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Center Snapshot: Gene Wright
12.23.10
 
Gene Wright. Image above: Gene Wright is a computer systems administrator in the ROME Oversight Branch at NASA Langley. Photo credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Maggie Stough

An extrovert trouble-shooting computers? Then again, Gene Wright is here for the people.

"It’s the people you're servicing, not the computers." Wright says.

Growing up an Air Force brat, Wright experienced a variety of cultures and people. Those experiences have led him to the work and interests he holds today.

Various jobs in retail, six years working as an active duty Air Force jet engine mechanic, and earning his degree in sociology from Saint Leo University have prepared him for his work as a computer systems administrator.

He provides computer desktop support for nearly 500 ROME employees. Although he's fixing computers, the most rewarding part of his job is "being able to interact with people and solve their problems."

While in the Air Force, Wright was able to spend some time in Saudi Arabia. As a Third Country National Escort, he witnessed cultural differences unlike those in the U.S.

"There's no driving age so I saw young kids, like six or seven years old, driving. Women had on full burkas. It was interesting hearing prayer calls five times a day," Wright said. "But it's their culture and their beliefs."

Although doing IT work is a job widely available all over the globe, Wright found NASA to be a perfect fit. Wright began working at NASA as an R134a plant technician at the Transonic Dynamic Tunnel. "Number one: It's NASA; it speaks for itself," he said. "The people here, too. I haven’t seen such camaraderie between people anywhere else."

Another perk of his job at NASA Langley is location. "It's the equator of the east coast," Wright says. Not only is he close to the beach, the mountains, and several cities, but also to his family.

Outside of work, when he's not out taking in all that Virginia has to offer, Wright is most likely cheering on his favorite sports teams -- the Yankees, the New York Knicks and the Eagles. His favoritism for these teams comes from his father and uncle.

Besides sports, he is also a music fanatic. In the seventh grade, he started to play the drums and hasn't stopped since. Recently, he's picked up DJ-ing and hopes to be a mobile DJ for parties and other events.

Over the summer he took advantage of the nearby mountains and hiked Old Rag Mountain with some friends. While it was only an overnight trip, Wright said it led to a lot of self-reflection and a desire for self-improvement as a person as well as a soon-to-be husband.

The date on which he will wed his fiancée is pending until she has finished getting her degree in accounting from Old Dominion University. "We're being a bit selfish in regards to putting our education first before each other," Wright says.

Once married, he hopes to travel with her to Europe as well as to other locations.

Another item on his bucket list is to do stand-up comedy. In preparation for meeting his goal, he plans to join NASA Langley's Toastmasters.

Wright is also part of ROME Beyond Zero, which has helped him to reach another goal of his -- to change the world ... somehow.

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