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​​​February 23, 2015

By Adam Raider


Masonicare employees are all, in some way, caregivers. If they’re not directly touching the lives of a resident or patient, then they’re providing support to those who do. This is especially true of the Information Technology (IT) Department’s Help Desk team.


Eiby Angeles and his fellow IT technicians respond to any and all technology issues throughout the Masonicare continuum – as many as 80 a day. It is, at its heart, a customer service field. In this case, the customer is everyone from the Home Health & Hospice nurse in Danielson with a misbehaving laptop to the brand-new payroll specialist in Wallingford who needs a PC set up at her work station. No two days – and no two issues – are exactly the same.


“It’s a good thing,” Eiby says, “in that I’m not forced to stick to a routine. I like my schedule to be different every week and every day. And if I encounter something new along the way, that’s even better. I like that, because it can be a learning opportunity.”


Eiby (his name rhymes with “maybe”) works a full-time schedule at Masonicare during the summer but is part-time during the school year so that he can focus on academics. The college credits he’s earning now will eventually pay off with a degree in computer sciences.


Growing up in the Peruvian capital of Lima, a city of nine million on the western coast of South America, Eiby developed an early fascination with anything mechanical.


“I liked to open up things like DVD players to see how they worked,” he said, “and when I was eight, my grandmother gave me my first computer. It was an IBM 486. That’s how it all started.”


He learned, as every computer owner does, that most computers eventually need some kind of service or repair. But technical support in Lima was hard to come by. And it wasn’t cheap.


“We had someone come over to check the computer when the hard drive failed,” Eiby said, “and it got to be quite expensive. My parents were surprised at how much we were being charged. But we had to pay. We had no choice. I was getting a little frustrated about that, and decided to do some research to see if I could learn how to fix the computer myself. We didn’t get internet until I was 12 or 13, but after that I was able to watch tutorials online. I’d open up the case to see what was happening inside, and just became familiar with all the components that make a computer work.”


During high school, Eiby trained for a full year to become certified in computer repair. It was his first big step toward a career in IT. Whether he’d ever realize his dream of pursuing that career in the United States was up to the U.S. Immigration Services.


Years earlier, his parents had decided to begin the process of immigrating to the U.S. They went to the American embassy, filled out all the necessary paperwork to apply for a visa … and then they waited. And waited. A glacially slow process was slowed even further by the events of 9/11.


“Every year,” Eiby recalls, “I would give up the hope that we’d be moving to the U.S. There were four of us: myself, my parents, and my older brother. Then, in 2005, my younger brother was born. And we had to add him to the visa applications, causing more delays.”


It took nearly 13 years for the applications to be processed and approved. Finally, on May 5, 2011, Eiby and his family touched down at JFK. “It was a new start,” he said, “like being born again. There were really high expectations. New people, new places.”


The family settled in Enfield, Connecticut. Eiby’s first jobs were in the fast food industry, but as his English improved, he became more and more confident and motivated to apply for better-paying jobs where he could use his technical expertise. In 2012, he acted on a tip that Masonicare’s IT department was looking for per-diem help.


“I was really appreciative that Masonicare gave me an opportunity to start here as an IT technician,” he said. “I found my first week to be really inspirational. I knew right away that this was something I wanted to do, but I also noticed that it was very complicated. There are many teams in IT, each specializing in different things. There was a lot to learn but I accepted it as a challenge because I knew this was my path. I wanted to start on the right foot.”


“IT is, in my opinion, just as important as electricity, heat or water,” says Ralph Bunce, IT Operations Manager at Masonicare. “We are a utility. We are across the Masonicare continuum and affect every aspect of the business, but the majority of our customers are the caregivers. They have very stressful positions. They’re held to very high standards but also take great pride in maintaining a high level of performance. Our clinical staff can’t provide the highest level of patient care if their computers aren’t working properly. That can be frustrating. The last thing they need to deal with is an IT technician who doesn’t show interest or empathy.”


In Eiby, Bunce says, Masonicare has found someone who not only has the technical know-how, but also the right attitude.


“The culture of Masonicare is such that if you embrace what’s best about humanity,” he said, “then you’ll flourish here. You’ll do well. What Eiby’s been able to accomplish, with just a little bit of guidance and a little bit of nurturing, shows the quality of person that he is. And he’s an absolute joy to be around. He has that humble, grateful, energized mentality, and he’s bettering himself so that he can better take care of his family. Masonicare gave him an opportunity, but he’s made the most of it. He’s positioned himself to have a really good career.”​

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