Staff Spotlight: Bryce Johnson, UAKjobs Helpdesk Technician
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska
Fun Fact: Took a Japanese-language course while attending UAA as a student several years ago.
Bryce Johnson was 8 years old and living in a small Louisiana town outside Shreveport when his parents told him it was time to move, again.
Relocating every couple of years or so is something many Air Force and other military families do. But this would be a notable move for the Johnsons, since they would be journeying thousands of miles north, to Elmendorf Air Force Base.
“Dad had me watch an episode of Nova, said ‘Oh, there’s a special on Alaska, let’s watch it,’” Bryce remembered. “It was about living in the tundra, and I was pretty scared. It had something about storing food underground, chopping firewood—all the preparations you have to make to get ready for winter in the Bush.”
Twenty years later, Bryce works in UAA’s human resource services, presiding over orientation sessions that help new hires prepare for their transition into life as a UAA employee or faculty member.
“This is the first career I’ve ever had,” Bryce said. “I took it upon myself to learn every cog and piece of the HR area. My job is to help people understand how the campus works, how their benefits work. I’ll try my hardest to make their quest a lot easier.”
Offering useful tips
After working as a temporary employee in UAA’s Office of Diversity and Compliance, Bryce moved to a position in HR in April. He’s mined his own experiences as a new employee for helpful information he can use at orientation sessions.
The topmost concern new hires express?
“Usually it’s about parking passes,” Bryce said.
Parking permits are available in several tiers of pricing, with the most expensive—a yellow annual permit—costing $250. Pay ‘n’ Park costs $2 per hour or $10 per day and a day pass also costs $10 per day.
There are other options available for people who don’t want to pay to park on campus, Bryce said.
“You can park at the University Center for free and ride the free shuttle; there’s new GPS tracking with the Ride Systems app, available through iTunes, that shows pickup spots and where the shuttle is, in real time,” he said. “In the wintertime it’s perfect; you don’t have to trek through the snow in the parking lot.”
People Mover and Valley Mover buses are free for UAA staff, students and faculty who have their Wolf Card (UAA ID card), Bryce said. Students, faculty and staff who don’t have their Wolf Cards can get them at University Center. They can also be loaded with funds and used as a debit card.
UAA is in the family
When Bryce isn’t working, he spends much of his time with family members who happen to be UAA alumni and students.
His fiancée, Vesal Suon, is a registered nurse and UAA alumna he met while both were attending classes at UAA nine years ago. They have a year-old son, Brysen. Bryce’s father, William Johnson, an administrator at Fort Richardson, is a part-time UAA student; one of Bryce’s two brothers currently attends UAA; his other brother attends Bartlett High School, hopes to play basketball for UAA and dates a woman who is a UAA nursing major. Bryce’s mother, Valerie Johnson, an occupational therapist at the Anchorage VA Outpatient Clinic, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UAA and her doctorate through the Creighton University-UAA Occupational Therapy initiative.
“She’s been working hard,” Bryce said of his mother. “I just remember her picking me up from school, we both doing homework. She’d be doing homework ‘til 2 in the morning then get up the next day and do it again. She’s my inspiration.”