Meet a Staff Member: Cal Bricker

posted on July 11, 2016 9:12am

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Since 2003, IT Professional Cal Bricker has provided the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University technology support to faculty, staff and graduate students.

Bricker started his career at MSU as a research technician for soil fertility. His career as a researcher lasted for nearly 30 years before Bricker’s interest for computers turned into a career.

As a research technician, Bricker was introduced to the early age of computers.  With little previous experience, Bricker soon purchased his own computer and taught himself.

“I was the one in need of support at that time,” Bricker said.

In 2003, Bricker pitched an information technology position to the PSM department.

As the PSM department expanded after merging with Plant Pathology, Bricker took on more duties within the department.

His work consists of assisting faculty, secretaries and bookkeeping staff, research staff in PSM and the agronomy farm, and graduate students. Bricker helps installing software, combating technological issues that arise, educating about safe computer practices and creating clear ways for faculty and students to get the job done.

“There is no normal day in a job like this,” Bricker said.

Even with graduate students’ privately owned computers, Bricker has made it a priority to assist them. When he was first hired onto the job, Bricker ensured with the department chair that a main responsibility of his new job would be to support graduate students.

“Grad students need all the help they can get,” Bricker said. “If their machines are compromised that puts everybody at risk.”

Bricker credits his long career at PSM to his modest beginnings in IT.

“If you forget that you had to learn at one time, then you are no longer a good support person,” Bricker said. “I will never forget how hard it was for me to learn what I needed to learn.”

As an IT professional, Bricker’s job relies heavily on being trustworthy. His long career in PSM has created constant relationships with faculty and staff.

“The fact that I have been around longer than almost everybody, and I know everybody, makes it much easier to do this job,” Bricker said.

Bricker’s strong relationships extend even as faculty and staff retire. The IT professional helps retired faculty and staff with their personal computers. Bricker said the people he has worked with over his career know that he is always willing to help.

His large network of colleagues turned friends has made Bricker appreciative of his 45 years within the department.

“This place has been good to me,” Bricker said.