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EDCOE Team Member Spotlight - Laura Thomas

00:00 AM - September 25, 2019

Interview with Laura:

Briefly describe your background (where you grew up, family, why you came to work for EDCOE).

I grew up in Hollywood in a family of five, went to high school in Tehachapi, college on the Central Coast, worked six years in the Bay Area, then moved to El Dorado Hills to follow my future husband. In 2007 I wasn’t working and saw a job offer in the local paper, and it described me to a “T”.  It was part-time (4hrs/day) for the IT Helpdesk. I’m not sure how I wound up working full-time (I was tricked, slowly, over time).  Fun fact: It took from May until September for me to actually get the job!

What is your department, title, and how long have you worked for EDCOE?

Systems Analyst, Information Technology, 12 years. If I had to describe my job in a nutshell: “I create data-centric web apps that help my coworkers do their jobs more efficiently.”

Describe how your role helps support programs/schools/students directly or indirectly.

I don’t get many chances to work directly with children, but I have many projects that indirectly support our county’s students.  A very small example would be the Annual Coat Drive website. A large example would be the Fiscal Portal that members of our Charter SELPA use. We collect financial data from them so that they can receive the funding they are entitled to.

What do you most appreciate about your department/team?

My department is the BEST! We really are a team. We get along really well, do lots of lunches and extra-curricular activities together and we have each other’s backs. If I need help from one of them, I know they are there for me. Our annual Christmas Lunch is one of my favorite days of the year.

What is your proudest moment at EDCOE? Why?

My proudest moment at EDCOE was when I received an award for Outstanding Service in 2012. Logan Lemming (former IT Director) gave a speech about me, and it was so lovely! I wish I had a recording of it because he is a great speech-giver. I was very touched.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My favorite pastime is to read (favorite authors include Nelson DeMille, Lee Childs, and Ann Rule). I read every single day. I also enjoy reading technical books. On the weekends I enjoy winetasting with my husband Jeffrey and spending time with my dog, Penny. We also love to cook and watch cooking shows/competitions.

What is something many people may not know about you?

Some people might be surprised to know that I have a degree in Animal Science from Cal Poly, SLO and that I only took one computer course in college. I didn’t get interested in computers and programming until my first “real” job. I was a Biologist at Roche Bioscience in Palo Alto.

If you could meet anyone in the world, living or deceased, who would it be and why?

I am obsessed with celebrity chefs, so if I could meet anyone, it would be Gordon Ramsay. Or Thomas Keller.  Or Alex Guarnaschelli.  I do/did know one celebrity chef: Biba Caggiano. I took cooking lessons from her, and she was my mentor. Sadly, she recently passed away.

From supervisor, David Seabury

Laura has been such a great asset to EDCOE and our IT team. She has expressed often that she loves her job and shows it in her work. She goes the extra mile to make sure that deadlines are met and that our web applications run reliably. Over the past couple of years, Laura has been developing a fiscal portal for Charter SELPA, and it has grown into a work of art. I am often amazed at how advanced some of our web applications can get, and she continues to find new ways to push the envelope. Laura is an outstanding team player and is always be willing to share a new trick or an innovative way to improve the web applications that we deliver to our programs and districts.

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