A Shout Out to My Army of Technological Angels

There are times when I think about how grateful I am for my Army of Technological Angels.  These are the wonderful people who have always been there for me when I needed technological assistance regarding one of my professional endeavors.  Everyone working in marketing should cultivate relationships with others who have lots of technological expertise.  I know that I wouldn’t be able work in such a technological capacity without the help of my army.

I want to publicly thank those individuals who have had the most impact on me.

First, I wish to thank my brother, Dr. James A. Bilitski, Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown for all he has done throughout the years.  My brother has been with me from day one of my technological journey, which started when my mother enrolled her three kids into a Saturday morning computer class to learn how to write code using BASIC.   Although my brother and I have taken separate career paths in our lives, occasionally they merge.  To this day, it is not uncommon for us to have at least one technology-oriented meeting at family gatherings where my brother gives demonstrations, teaches me some new code, showcases a cool tool, or discusses how marketers and computer scientists can effectively work together.   Often we are up into the wee hours of the night talking about technology, our classes, business ideas, and other research questions.   Without my brother, I would not be where I am today as he is my biggest technological angel.  Although he is very busy with his work, music, consulting, and family, he always finds time to answer my questions.  Thank you Jimmy!  And I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my sister, Deborah Bilitski, for her support as well.

My grandfather on my mother’s side taught me how to use Lotus 1-2-3.  Actually, he made me sit down beside him as I watched him create spreadsheet after spreadsheet.   I can’t remember how old I was (young teens I think) when I was forced to learn this software for no apparent reason.  There were about 1,000 other things I rather would have been doing than learning spreadsheets, but it ended up being good for me later down the road.  My grandfather was ahead of his times in terms of technology.  Unfortunately his life ended before he ever had a chance to see what is available today.  If there is such a thing as a computer lab in heaven, I’m sure that is where he spends most of his time.

Next comes Cindy Baumert, a beautiful woman and wonderful mentor who hired me to work at IBM as a sales representative.  I’ve lost touch with Cindy but  hope to cross paths with her again to thank her for giving me a chance at IBM.  I’ll never forget the day when I turned on an IBM PS2 computer for the very first time and saw a gorgeous color screen with “windows” and various Microsoft products.  To me, it truly was beautiful…like looking at a piece of rare art.  Through Cindy and my sales job, I learned so much about sales, sales management, hardware, software, and electronic mail (since this was before the days when it was called email).

Update:  Cindy found this post in December of 2013 and we connected in Facebook!

During my early academic career at Old Dominion University (ODU), Satish Boregowda, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering, is credited for showing me how to use the www.  Had it not been for Satish, I probably would have stayed on the path of becoming a sales educator since my work experience and doctoral coursework/dissertation were in the area of sales. So in looking back, Satish was the one who initially opened my eyes to the amazing potential of world wide web.  It was a career path changer.

John Barker, the Technology King for the ODU College of Business, good friend, and owner of Silver Blue Photography, was instrumental in answering many questions about hardware and software.   During the mid-90s when the www was starting to explode, John helped me navigate my way into the world of internet marketing by assisting with a variety of technological issues.  John was an outstanding trouble-shooter, problem-solver, and supporter of my desire to bring marketing and the internet together at ODU.

Also at ODU was a very special student, and friend, Malcom McCutcheon.  Malcom was enrolled  in the very first internet marketing course that I ever taught.  This was back in the day when just about every student had never even heard of the web.  I was teaching topics such as what a browser is and how to use the “back” button.  We created websites in Geocities!   Malcom was way ahead of his peers and was so nice about sharing information that he was learning on his own.  He also had, and still has, a wonderful eye for great web design.  Check out some of his work at Bossa Nova Interactive.

I also wish thank Terri Buckner for sharing her time and expertise with me regarding online learning while at ODU.  Terri gave me many opportunities to explore how technologies could be incorporated into online teaching settings.  It was because of Terri that I developed a new research interest in the use of technology tools in marketing education.

When I made a career move to James Madison University, David Jones, Administrator for the JMU College of Business IT Computing and Support, was added into my army.  Dave has been extremely helpful with my technological issues in the lab.   Dave has assisted with my lab requests, software needs, hardware needs, server space, and many other random requests to help me do my job.  Mohammad Sumbal, Informaton Technology Specialist for James Madison University’s IT Computing and Support, is not only technologically-savvy, but he has such a wonderful customer-oriented demeanor.   He is so polite, helpful, and patient when working with me.  Unfortunately, when I need Mohammad’s assistance, I’m usually in a technological bind and am not feeling very patient (aka – totally bad mood).  Yet, he has the ability to calm me down, resolve my issue, answer my questions, and go above-and-beyond the call of duty.  Mohammad’s understanding of information security is also top notch!   Sarah Cheverton, Grover Saunders, and many other talented individuals at JMU’s Center for Instructional Technology have been so helpful over the years.  I am fortunate to be working at a university that has such an amazing staff and a center dedicated to helping professors stay abreast of current technologies.

On of the newest members in my army of technological angels is  Chris Wilson, a JMU alum who took my MBA-level Internet Marketing class in the summer of 2008.  I thank Chris for answering my technological questions in a timely manner and helping me enter the world of WordPress as a blogging platform.  Along with Chris, I thank every current and past student for thinking of me and taking the time to share when they encountered something interesting about the intersection of technology and marketing.

Finally I thank my dear husband, Irvine “Bud” Clarke, for his efforts at keeping me current in the mobile arena.  He had the foresight to see what was coming in the world of M-commerce long before I did.  He is so good about showing me cool things to do with my mobile devices.  He’s also great about sending me links to interesting material that he reads online.

To my entire army of technological angels, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Without your time, expertise, and support, I would not be able to impart the level of knowledge that I desire to JMU marketing students.  You not only help me, but you help all of my students as well.  Hats off to you all!


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