Todd Gilson is a man of many trades. Give him a job, any job, and he will do whatever it takes to accomplish it. This attitude is a great help to him in his present position on the Advantage QA team, but has also come in very handy in his earlier days working on implementation projects. Roger Domras, currently at American Psychiatric Association, was working at the University of Chicago Press some years ago when Todd was assigned to the installation. Roger has this to say about that experience:
"Todd was extremely conscientious and wanted to ensure that everything worked as expected. He dug right in to any questions that we had and if he didn't know the answer, he made sure that he contacted the right person and found the answer for us."
Roger goes on to confess: "I believe that I drove Todd nuts on the phone after we went live. I'd call him and say that I had just one quick question? Two hours and several questions later we would get off the phone. I think he still shakes if I call him."
After a childhood spent in small towns near Grand Rapids, Michigan, Todd attended Ferris State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in industrial electronics and production operations management. After graduation, he went with friends on a summer backpacking trip to Alaska, fell in love with the state and ended up staying in Juneau for five years. (Ask him about some of his adventures hiking and camping there and you will be entertained for hours. Waking up to see a large black bear sleeping by the campfire outside his tent was my favorite.)
Todd worked for the state of Alaska as a network technician, among other things. There, he set up a centralized help desk, and set up a database for the W.I.C. program that is still in use. He learned how to troubleshoot systems, and also something about programming. Due to a lack of opportunity for advancement, he decided to return to the lower 48 and joined ACS in 1996.
Newly hired at ACS, Todd began learning account management, working with clients such as Kalmbach and God's World doing training and consulting. He worked on the University of Chicago Press implementation with Roger Domras in 1997 and then helped Ev Acton set up the Support Center. Ev has nothing but praise for Todd's work there. "Todd is exceptional in many ways," she says. "He can jump into ANYTHING at a client site and do a great job. He's a natural detective and problem solver. He's excellent at training and is very good at understanding client needs. Plus, he does a great job of conveying those needs inside ACS."
Todd worked in the Support Center for more than three years and then moved into the projects group with Greg Stout and Tim Zapawa. Todd's specialty was to come in near the end of the project and help the team to clear up any remaining issues before go-live and then staying to provide post go-live support. He joined the QA team in 2005, which cut down on his travel schedule, allowing him to be home more with his wife and then-newborn son. He does miss visiting clients, however, and likes to keep his hand in with the occasional training assignment or operations review.
Todd lives in Onsted, Michigan with his wife, Renee, and their four-year-old son, Jake. Always an outdoorsman, Todd enjoys fishing, hunting, backpacking and hiking, camping, biking and rollerblading. (Roger Domras remembers that, at University of Chicago Press, Todd would come into the office in the morning carrying his rollerblades after skating from his hotel.) When he can't be outside, Todd also likes to cook, and to work on home improvement projects. He has a willing little helper in Jake, who wants to do everything Dad does. And with all Todd's skills and abilities, plus his upbeat attitude, that's not a bad goal at all.