If you've ever requested help setting up Skype, initiating a video conference in your office, or addressing any kind of technical or AV trouble in either the Lincoln Park or the Loop campus, then you probably know Gregg Barker. As an AV engineer/architect for Information Services, Barker has spent the last 19 years at DePaul solving technical problems and helping people connect with one another.
"I've always had a knack for gadgets and technical things," he says. "But that's just the means I use to help people. I'm mostly interested in connecting our campuses and strengthening our university community."
Sometimes, depending on the project, Barker travels from campus to campus, building, fixing, testing and wiring nearly every AV object imaginable, with the help of our electricians and many members of Facility Operations. Setting up a video call with your counterparts at a university in another country? He's on it. Want to incorporate a TV monitor into your conference room for presentations? Barker's your guy. He even trains members of the university on how to use the hardware and software he installs throughout our campuses.
In addition to AV consultation for faculty and staff, Barker works with technology that directly benefits students. One recent project he had his hands in - literally - is DePaul's social media command center, also known as the Innovation Lab. Used mainly by the College of Communication and located on the 11th floor of the Daley building, the Innovation Lab contains 12 large-screen monitors, software and other hardware that enables students to track trends on social media, a crucial skill used in nearly every industry today. Ultimately, the Innovation Lab gives DePaul students the hands-on analytics and information-gathering experience necessary to become the next generation of professional social media practitioners.
However, Barker's job hasn't always involved social media and online conferencing equipment.
"When I first started here in the late 1990s, a large part of my job was fixing VCRs and related equipment," he laughs. "Can you imagine that now? Of course, some faculty still use those tools, but so much has shifted. It's been amazing to see how things change over the years."
But no matter what extensive project or tricky piece of technology Barker is tasked with, he always brings it back to what's important.
"It's all for the DePaul community," he says. "Because of my line of work, I've had the honor of meeting so many of the great people that make up this institution. I couldn't ask for a better job."