Employee Feature — Gerald Cooper

Note: The Brock Employee Feature is a Q&A-style series that aims to highlight those who contribute to the University’s positive working environment and make a difference in the campus community. The full series is available on The Brock News. Employees interested in being featured are asked to fill out an online form.

When an employee’s computer isn’t working properly, students can’t access their emails or faculty experience issues with teaching equipment, the Information Technology Services (ITS) Help Desk is the first point of contact for the Brock community.  

The Help Desk is the University’s central IT support system. As the ITS Help Desk Manager, Gerald Cooper (BSc ’00) directs the efforts of the team’s technicians and student staff, strategizes existing and future IT support solutions, and helps clients use various IT services to improve their studies and work. Cooper and his team provides teaching and open access computer labs, computer repairs, account management, and teaching and learning solutions, and helps liaise the Brock community and guests with the various services available from the ITS department. 

Share your Brock career story.  

After taking a year of Engineering at Western, I started my studies at Brock in Computer Science in 1994. That same year, I took on student employee roles as a Computer Science Teaching Assistant and a Help Desk Lab Advisor. After a year of juggling studies, work at Brock, work outside of Brock and time in the Canadian Army Reserves, I decided to simplify my life and make Brock my primary place for work and studies. I took an extended period to complete my degree, taking advantage of the various student employment opportunities available to me and finally achieved my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 2000. That year, I started full-time work in ITS as an analyst/technician. I have worked in a few other capacities at Brock, but the ITS Help Desk is where I feel most at home. I accepted the Help Desk Manager role in 2021, hoping that my many years at Brock could be used to serve the unique needs of the University.  

A portrait photo of Gerald Cooper

Gerald Cooper’s first staff photo, circa 1999.

What do you like about your role? 

I enjoy the constantly evolving environment, learning new things every day, and helping people. It is a great combination of mechanic, teacher and traffic cop in an IT setting. 

What’s the most rewarding part of your job? 

Thinking outside the box, providing creative solutions to problems and passing down those methods and skills to my staff or directly to clients. There are few feelings better than when a client or peer is genuinely happy to have spent time working together to fix an issue and learned something in the process. 

What do you like about working at Brock?  

I enjoy meeting people from a wide variety of cultures and fields of study. I like learning new things and Brock provides me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge and experiences on both a professional and personal level. 

What are you known for?  

I would like to think I am known for being intelligent, kind, funny and helpful. To others, maybe goofy, nerdy and a little weird. I’m honestly different things to different people. 

What is something most people don’t know about you? 

That I have a very dark sense of humour that I inherited from my mother.  

What do you do for fun? What are your interests and hobbies?  

I enjoy gardening, riding my bike, playing video games, playing volleyball and taking car trips with my family. 

Two young children sit on the laps of their father and mother posing for a family portrait.

Gerald Cooper, back left, with his son Reece, wife Melanie and daughter Laura, circa 2008.

Where is your favourite place to visit or spend time in Niagara? 

One of my favourite places to visit in Niagara is Balls Falls. I enjoy the connection to nature and observing the challenges and engineering feats that early residents of Niagara experienced. 

Do you have any other jobs or side projects?  

My main project is converting my backyard into an ever-evolving gardening area. 

What was your first job ever?  

My first job was at the Regency Hotel and Sports Complex as a front counter receptionist. My job was to fetch the owners when someone wanted to book a room. I was paid $3 an hour and all the wontons and chicken wings I could eat. Thirty years later, I discovered that the cook I bothered for my free food was Brock’s retired Director of Client Services, Andy Morgan. 

What do you do for self-care to maintain positive mental health?  

I just try to keep busy and enjoy the little things around me. The best self-care I should be doing is listening to my wife more. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

That it is OK to sometimes tell someone ‘no’ and make time for yourself. 

What are you most proud of?  

I am most proud of maintaining strong relationships with my family and friends. I still have active friendships from when I was five years old, and my high school friend group still meets regularly. I have a teenage daughter who still willingly spends time with her dad, and seven stepsons who are respectful and always willing to give me a hand. 

Gerald Cooper stands in front of a long service desk equipped with computers. A poster on the desk reads "Need help? Ask us." A sign above the desk reads "ITS Help Desk".

Gerald Cooper stands in front of the ITS Help Desk in the Computer Commons, also known as the ‘Fish Bowl’.

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