken a training course on how to use Kaltura, to navigate the maze of Office 365, or, quite frankly, to make heads or tails out of a new tech change here at the Libraries. Most likely, Ryan has been your instructor in those sessions. As the IT Training Coordinator for the Libraries, it’s his job to provide documentation and training for the entire University Libraries’ staff. With the rapid changes in technology every day, that’s a lot to keep up with, but Ryan manages to do so with a calmness that makes even the most technophobic person feel relaxed.
Ryan was born in the small town of Amsterdam, NY, but spent most of his childhood growing up in Saratoga Springs, NY, a town very similar to that of State College. His first job was as a
dishwasher at the Saratoga Springs racetrack. As a student at SUNY Albany, he studied meteorology and had ambitions of becoming an on-air meteorologist. Upon graduation, he worked at AccuWeather in their IT systems. This was where his career veered from meteorology into ITech. And he never looked back!
It was 11 years ago that Ryan came to Penn State. He began as an IT training specialist and eventually became the IT Training Coordinator. This requires him to be up to date on new technology and its applications. Every time there’s a change on the horizon, he researches it so that he can effectively communicate to us what those changes will be and how it will affect what we do. But that’s what Ryan loves about his job. He loves the changes in technology and the new students, staff, and faculty that arrive each year. He’s always learning and teaching new
things in an atmosphere that’s relaxed. “Penn State’s always trying to evolve,” he says.
Two weeks from now, you’ll find Ryan basking in the Caribbean sun on the beaches of Aruba. Traveling is one of the things he loves to do with his wife of nearly 20 years, Angelita, whom he
met while working at AccuWeather and followed to Penn State, and his two sons, Cody and Jordan. They have 2 dogs, Max and Molly. If you’re a fan of hard rock bands like Metallica, Breaking Benjamin, or Alice in Chains, you might spot Ryan at one of their concerts. He’s a big sports fan (the Oakland — soon-to-be Las Vegas– Raiders and the New York Yankees are two of his favorite teams) and a movie buff. In fact, he even has a small movie room in his basement.
So, if you’re ever sitting at your desk in a cold sweat, fearing some new bit of technology heading your way, there’s no need to panic. Ryan is always patient and willing to help you
learn. But, if you want to know why it’s raining outside when it was supposed to be sunny, don’t blame the (one time hopeful) weatherman!
Ten Random Questions with Ryan Johnson
1. Favorite Movie? 12 Angry Men
2. Least Favorite Word or Phrase? I can’t do that (Ryan believes there’s always a way)
3. Place you’d like to visit that you’ve never been to? Europe, especially Spain
4. First thing you would do if you won the lottery? Build a huge movie room and a bowling alley in his basement
5. Talent you wish you had? To fix a car or things around the house
6. If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be? A musician and go onstage to perform
7. Top 3 people, past or present, you would like to have dinner with? Abe Lincoln, Jimi Hendrix, and Theodore Roosevelt
8. Cereal- Crunchy or Soggy? Soggy (Thank you Ryan, for being the rare person like myself who prefers soggy cereal!)
9. Favorite food? Meatloaf
10. Song that best describes you? “Hail to the King” by Avenged Sevenfold