SGTC IT Director Dianne Trueblood retires after 20 years
Published 1:38 pm Thursday, May 26, 2022
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS – South Georgia Technical College Information Technology Director Dianne Trueblood has dedicated over 20-years of her professional career to the faculty, staff and students at South Georgia Technical College. She announced recently that it was time to change gears. She will retire effective June 1, 2022.
“For two decades, Dianne Trueblood has been a very critical part of the growth of South Georgia Technical College,” said SGTC President Dr. John Watford. “While she will be greatly missed, her hard work and diligence to get things done correctly continue to serve as a legacy.”
“I have very mixed emotions about leaving South Georgia Tech,” said Trueblood, who has worked for three different Presidents (Jon Johnson, Sparky Reeves, and Dr. John Watford). “I am honored to have worked here. I love what I do and I love all of the people I have had the pleasure of working with. I have made life-long friends, and I know I am going to miss it here because it has been such a big part of my professional life.”
She looks back and said that it had to be fate for her to wind up as the IT Director at South Georgia Tech. She has a B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southwestern State University and a M.L.S. degree in Library Science and Information Studies from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. She taught and worked with Herff Jones before she transitioned to South Georgia Tech. So this was her third or fourth career.
Trueblood came to work at South Georgia Technical College in 1999 as an adjunct economic development/continuing education instructor teaching computer classes for 49ers and older, and providing customer service classes. She did so well in that role, she was offered a full-time job as the Librarian, Webmaster and IT Support person for the South Georgia Technical College Crisp County Center in 2002.
She remained in that role until April of 2017 when a new opportunity presented itself at South Georgia Tech. Earlier that year, SGTC IT Director Wray Skipper had a life threatening stoke and retired due to medical complications. That opened up the Information Technology Director position. Dianne Trueblood applied and was hired.
“There was so much I didn’t know and still don’t know,” said Trueblood. “Wray Skipper had so much institutional and IT knowledge. His retirement created a big void.” Fortunately, the IT team pulled together and were able to keep the college systems up and running through that tough time. Trueblood gave a lot of credit to team members Gary Prince and Tom Jones. She also had words of praise for former IT professionals Tom Rogers and Levi Cowan as well as the newest member of the team, Andreas Edwards.
“I appreciate (President) Dr. Watford for his support and for his encouragement,” said Trueblood. “He allowed me to branch out into IT while I was at the Crisp County Center campus and he was the Vice President of Operations there. Then when this position opened up, he supported my decision to make that transition.”
Trueblood said she did a lot of praying early on in her new position and even wondered what she had gotten herself into. But slowly she began to get her bearings. “One thing I learned is that everything always changes. In this job, you never stop learning. You have to stay engaged. Things change very quickly and there is always something new around the corner.”
One of the reasons that Trueblood worked so hard is, “I never wanted to let anyone down. And I wanted to provide excellent customer service combined with compassion to the faculty, staff, and students,” said Trueblood.
She succeeded in that goal, even if it meant working late hours, and on weekends. Trueblood travels with her laptop. She will reply to emails or SOS calls on weekends and during her scheduled vacation time. “This is important and if someone called or emailed, I knew it was important to them and I wanted to help.”
During her five years as the IT Director, Trueblood named off 15 or 20 different major IT projects she helped implement for the college, including the system’s newest Target X and Axium initiatives. She also talked about the challenges that COVID-19 caused for the college and the IT department.
“During the time when we were working from home during COVID-19, I answered over 1800 IT help desk tickets from students and faculty and staff. At that time, that was our only way to communicate so it was essential that we helped everyone with their IT needs.”
One of the most important pieces of advice Trueblood received when she stepped into her new job came from a former colleague who said, ‘In IT, Google is your friend.’ “At the time, I laughed and said, so that is your secret,” said Trueblood with a smile. “But after I thought about it, I realized he was actually telling the truth. There is no way that one person can have all that knowledge right at their fingertips, so even though it might have been a joke, there is definitely some truth to that statement and yes, I have googled things,” she laughed.
Trueblood is retiring from South Georgia Tech but she said she likes the term “re-firing rather than retiring.” She and her husband, Jim Trueblood, are relocating to her family’s farm near Soperton to be closer to her older parents. “I am ready for a short break, but I know I will be doing something,” said Trueblood. “My son has already hired me to help with his company’s IT needs and I am looking at some other things.”
She and her husband, Jim, who is a graduate of the SGTC EMT program, have four children, Chase Cannon, Taylor Trueblood, Courtney Absher, and Tori Kuchenbrod and 10 grandchildren. “I love my grandchildren, but I also need my own space and projects,” laughed Trueblood.
She added that she is leaving a big piece of her heart with South Georgia Tech, but is excited about what the future may hold. “South Georgia Tech will always be near and dear to my heart.”