The Early Times
When I first was hired, the crew was Eben Pratt, Aaron Pratt (brothers), Michael Donovan, Davin Hoyt, Keith Aveni, Steve Bolton, Steve Ackerman, Jamie Gaeta, Rob Ness, Charlie Doble, Jeff Smith, Matt Tierney and Roy (third shift guys, forget Roy's last name, but his name wasn't even really Roy, that's just what people called him) and the boss and his secretary, both of whose names escape me at the moment.
Eben Pratt - Eben was blonde with short cropped hair, almost a buzz-cut. Very smart, people skills not so good, system administrator for the site. He was generally practical and got the job done, and while he was a bit of the stereotypical geek, he could occasionally crack a joke or a smile. He was around for about two weeks before being promoted to Tier 2, but I liked him and liked working with him when I did deal with him in Tier 2.
Aaron Pratt - Aaron was redheaded and had a big mouth. A defining memory of Aaron was when I brought a plate of food in on a normal ceramic plate, ate the food and then forgot it overnight, and when I came in the next day it was gone. Turns out Aaron figured no one wanted it so he threw it in the trash. Aaron was pretty stupid and was loud and it's hard to understand how he ever got a job in the first place, despite familial ties. It's not like he was even technically adept.. he was stupid in matters of social awareness and he was stupid in matters of technical competance. He had no filter between his brain and his mouth, so any time the neurons fired the mouth started moving. Well, he was one of the first people laid off once that started happening, anyways.
Michael Donovan - Mike was a stereotypical Southie, with a "yah dood" accent and the mark of Ireland stamped firmly on his face. He was a solid, decent guy with reasonable technical skill and a laugh and a joke for most situations. I never really connected strongly with him, but I never felt bad about working with him either. Mike was laid off sometime during the round of layoffs, I don't recall when.
Davin Hoyt - Davin was a body builder that, I believe, won a gold medal in something or other. He was friendly and technically competant. One of the first things I ever did while working here was help him pull cables from the spaghetti farm of a couple of Catswitches that we were decomissioning. He was promoted to the Provisioning group around the same time Eben left, so I only knew a little of him.
Keith Aveni - Keith is an overweight, balding 30-something Italian.Keith was the first shift "backup master", which essentially just meant that he was self appointed to be the one that dealt with the majority of backup issues on the first shift. This also stemmed from his lack of technical knowledge, as he can only hold so much technical information in his head and rather than dealing with hardware, he knows how to shuffle tapes in storage and the tape library (which is pretty low on the scale of difficulty). Keith was a blow hard, which is a bit different from the loudmouthedness of Aaron. Whereas Aaron had no mental filter, Keith's neurons would find a thought and then massage it for a good three to five minutes, during which time the mouth would be running, though the subject matter wouldn't be chaging much after the first fifteen seconds or so. He'd just say something. And then he'd say it again. And then he'd say it again. And then he'd say it again. Keith still works here, and I think I'm going to break these up in to chronological chunks, so I'll have more to say about him in a future post, hopefully.
Steve Bolton - Steve was a mid-40s blonde-haired musician from near my area of the state. Steve became a good friend of mine, although we drifted apart once he was laid off. Steve was extremely pragmatic and practical and had good technical skill. He was also painfully modest. For most of the time that I worked with him he had the ability to laugh in the face of any sort of woefully absurd drama that would unfold daily in the data center. He was the second shift lead operator after Ackerman up until the Level 3 split. By the end of his career with us he'd developed a level of paranoia that was becoming unhealthy in dealing with the management of the DC. He had some chip on his shoulder about being older than most of the other operators and he felt as though people were trying to fire him, for that and a variety of other reasons. Steve made it through all of what could be technically termed as layoffs, but when the Genuity/Level 3 merger happened, we had a pseudo-layoff where Level 3 only kept about half of the operators. Steve was a victim of this sort-of-layoff.
