Jeff Cross consulted for the Center for Humanistic Studies, now the Michigan School of Professional Psychology, in the capacity of systems support and technology for ten years before he was hired as the Information Systems Coordinator at MSP in 2006. He assumed the role of Director of Information Technology & Building Services in 2012. He has 25 years of experience working with networked systems and environments.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Boyne City when it was still a small town. Around 2,000 people, 1 stop light, a theater that only had movies twice a month (not new ones) and of course 7 pubs…
What appealed to you most about working here at MSP?
I had worked for myself for many years, and before that had not worked anywhere that I felt like I was part of a team. I have been here for 10 years now and it has went far beyond “team” to being family. I saw that possibility all those years ago and wanted to be part of it. It has been an awesome and meaningful journey!
Please share a moment when you really made a difference to a student at MSP.
Over the years, I have had the pleasure of helping in many different ways that are memorable to me. Most are times when students have worked hard creating something so important to them, many hours or days of work, only to have a hard drive failure or Windows not letting them start their computer. I have been able to retrieve their files off the drive most of the time. (If you are a student reading this, see me about backup 🙂 )
What are you most passionate about in your professional life?
Part of my job description is to manage the technology and facilities to enable everyone to do their work without noticing or being burdened by either. If I am doing my job right everyone is able to perform their tasks without noticing the tools they are using. If I am able to work on future projects and not current hardware and facilities, I am doing it right. I am passionate about making everyone’s day run easier and with less stress.
What is your favorite book and why?
The book is “My Side of the Mountain.” It was written by Jean Craighead George who was born on the same day as I was. I first read it around 12 years of age. It was the first book I remember making a large impression on me.
It’s about a young boy named Sam Gribley who goes to live in the Catskill Mountains by himself and how he handles all the obstacles, which are many, with ingenuity, passion, and perseverance. He could have gone home at any time, but he chose to face all of his obstacles. I thought at 12 that my own obstacles were almost insurmountable and Sam gave me courage. There have been many favorite books since then, but many good changes in my life came from that book. I also had fun mimicking things Sam Gribley did, like going out the back door into the woods for days on end with my brothers. My mother would require a check-in every few days so she knew we were ok. Memories…
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I have dabbled with many different careers prior to MSP, seven that I recall anyway. A few were: a traveling door to door salesman (grueling mentally), a Chef (grueling physically) and an overhead crane operator (too dangerous). Like Sam Gribley, I persevered through them while searching, until I landed at MSP. After 10 years, I am not feeling the “urge” to look any further.
What sage advice would you like to share with students?
One word. BACKUP 😀