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Fordham @ Work: Diego Gomez and Kanchan Thaokar


Diego Gomez and Kanchan Thaokar


Diego Gomez and Kanchan Thaokar are IT specialists whose job is to help you make the best use of Google Apps. Photo by Patrick Verel

Diego Gomez and Kanchan Thaokar are IT specialists whose job is to help you make the best use of Google Apps.
Photo by Patrick Verel

Who they are: Messaging Team Leader and Google Apps Consultant in the Department of Information Technology

What they do: Gomez and Thaokar are responsible for helping the University community make the jump from programs such as Lotus Notes to the suite of Google Apps, such as Gmail, Drive, and Calendar.

How they came to Fordham:

Kanchan: I worked on Lotus for the past 10 years, and I came to Fordham a year and a half ago so I could move to Google. I used to work with Prudential, and before that Ernst and Young.

Diego: I came here two and a half years ago from a bank called Brown Brothers Harriman in Jersey City. It was bigger group with more servers, extra work. A friend asked me to come to the University to see if I wanted to work here. I just figured I’d just talk to him, but I walked around campus a couple of times, and I said, “This is where I want to be.”

How is technology changing today?

Diego: A lot of systems are going to a cloud, which means people who were systems administrators who spent a lot of time doing the back-end work now have to concentrate more on customer-oriented work. We have to make sure we understand what the people who we serve need, and translate that into better systems. We have to talk to users, like we do in the “Learn It IT” sessions on campus.

Kanchan: Google Apps has been around for 15 years and it works with pretty much every system in the world. When I came here, I didn’t know anything about Gmail—other than my personal account—so this has been a learning experience for me. We’re planning to introduce YouTube, Hangouts, Picasa, and blogs, hopefully in early 2014. Everybody wants them, so we just want to let the community know they’re coming soon.

What’s one thing that people are surprised they can do with Google Apps?

Diego: It makes it easier for persons to collaborate and work together in a different way. There are basic things, like looking at people’s calendars. You can edit a document and work on it together as one unit, instead of individually.

Kanchan: One thing that surprises people is they can open their Excel and Word documents in Gmail and edit them, too. You don’t have to download it. You can edit in Google.

What they love best about the job:

Kachan: I love the more-relaxed campus. Before I worked in a corporate environment where it was often stressful. Now I can get home at a reasonable hour and the job gives me room to acquire more skills.

Diego: I used to manage a group that was spread over five cities on four continents. One of the things my boss told me when I interviewed here was that, when you’re working at a university, you’re helping the next leaders of the world to be educated. I used to think, ‘I work seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and I’m helping other people get rich.’ Now I come to a University and help people get educated. And the Rose Hill campus is beautiful; so I love coming to work every day.

What they do for fun:

Kachan: I have two kids, Maya and Mira. They’re 5 and 2 1/2. So my time outside of the office goes to them.

Diego: I did two half-marathons last year and am getting ready for my first full marathon next year. My plan is to run three half marathons: Brooklyn, Staten Island and the New York City half, and then try the full New York City marathon. I can’t wait.


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