Spotlight: Brian Buckler, Leading the IT Infrastructure for UCI

Posted by Brian Buckler, Director of Enterprise Infrastructure at UCI. I’m a Southern California native and have lived in Orange County my entire life. After attending a local community college program in computer support technology, my IT career began in the early 1980s as a desktop support technician at a small PC retail company called Gateway Computers in Huntington Beach. In those days, they called us “field service PC technicians,” and I provided onsite technical customer support services throughout Los Angeles. I setup, configured, installed, and supported first generation IBM PCs and Apple computers before the Mac was invented.

After a short time in the private sector, I joined the central IT department at California State University – Long Beach (CSULB). I enjoyed working there for 11 years and grew from a PC technician to a director-level position, responsible for campus telecommunications and network services. During my time at CSULB, I earned a BA in interpersonal and organizational communications. In 1995, I was recruited by a UCI colleague, who I had met through an IT vendor user group, and I joined UCI to manage network and telecommunications operations. About the same time, I started an MBA program at CSULB, got married, and started my family. In 2000, I earned my MBA with an emphasis in human resources, and was soon promoted to a director-level position at UCI. I chose to focus on non-technical degrees because I wanted to enhance my people, communications, and management skills.

After working for more than 20 years in IT management at UCI, and with several promotions and role changes, I now have the privilege of serving on the senior leadership team in the Office of Information Technology. I’m one of the senior directors and responsible for leading talented teams of highly experienced technical managers and staff, who provide IT infrastructure support and services in the areas of network, telecommunications, emergency communications, data center, server, storage, and cloud services at UCI. We also provide Windows and Unix system administration and enterprise services including email, calendaring, and collaboration. We serve customers internally and in the UCI campus community. Some of our biggest initiatives include recent comprehensive IT organizational realignment, IT service management improvements leveraging Service Now, phase 1 of a multi-year project to implement off-campus disaster recovery, and a big focus on improving security. Check out the OIT website!

IT is important to higher education because it provides the university community with services, tools, and information to facilitate and enhance the quality of education and research, and help people do their work more efficiently and effectively. I’ve really enjoyed working in higher ed IT because it has allowed me to combine my interests and skills in technology with my desire to work with people. It has also given me the opportunity to further my education, develop professionally, develop quality working relationships, feel the satisfaction that comes from working with others to provide valuable services to each other and to the campus, enjoy my family and friends, and maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. To top it all off, I’m now blessed with 20 years of marriage, and I’m the proud father of a 15-year-old son in high school, and an 18-year-old daughter in college. Life has been good to me, and I’m very thankful!

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