An undergraduate swipes her Boston College ID to do her laundry. A graduate student swipes his card to get a snack out of one of the vending machines on campus. A professor buys lunch at Stuart Hall. A football fan purchases a hot dog at Alumni Stadium.
Every day, tens of thousands of transactions take place on BC’s campuses via cash registers or card readers. Most of the time, everything runs smoothly. If it doesn’t, Gesnele Porcena gets the call.
Porcena is a technology support specialist for Auxiliary Services, where he is charged with making certain all cash registers and card readers under Auxiliary Services’ purview are working.
He oversees cash registers at 11 on-campus dining locations, more than 130 points of sale at Alumni Stadium and Conte Forum, gates at BC’s parking garages, card readers at campus laundry facilities, as well as cash registers and/or readers at the Connors Center in Dover, two off-campus eateries, and University special events, such as the Arts Festival and Winter Wonderland.
“There are tech support specialists, and then there is Gesnele,” said Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services Patricia Bando. “He is our go-to guy. He is so dependable. He’s just stellar.”
A tech support specialist since 2001, Porcena’s connection to BC began in the temp pool where, as a recent Brookline High graduate and Radio Shack employee, he worked for six months as an accounting assistant for BC Dining Services.
When a position opened for a technology support specialist, it had immediate appeal to Porcena, who has an affinity for technology, as well as Apple products, comic books and video games.
At the start of his career, his primary responsibilities were making sure the cash registers in the dining halls and the computers in the offices were functioning. When the BC ID evolved into multipurpose Eagle One identification and debit account card, the scope of Porecena’s responsibilities expanded.
A disruption in network connectivity or servers going down are examples of the types of problems that Porcena can encounter.
The biggest change Porcena has seen in his job is the increased speed of everything. “Technology has made everything instant.”
One aspect of his job that appeals to Porcena is the variety. “It always changes up. I‘m not doing the same thing every day. It’s fast-paced. It keeps me on my toes because it’s not repetitive.”
Porcena said he enjoys working with the Volunteer and Service Learning Center when student groups organize point drives to raise funds for service trips or natural disaster relief.
He joked that he got “several” nudges from BC colleagues to further his education and obtain a bachelor’s degree. “My ‘work mom’ [Accounting Manager] Patty Bowes was always telling me to get my degree,” recalled Porcena. “She has always looked after me and pushed me to strive.”
He enrolled in the Woods College of Advancing Studies and earned a bachelor’s degree in information technology in 2012. Pursuing a degree while holding a full-time job is challenging enough, but Porcena’s variable work schedule made it extra challenging.
“When I finally got my degree, Patty bought my diploma frame,” added Porcena.
A new initiative Porcena heads up is the so-called “geek squad” — a group of undergraduate and graduate students who assist Porcena with technology tasks. Now it seems Porcena has come full circle, mentoring students who are about the age he was when he started at BC.
–Kathleen Sullivan | University Communications