Employee of the Month - February - 2022

Awarded Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022 via Zoom Virtual celebration. Joe was joined by President Jane Close Conoley, Vice President and Chief Information Officer Min Yao, Associate Vice President Janet Foster Information Technology Services (ITS), ITS Management and Operations Assistant Vice President Bryon Jackson, ITS Administrative Services Manager Cheryl Perkins, and numerous ITS and campus colleagues.

Joe Som - Unified Tech Support Lead, ITS Management and Operations

As a dedicated CSULB employee of sixteen years, Joe Som serves as the university’s Unified Tech Support Lead in the Information Technology Services (ITS) Management and Operations department.

Jolene Sagan, a Case Manager at Student Health Services, shared her appreciation for Joe’s contributions: “Joe Som goes above and beyond, especially recently, to make sure so many of us are functional and able to work in a variety of ways and settings…He has shown extraordinary patience in working with some of us who require a bit more patience, guidance and help. Joe makes himself available to help, even when frustrations around technology may be heightened. He has a way of problem-solving and making the challenges seem much less daunting. Recently, our office and team have been supporting a student who has challenges with technology. Although the student received a Chromebook from the DSA, she has largely been unable to use the device, citing concerns around hacking and access. This experience has greatly impacted her classes, as well as her emotional health and well-being. With Joe's help, an alternative option and support were provided to this student. Joe's commitment to his colleague's success, as well as student's success, is quite admirable, and I hope, will be recognized - perhaps even celebrated.”

Kenneth Kelly, the Director of Basic Needs, sang Joe’s praises and shared a similar story in which Joe exemplified his commitment to student success: “[Joe] epitomizes the values of CSULB. He is truly exceptional and caring…His calm demeanor and his level of care is extraordinary. He helps above and beyond the normal level of service. Let me give you an example. I had a student that needed a laptop. I requested one not knowing it takes three days to set them up. He turned the laptop around in 24 hours running it through the night to make sure it was there when the student drove to campus from Riverside. This is just one example of the tremendous effort that Joe provides to the Division of Student Affairs IT. He never complains and is extremely knowledgeable. He always takes extra time to make sure you feel comfortable with new equipment, apps and software.”

During the busy Commencement season of 2021, Joe’s contributions to the event were recognized by his manager, Bryon Jackson: “Joe and his team (Matt Alvarenga and Arik Espiritu) were responsible for configuring, setting up, and taking down technology used at each micro stage at the commencement ceremony. Joe quickly owned the assignment and ensured he and his team were well versed and prepared to support commencement. Joe and the team worked many hours preparing for and supporting commencement weekend festivities, including making day of changes requested by students. His can-do attitude and dedication helped ensure a successful commencement experience for thousands of students.”

Arik Espiritu, Joe’s colleague in the Institutional Research & Analytics (IRA) department, shared, “Joe Som has managed to facilitate technology requests and provide support across various divisions across campus, all while maintaining a diligent pace. He has proven to work well even under stressful circumstances and always has a friendly demeanor.”

Joe is happily married to his wife of ten years and enjoys traveling internationally with her. Before the pandemic, he and his wife usually took two international trips per year. He also enjoys staying active by running and playing basketball.