Staff Spotlight: Eli Wisnievitz
If you’ve visited the Front Desk recently, you’ve probably run into Eli, who recently joined our staff in the role of Front Desk and Receiving Support. We thought the Free Geek community might like to get to know Eli a bit, so we sat down to ask him a few questions.
*How long have you been with Free Geek, and what were you doing before you joined the staff here?
- I have been working at Free Geek for just over 2 months, and it has been fantastic. Before Free Geek, I worked at The Walking Company which is a comfort and arch support footwear store. Previous to that, I was an office assistant to the Food Service Director at Mount Hood Community College. I’ve also been known to teach Tennis during the summer, but it’s been a few years since I did that!
*What do you enjoy most about working at the Front Desk?
- The front desk is a great place to meet and interact with the volunteers and donors. These people are the most important individuals that contribute to Free Geek, either through their hard work in our volunteer areas or by donating their used technology to us. It also is a very positive place to work because many people are thrilled to be able to contribute to our mission. These donors in particular get peace of mind knowing that we ensure chain of custody over the items we recycle, and that once we receive their used technology we will do everything we can to reduce the waste it will create.
*What was your first impression about Free Geek, and what has surprised you about working here?
- I was awed by Free Geek when I started here. From the social perspective, it was clear that Free Geek volunteers truly loved spending their valuable time with us. From a sustainability standpoint, seeing how much effort is put into reuse was very encouraging and exciting. The warehouse is a fantastic place to be directly involved in ethically recycling electronics and keeping harmful chemicals out of the earth.
- I’ve been surprised to discover how many educational opportunities we offer. In each volunteer area I have learned a great deal about various hardware and the relevant components that make them work. On the scholastic side, I am still blown away by quantity and range of classes that we offer to the public for no charge. To me life is a never ending journey of learning, and it is clear that Free Geek aims to be an educational facility for people of all ages and paths.
*What do you wish the average visitor knew about what goes on in the warehouse and production areas behind the Front Desk at Free Geek?
- I think that visitors would become even more amazed with Free Geek if they really understood how important and helpful the volunteer workforce is here. We are truly indebted to the volunteers who have been around for years, have spread the word and have tirelessly given back to the community at large and to Free Geek itself. The literal tons of material we are able to recycle ethically each month are broken down by volunteers. The systems we are able to donate out to individuals and nonprofits are all built by folks who have taken the time to learn from us and volunteer in our build program.
*What is one thing that our readers might be surprised to learn about you?
- I go by Eli (pronounced L-E), but my real name is Elishaya Wisnievitz (First day of class nightmare!) I was supposed to be named after my great grandfather, named Shaya. At the last second my 10-year-old sister insisted that they modify Shaya because it would be too strange. So it is Maya, my dear sister that I can thank for having a fairly simple nick name. I am also the first person in my direct family to be born in the United States and go to a university. While I wasn’t sure how I would fare with a degree in Philosophy and Religion, I knew that the ideas and discussions I had at Boston University would always impact how I viewed the world in a positive manner. My family is from Mexico and I enjoy practicing my Spanish with volunteers and some staff members here!