There are plenty of movie plots based on someone breaking a sophisticated code of a government agency, and instead of prosecuting the culprit, the agency offers him or her a job.
That wasnt quite the case when it comes to Cory Benda, but it was close.
Benda, who works full-time as an information technology server systems administrator at OTC, came on board in the department after leaving a “hey, you should hire me” text file message in a file that only OTC network employees were supposed to have access to.
When Eric Freeman, director of network systems, saw the message, he realized Benda “was someone I wanted working for me in the future.”
At the time, Benda was a student in OTCs pilot Middle College program, designed for students who struggle in traditional classroom settings. Students could only pick from two areas of study: early childhood education or diesel/automotive technology.
“Cory was one of the most exceptionally bright and talented students weve had in Middle College. He preferred a non-traditional setting. Middle College was an environment he could thrive in,” said LaRaine Bauer, dean of special academic programs.
But diesel repair was not his forte, so Bauer contacted network services and recommended they look at Benda.
“When I first met Cory, he was a student in the Middle College who was testing our computers and finding flaws. Over the course of the next five years, he started working for information technology fixing the flaws as a part-time employee and then later became a server systems administrator,” Freeman said, who gave Benda part-time work and then moved him to full-time.
Bendas attraction to computers and system management comes from his paternal grandmother who was a binary and Cobalt programmer for NASA.
“She was really good at math. She challenged me every time I would visit her in the summer. She got me into computers,” he said.
Now, in his position with OTC, Benda gets to work in an area he knows hes suited for.
“Working at OTC is a lot of fun. I get to work in the education area. The atmosphere is much nicer here. Its not about money; its about students,” he said.
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