Many individuals work behind the scenes at BJU. Ed Rea, the piano technician for BJU, says that it is important to recognize those individuals. “It’s very important for us to realize that there are people behind the scenes,” Rea said. “They’re very selfless people. They give totally of themselves. It’s a real privilege to know servants of the Lord like that.”
Rea started working as a piano technician in the fall of 1975 and BJU hired him as a piano technician in 2001. “I like to joke and say they hired me because they couldn’t figure out how to get pencils out of pianos,” Rea said. While Rea does have to fish an occasional pencil out of a piano, he does far more. He maintains and upkeeps the 100- plus pianos on campus, tuning them, repairing broken piano legs and performing general maintenance.
When the University needs to acquire pianos, Rea also locates and purchases the instruments. “I get goosebumps thinking about it because it was so obvious that the Lord wanted those instruments at BJU,” Rea said.
Rea said his greatest frustration involves the practice studios. “Part of the difficulty is that [non-music majors] just go and use those instruments,” Rea said. “They don’t realize that they’re causing wear and tear.”
Rea encourages young people in general to join the field. “This field [of piano technology] is absolutely open to young people,” Rea said.
Despite the vast majority of piano technicians being male, Rea also encourages women to look into joining the field. “I don’t understand why it’s a mission in my life, but I really want [to see] a lady become a piano technician.” Rea said that anyone interested in being a piano technician should have an interest in tools and mechanical ability.
AV Facilities Technicians
Running a more technological side of campus, the audio-visual department handles tasks such as battery backup systems, security cameras, installing classroom technology, preventative maintenance, and more.
“[The AV tech specialist job] is one of the most diverse jobs you could have on campus, because we handle so much,” AV technician Luke Darling said. Darling has been in the AV field for the past three and a half years during and after attaining an associate’s degree from BJU.
Darling’s boss, Jonathan Baker, is the AV supervisor. He oversees all the classroom technology such as projectors, speakers and microphones. He also supervises all the digital signage on campus, as well as the security cameras and network cabling.
Baker said his favorite part of his job is creating technology solutions. “It’s been fun, the different projects we’ve been able to come up with and finding creative ways to fix things,” Baker said.
Some of the major projects that Baker and his team have undertaken are the screens and technology in the game room, the screens in the cinema room and the classroom technology and signage in Mack Building.
Baker said a common misconception about the AV facilities group is that they are IT. The main difference between IT and AV is that IT handles individual computers and technology, such as servers, whereas AV handles most of the technology equipment in public spaces.
Digital Lock Technician
While the AV facilities group handles much of BJU’s technology, Ryan Worley maintains another behind-the-scenes function: the campus’s 12,000 electric locks and their corresponding software. Worley graduated from Bob Jones University with a degree in computer science and technology.
As a student, he started working on the electrical team. In 2018 he was hired full-time for maintaining locks, which eventually transitioned to running the wireless locks when they were installed.
Every time someone puts their ID card in front of a door lock, the lock will recognize the name from a saved personal database. If the lock does not recognize the person, it will check with the online server if the person has access. If the person does have access, their name is saved to the individual lock.
On a typical day, Worley makes sure that the system is working, goes through a list of reported locks with issues and then fixes those locks. Sometimes the issue is the card reader isn’t working. Other times it’s a problem like the power supply is low, or the communication box isn’t working. Figuring out the issue is Worley’s favorite part of the job.
“I like the problem-solving part of things,” Worley said.