Reaching the territory and beyond
Western IT department holds annual conference
by Tim Schaal –
Responding to an inspirational message from Territorial Commander Commissioner Philip Swyers, Western Territory Information Technology (IT) department employees personally donated $1,677 to help fund IT projects in grant-assisted territories throughout The Salvation Army world.
The employees had gathered at Crestmont College during the last week of September for their annual conference under the leadership of Territorial Secretary for Business Administration Major Ron Strickland and Territorial Information Secretary Clarence White. This was the first occasion for the staff of the newly reorganized IT Department to meet together to plan how best to provide outstanding IT service to the Western Territory.
During the conference, the leaders of each of the various IT disciplines shared their vision for the coming year. The reorganization has allowed IT personnel throughout the West to concentrate on specific facets of technology and share those skills territory-wide so that all may benefit. Previously, divisional IT staff had to provide assistance for all the various components of technology in their division—diluting both the quality and quantity of services offered to the field as each division’s staff had to serve as a “Jack of all trades and master of none.”
Territorial leaders believe that this new reorganization will greatly benefit the entire work of the Army in the West as the deep pool of IT talent that the territory possesses will be properly marshaled to provide better and more consistent IT services. In his remarks, Swyers made it clear to the group that he held firm to this conviction—and in so doing inspired those in attendance to strive forward in this new endeavor.
Swyers also spoke on the power of technology to help change lives in the grant-assisted territories, specifically what has been done with money previously raised by the West to help with IT projects in these territories. As part of the success of that previous venture the territorial IT department started their “IT Cares” initiative—which has been heralded as a way for the IT staff to give to the work of the Army internationally.
IT Cares is a program designed for IT staff to donate their money to a fund that will be used by IHQ Information Technology to help further the use of technology in the grant-assisted territories. After information was presented at the conference about this initiative, 38 different employees responded with individual gifts ranging from $10 to $100. In total, $1,677 was raised and has since been forwarded to IHQ.
The concept of IT Cares doesn’t stop with just financial donations—Western IT staff members have traveled to countries including Mexico, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Kenya, Belize and the Philippines to help The Salvation Army in these locations deal with IT issues.