Providing Technological Solutions to Help People and Enhance Service
By Rachael Kvapil
Shannon Telling, Golden Valley Electric Association's (GVEA) Director of Information Technology, already had some insight into the company’s technological direction when he took the position 14 months ago. In his previous work with Alasconnect, he operated as the primary account manager for GVEA, assisting them in developing several business solutions. When the Director of IT position opened, he decided it was an excellent opportunity to work closely with the company.
As the Director of IT, he ensures that technology solutions align with GVEA’s needs and objectives. Shannon says working with people is a big part of his career and key to understanding how technology can enhance their work performance.
“One of the things I love most about this position is working with people,” says Shannon. “By working with everyone in the organization, I help find a better way for technology to work for people. Sometimes a process is in place that makes people feel like they’re working for technology. I want to flip that.”
Shannon developed his interpersonal skills while working as a student help desk technician in college. Though he realized quickly that he couldn’t always solve everyone’s problems, he found it necessary to advocate on their behalf for additional assistance. He says developing relationships makes it easier to create technological solutions that benefit everyone.
One of the most recent and visible technological changes was the release of the new MyGVEA member account management system and mobile app. The new management system provides a uniform program for GVEA employees while increasing the service, billing and payment options for members. MyGVEA opened for member enrollment on January 9, both online and through the MyGVEA app.
“I hit the ground running my first week here,” says Shannon. “We worked with National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) to consolidate many homegrown legacy systems that had run between 5 and 20 years.”
Shannon says MyGVEA is a massive accomplishment for his team and is just the first step in creating more effective technological solutions for members and employees. Additional modules will be released in the future, and his team will continue looking for additional ways to streamline processes in a way that meets GVEA’s three core principles: safety, mission focus and fiscal responsibility. Many of these improvements won’t be as visible to members, like MyGVEA, but will enhance service over time.
“The only thing constant is change,” says Shannon. “And if you aren’t embracing change, you’re moving against it. My team makes sure that we are moving in a direction that is both useful and fiscally responsible.”
Shannon was born in Fairbanks and attended K-12 in Nenana near his home between there and Anderson. He says it surprised him how many other GVEA employees grew up in the same area and attended school around the same time he did.
“It’s like, ‘Wow! I went to grade school with you a million years ago. It’s good to see you.’,” he says. “It’s neat to see people you knew 35 years ago and spent so much time in one area.”
In his free time, Shannon says he loves to spend time with his family traveling, skiing, hiking, fishing and enjoying other outdoor activities.