Maurice (“Mo”) P.

Sr. Systems Administrator, MS Windows Team — ISC Technology Services
Mo P. portrait photo

ISC service(s) or programs/projects:  Current focus: migrating the many Active Directory domains on campus (recently Admissions and Univ. Life) into the central Kite domain to streamline management and leverage cloud services across campus. Other projects include regular server upgrades, optimizing virtual desktop infrastructure, working with AWS cloud team, and pursuing automated population of Microsoft SCIM, a tool similar to Grouper.

Length of time in ISC:  Began as contractor in 2015 and joined as full-time Penn staff in 2017

Previous work experience:  I've worked in IT for 25 years.  Prior to Penn I worked for the Delaware Department of Education for 6 years, in charge of Microsoft infrastructure and VMWare for the State Department.

Tell us about a challenge at Penn that made you proud to be part of ISC.

For security reasons, we’ve tightened our requirements on all Microsoft servers. We offered clients a one-time free upgrade, and reached out in partnership with the client relationship managers to help them through the process. This personal touch pays off in how positively ISC is perceived by clients, and I like the chance to interact with clients and our great customer-relations staff. It’s good to get out and about.

What’s an interesting technical or business problem you’ve faced with ISC?

Upgrading the servers for Penn Global posed unique challenges. Their Synapsis application for international enrollment is highly ‘Pennified’. We worked with staff and contractors, database analysts and subject-matter experts, over about eight months. Resolving technical issues required research, and also developing an understanding of business processes so the Pennified products would continue to work. The extended time frame allowed us to develop a great rapport with the clients, leading to a successful outcome and a strong relationship for ISC.

What do you like best about working with clients?

I really like talking with clients. You can talk on the phone, or over email, but it’s better to meet face-to-face when you can. That way you can ensure that what they’re saying is what you interpret it to be. It builds relationships.

How has the pandemic changed the way you approach your role?

Well, home is a more relaxed work environment, but in the beginning, it was a struggle. I couldn’t grab a colleague and go to the whiteboard and say “Hey, let’s think!” Now with Zoom and Teams, that is harder.

We recently did a periodic disaster recovery exercise and it was harder to interact with vendors remotely. Fortunately, it was not a real-life major disaster. On the other hand, the pandemic also let me interact with new folks, something I always like.

What are you passionate about in your free time?

I’ve been a working DJ since I was 16 years old, and continue when COVID allows — weddings, parties, even cheerleading competitions! I’ve also coached sports for young people for years — football, baseball. I’m a train buff and I have a model train hobby. I’ve spent time in all the area train museums.

What else would you most like people at Penn to know about you?

Prior to my IT career, I was employed in a juvenile detention facility, working with incarcerated youth. That was an important experience for me. I like people, and I try to look at problems like mountains: is it an obstacle, or an opportunity to do something great?