Randall Love’s day may start with a call from an 89-year old woman watching bears outside her window in rural North California. Or he may chat with a Nigerian woman who phonetically spells her name by saying, “E like Elephant,” “C like Cheetah.” Or perhaps it will be a New Orleans tugboat pilot pushing a barge up the river. All are customers he’s encountered in his role as a Tier 1 Help Desk Support Agent for IBM’s USDA contract.
“It’s more than I’d hoped for,” says Randall, who works 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., often picking up extra hours in the morning as he takes calls from Federal employees as well as external customers, including banks accessing Guaranteed Underwriting System Mortgages, retailers setting up EBT access for SNAP consumers, and firefighters in National Parks. Randall is often engaged in complex problem solving and, as he happily relates, is “enjoying the heck out of things.”
Randall’s wife and three adult children are out during the day pursuing their careers. In the evening the family comes together to prepare dinner and enjoy each other’s company. Randall grew up in the Philadelphia area, but now lives in South Jersey. He enjoyed a 30-year career with Verizon, in Tech Support & Operations, retiring in 2002. He then taught on a contract basis: first FIOS training for Verizon, then as a lead for Comcast. Nine months ago, Randall was looking for his next challenge and began his “fourth career” with NTI. For fun, Randall enjoys two annual reunions with extended family, on New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July.
In 2008, Randall’s current enjoyment of life was unimaginable. He found himself starting to lose weight, muscle, and strength very fast. With severe, constant aches in his neck, he finally went to the doctor, to be diagnosed with a tumor in the C1-C4 area, which wrapped around and inside his spinal cord. Only three neurosurgeons in the world were qualified to operate on this unusual type of tumor. Randall’s spinal cord and brain were hooked up to a computer so that if the delicate spinal cord was touched during the operation the doctor could back off to avoid injury. At a great Rehab Hospital in Philadelphia, he learned to stand and walk. Despite muscle spasms and the loss of physical sensation in 60% of his body, Randall is grateful that “I can talk, I can think, everything else is intact.”
Randall’s words to live by are simple but profound. “You’ve got to get over it. Embrace that you have disabilities and move on.” The USDA meat inspectors calling in from hog farms, young firefighters and pilots, and rural home owners seeking small mortgages are all happy that Randall Love is there to help them out.