Emil is the person you want on speed dial. Our IT Engineer since 2019, Emil keeps Reciprocity up and running, making sure our infrastructure, systems and applications are operating at peak performance, while providing technical support to 130+ employees. But that’s just a small part of what makes Emil, Emil.
Outside of Reciprocity, you can find Emil refurbishing computers for local students, navigating open waters and crafting itineraries to yet another continent (he has four down, three to go) — just a few of the reasons why he was the perfect choice for our first employee spotlight.
A quest to make a difference
When Reciprocity shifted to a remote model at the start of the pandemic, Emil was missing the in-person connections that came with his day job. “The shutdown from COVID was a time of self-reflection, leading me to investigate how to give back to the community,” Emil says. “I discovered RRRcomputer.org, a non-profit organization that repurposes computers for students in the San Francisco Bay area — the mission and the volunteer opportunity lined up perfectly with my skill set.”
Reducing the digital divide
Emil started his volunteer engagement with RRRcomputer.org as a technician, refurbishing donated laptops by wiping the devices clean, doing stress tests and ensuring Zoom, or other video conferencing applications, were properly installed. Emil quickly expanded his role, onboarding new volunteer technicians, a mix of recent college grads, technical sales representatives and seasoned IT professionals. He now serves on the board of directors for its operations.
“It’s been a rush to see firsthand the impact we’ve had on students’ lives, particularly during a time when having access to a computer is vital for at-home learning.,” Emil shares. “The digital divide is very real within the Bay Area and being able to provide kids with online resources will remain important as students return to school full-time.”
“Now, this is why I volunteer.”
Once the computers are prepped and ready, Emil also takes part in the distribution at local area high schools.
“At my first in-person distribution event, we were socially distanced and all wearing masks, making it tough to really see the students’ faces,” he recalls. “But the look in their eyes as they were handed a computer is something I’ll never forget. They were so happy to receive a device that will help them learn and I thought, ‘This is what it’s about and exactly why I volunteer.’”
From Alcatrez to Australia — adventures on land and sea
If you catch Emil daydreaming (not likely!), he may be envisioning his next outdoor pursuit. He’s drawn to the open water: a stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP) enthusiastic and swimmer, Emil tackled Escape from Alcatraz, an icy 1.5-mile open water event on many an athlete’s bucket list.
Emil’s adventures extend well beyond the Bay area. He’s visited 13 countries to date and aims to step foot on all seven continents, with three remaining: Africa, South America and Antarctica. His favorite destination so far? Hua Hin — a seaside resort on the gulf of Thailand that gained popularity in the 1920s as a summer escape for the Thai royal family.
Reciprocity — it’s all in the name
Emil credits Reciprocity with encouraging employees to give back and get involved with the local community. “The drive to better ourselves, it’s really part of our corporate values and what the word ‘reciprocity’ means, after all,” Emil says. “There’s an openness within our culture, an easygoing and supportive vibe that is pretty unique.”
Get involved with RRRComputer.org
RRRComputer.org has a ton of ways to get involved. Financial donations are always welcome to help purchase computer chargers and additional refurbished computers. And additional volunteers are welcome, too, with opportunities that span marketing, finance, grant writing, HR and technology. Check out RRRcomputer.org to learn more.