Vasiliy Bunakov, Tech Super Hero

By Victoria Sandmeyer, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

vasiliy_headshot_croppedIf you have been at EECS for any length of time you have probably asked Vasiliy Bunakov for help of some sort or another. Vasiliy (or “V” to those who work with him) oversees the IT help desk, where a constant stream of faculty, staff, and students come to solicit his advice and help. In between providing desktop support for several hundred individuals in the college, support and maintenance for many research labs, mentoring senior design projects and providing tours for prospective students, Vasiliy is constantly doing two things: answering a wide range of questions and solving problems. All of us on the third floor of Sloan witness his unbelievable schedule. We see him as V-man the tech super hero running between Sloan, Dana, EME, Wagner, TFRB, ELB and ETRL saving the day, every day.

During the last five years Vasiliy has spent supporting EECS and Voiland College he has never taken a sick day. I have never once heard him complain about anything.

Vasiliy was the recent recipient of the Staff Excellence Award, an award that acknowledges outstanding employees who go above and beyond their job description. Vasiliy’s boss, Systems and Services manager John Yates comments,

Everyone is glad to see V and sad when he leaves. V is the go- to-guy for VCEA, everybody seems to need him to fix this or that. He is like a sponge; anything new, he masters it right away. He currently supports three separate areas within the college and fills in for those areas that don’t have tech support for that particular day.  He has taken his personal time to go to people’s homes to set up their system so that they can work remotely. He brings to the group: enthusiasm, knowledge, eagerness, and a positive can-do attitude. I have not had any faculty, staff, or student make negative comments about Vasiliy.

I decided to follow Vasiliy around for a day and take some pictures. I began to question this idea around 10:00 a.m., the time I found myself completely worn out. Vasiliy was constantly on the move with me ten feet behind running to keep up with his ridiculously fast pace. When he was not on the move he was fixing something. There were never any breaks.

Go to the basement of ETRL–build a monitor frame with vesa mounts.
Next stop–sand vesa mounts
Up to the server room–install monitor frame
Back to the 3rd floor of Sloan(help desk)–check email, pick up some files
Delegate task to Daniel
Run up the stairs to the 5th floor of Sloan–Resolve Mat lab issues for faculty
On the way to the ground level of EME–field a question in the elevator
Arrive at destination–Virtual OS install for another faculty
On the way back to the help desk–quick question about an account profile change
At this point I frantically streamlined my apparel and filled up my water bottle, regretting that I had not worn running shoes and yelling, “wait up!”
Down to the basement of Dana–Talk to Gary about setting up his new computer
Reimage/upgrade for a machine
Back to the help desk to drop off the computer
Down to the ground floor of EME–get keys from the boss
Basement of EME–Up on a ladder to check cables–I’m thinking, “I thought IT was supposed to be a desk job.”
Grab the ladder and we are on the move again–Resolve network issues
Back to the help desk–
We stop for a quick picture in the hall with advisor, Linda Howell who calls out “St. Vasiliy thank you for saving my morning!” referring to an event that had taken place earlier before I arrived.
Lower a desk for a staff member and check ports for that room
Confirm switch was configured correctly
The pace quickens (hadn’t thought it was possible). We are on our way back to the basement of ETRL. I take a chug from my water bottle and call out, “Vasiliy, how many miles are we going to walk/run in these halls today?!” He informs me that his daily average is four miles and that what we were experiencing was an average sort of day.–
Make modifications to Vesa mounts
Back to the help desk–Talk with Tony
Down to the server room–Put a server online
I didn’t take a picture each time we went to the server room. I just started whining, “Not the server room again”.
Basement of EME–meeting with new faculty who submitted a request for a server-explain support options

Vasiliy was one of the first people I met when I started working at EECS, which I think is true for most people here. I remember during my first week of work asking him, “What’s going on around here that is cool and unusual?” How ironic that he was the one I asked.

I was only able to keep up for a few hours of Vasiliy’s “average day,” but following him around for a bit confirmed what I have thought since meeting him over a year ago. V is a rare person. His unrelenting drive makes him superior in figuring out how to solve all problems presented to him. He has a machine like work ethic. He is always positive, always humble; never condescending. Watching his interactions with others I realize we all think the same thing, “I am so glad Vasiliy’s got my back.”


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