By Iris Wang, Staff Writer
When Patrick O’Toole was a child, he dreamed of being a police officer and solving problems to promote the common good.
“My father was a police officer for the SFPD before he retired,” O’Toole said. “I remember him coming home from work in full uniform. It was really impressive to a me as a kid.”
O’Toole never did become a police officer, but he did eventually become an investigator in his own right.. As Acalanes’s new site technician. he must put a detctive’s eye towards finding evidence of a host of computer malfunctions and glitches, and roll from myster to mystery to crack the case.
O’Toole replaced the former technician, Christian Henriksen, who was promoted and relocated to the district tech department.
“I’m responsible for supporting Acalanes’s technology. My duties include installation, repairs, changes, and troubleshooting of PC workstations, Mac workstations, iPads, network equipment, Wi-Fi arrays, et cetera in the school district,” O’Toole said.
Before joining Acalanes, O’Toole worked as a service engineer at IBM and a technician at Chevron. He also helped support technological needs at a large real estate company in San Francisco. O’Toole attended Heald College and has two Associate’s degrees, one in Electronics and another in Network Technologies, as well as a few Microsoft Certifications.
O’Toole is a veteran in dealing with misbehaving technology and putting together clues to crack computer codes, but his job requires him to be able to deal with new and unexpected situations. Luckily, O’Toole came well prepared.
“Patrick brings a willingness to jump right in with both feet to become familiar with the big variety of technology issues and solutions that a school district like ours deals with,” Terri Catanesi, O’Toole’s colleague said. “He does his best to solve all tech challenges that come his way with a smile.”
“There is a little bit of detective work involved,” said O’Toole. “People might say, ‘Oh, this monitor is what isn’t working,’ when in fact it’s the video card, so I have to piece stuff like that together. I go about it pretty systematically. Eliminate the obvious – if it’s not this, than that. Check this, check that.”
Along with his extensive experience, O’Toole brings a great personality to the Acalanes tech department.
“He’s smart and friendly, he has a good sense of humor, he can figure out lots of different technology issues, he’s organized, he shares information, and he remains calm under duress,” Catanesi said.
So far, O’Toole’s experience as an Acalanes technology Don has been busy but enjoyable.
“Everyone I’ve met has been so welcoming, and delightful to work with,” O’Toole said. “I can’t say enough about my technology team. It’s a great atmosphere.”
Regarding Acalanes’ technology programs aiming advancing our technology usage, Mr. O’Toole said the district is forward-thinking and realizes that learning is headed in a direction that requires more technology.
O’Toole is a California native who grew up in Pittsburg as the middle child in a family of all boys. His family moved to Martinez when he was in high school. Now, O’Toole has a family of his own, including two daughters along with two chihuahuas named Bella and Mr. Brown, respectively.
“The dogs – they’re brother and sister but they constantly fight. They’re pretty yippie. They parallel my kids, who are sisters – they get along and they’re best friends one minute, the next minute they’re at each other’s throats,” O’Toole said.
In his free time, O’Toole spends time with his family and also tinkers with his first project car, a BMW model E30, with the help of the internet.
“It’s one of the smaller, boxier kinds of convertibles,” O’Toole said. “I thought I’d fix it up for one of my daughters eventually, so I’m just tinkering with it now. It’s kind of relaxing to work on it. I don’t worry about anything except the car. This is my first time attempting to do this kind of project, so there’s a lot of Googling involved.”