The following text is from the September 2005 monthly newsletter of RI-SOL, written by my boss back then, Mr. Jack Welch. This is where I last worked full-time.

The Global Connections and Exchange Program wouldn’t be very global if our computers didn’t work. The program is based on the idea that students can get to know each other regardless of location through the techno-magic of the internet. Distances vanish when you can chat live anywhere in the world, view pictures from around the globe and work together with partners half a planet away. Someone has to make sure that all of the software, hardware and communications equipment work right, or the entire program would come to a jarring, whiplash-inducing halt. That someone is Russell John, the IT Officer in the Dhaka Office of Relief International – Schools Online.

Russell’s desk is next to a rack of equipment with blinking lights and a bench piled high with computer innards. Cables snake back and forth between his desk, the rack and whatever he is building at the moment for our ILCs. His desk is covered in equipment brochures, manuals and computer code. Russell sits in this middle of this chaos, multitasking between phone calls, computer chats, and email, in an effort to keep everything running smoothly.

In implementing the GCEP program in Bangladesh, we’ve run across technical problems that have required customized solutions, such as how to make everything run well using Bangla fonts. Russell has created online forms and databases for our entire operation, automating many of our routine tasks.

In addition to computers, Russell’s other interests include stamp collecting and video production. He’s a fan of Sidney Sheldon books, James Bond movies, and listens to a lot of trance music. If you want to trade stamps, or chat about double-oh-seven, you can drop him an email at: [email protected]