The Problem Solver
By Lori Putnam
As an IT consultant for the Division of Technology & Innovation, Hai Le thrives on solving problems for CI faculty and staff. “In my role, I expect problems to come up on a daily basis. I love that through technology I get to solve these problems with all kinds of possible solutions,” said Le. “It’s exciting to start a new problem – it’s like solving a puzzle. I love it.”
It is Le’s natural optimism and go-to attitude that garnered him a CSU Outstanding Professional Award honor in 2008. Judy Swanson, Director of Academic Technology, describes Le as a powerhouse on campus. “He’s been here a long time and he knows how everything works,” said Swanson. “He’s also patient and cheerful. I’m sure anyone who goes to him with a problem thinks that he or she is the only person to ask him for help that day. He treats everyone with respect and when someone has a computer problem, it becomes his problem.”
Le arrived on campus in 2001 and has seen his department as well as the University grow. He is now part of a six-member desktop support team addressing the computing needs of more than 300 people. “I was there at the beginning and it’s been exciting to see CI grow,” added Le.
Unlike some in his field, Le became involved in technology by accident. He was an accounting major at the University of California, Santa Barbara, when he met colleagues in the engineering and science fields who introduced him to computer programming. What started as a hobby has in some ways remained one for Le, who continues to learn as much as he can in an ever-changing field.
Change, in fact, has been a large factor in Le’s life. At the age of nine, his family fled their home in Vietnam to escape the war. “We had gone to visit my grandparents in the city,” remembered Le, when bombing erupted. He recalls walking with his parents five or six miles to reach a harbor where a military ship took his family to the Philippines. Tragically, one of Le’s brothers was left behind in Vietnam.
Eventually, Le and his family would make their way to Camp Pendleton by way of Guam. They were sponsored by a church in the San Fernando Valley and lived there for a number of years. Today, four of Le’s siblings live in the South Bay and another two in San Jose. Le is married to a fellow CI staff member, Judy Le, and they have one son.