Steve Ackerman - Ackerman was a blonde, muscular, biker-looking guy with tattoos on his arms. Ackerman had a middling amount of technical skill and a little bit of a temper. He was made the second shift lead after Jamie was moved to first shift, until Steve B. became the lead and Ackerman was made a supervisor.. basically just a title without much of a job description. He was a little bit sleazy at times in dealing with his personal life, but somewhere in his heart he was actually a bit of a gamer. I recall bringing in a copy of Diablo II to play with him and his copy at work once or twice. Ackerman was never popular with most of the guys because they felt that he would take credit for any good and/or hard work that they would put in, while never really doing any work himself. That may or may not have been true, but I was able to connect with him at some level and I never felt particularly offended by anything he did at work. Ackerman intentionally laid himself off at the Level 3 split by smoking a doobie in the car on the way to the drug test.
Jamie Gaeta - Jamie was almost as tall as I am and worked out regularly. He had something of a pin head... or it even might have been like a mini conehead sorta.. well his head seemed a little small for the rest of his body. Jamie's technical skill seemed to vary between competance and incompetance, but he had an easy time getting things done and reasonable charisma which made him a good leader for a while. He started off as the second shift lead, moved to first shift lead, and eventually was essentially the assistant manager of the data center for some time. In fact, he was slated to be the manager at one point, but the then-current manager wasn't able to find work in Florida and decided that he was going to stay working here. Jamie was trained in Tai Kwon Do, as was evidenced by most of his bags, mousepads, and screensavers showing the brand that he took. Jamie's social skills tended to be reasonable while in person, but he seemed to skip words if you tried to ask him something in an email, since his reply would often seem to miss the thrust of what you were trying to say. Jamie was eventually fired for a variety of reasons, but it was only in late 2006 or so when it happened, so it's only been recently that I haven't been working with him.
Rob Ness - Rob was brown haired with a square jaw and a goatee. He was originally from around here, but moved to Alabama or something for some time, so his accent would shift from normal to southern randomly. He also lived in Japan for a couple years as a young kid, or maybe it was early teens, and also lived in Korea at some point. Rob had an infectious smile and a certain sort of charisma that made him friendly enough, but his mannerisms when dealing with people when his concentration was even slightly on something else could be somewhat poor. He was technically competant and a reasonably smart guy, but he was a bit hard headed and held some views which made me scratch my head (he apparently disbelieved evolution, because he "weren't descended from no damn ape" or some such.) Rob was originally the first shift lead, but got demoted to merely being an operator. He bounced around on different shifts and eventually was the "third shift lead" which basically included himself on weekdays and one guy on weekends. Rob eventually got engaged to a Korean and moved to New York, quitting his job at the DC, and I never really found out how that all turned out.
Charlie Doble - Charlie was a short Irishman with some physical disfigurations. Apparently while in the service, he was with some army buddies in Hawaii and ended up falling out of a building, breaking his neck. For a time he had a brace on his neck and head that required holes to be drilled in his skull. He could walk but his spine was stiff and the holes were still visible in his forehead, however many years after the fact. Charlie and I started working on the same day. He had basically been demoted from Tier 2. After a couple weeks or a month he had a little incident and was fired.
Jeff Smith - Jeff is of average height and build and has curly, sandy locks. He's very smart and friendly and of good technical skill. Basically, I can talk with Jeff about most anything and he'll be able to have a reasonable debate on the subject. In overall character he could probably most easily be described as a hippie with elements of geek thrown in. I consider Jeff to be a friend. Jeff and I worked on the first set of servers that I ever racked. He still works at the office, so I'll get in to him more some other time.
Matt and Roy - The third shift guys were people I never really dealt much with at the time, so I can't really comment on either of them.
The boss and secretary - The boss was a late 50s battle-axe from Texas. He was a bit strict, but he was a straight shooter and I respected that. The secretary was a black woman in her late 20s, early 30s. She had what one might call a stereotypical "black woman 'tude". She was a little bit crazy, but I liked her anyways. The boss eventually was replaced by a new manager, who I grew to dislike. The secretary might have quit or might have been fired, but I don't really remember any more.
Edit: I forgot Kevin Henry and Chris Miller. Also, I think the secretary's name was Gwen. I'll write more later but I'm burnt out now.