Longtime Technology Director Joe Provenza bids farewell to Flagler
Apr 27, 2018
Joe Provenza, the man behind Flagler’s technology curtain, is stepping down from his role as Chief Information Officer today after 18 years at the college. But ask a colleague about his impact, and what you’ll hear has less to do with technological advancements than the director’s legacy of good character and leadership.
“When it comes to dealing with problems, Joe reminds me of the duck gliding across the pond, displaying a calm, even temperament while paddling furiously beneath the water,” said former President Dr. William T. Abare, Jr. “While he is very task-oriented, he always recognized the need to concentrate on people rather than tasks. For this reason, he is well-liked on campus and is highly respected for his tireless efforts.”
This is the sort of response that tears at Provenza’s heart strings.
“There is a culture at Flagler that’s very endearing and familial,” he said. “We are a unique family here, born out of mutual respect for one another. Things are hard for me now, because I get way too attached to people and I’m leaving something I love.”
The decision was not an easy one. But, since Provenza started in 2000, he has been “on” 24 hours a day, seven days a week, responding to potential IT crises and leading the college through major technological changes.
The time had come for something new, a change of pace. An opportunity with Gartner Group, a leading research and advisory firm, presented itself and the offer was one he couldn’t resist. Provenza will be working as an IT analyst, providing insight in his area of expertise to mid-sized organizations.
Dr. Dan Stewart, vice president of Student Services, recounted his colleague’s dedication in making decisions that were always in the best interest of the college. “He looked at everything with a critical eye to make sure the college was getting the best deal and would hold companies accountable on their product,” Stewart said. “I am sure he probably saved us more money than could be accounted for on the balance sheet.”
There were high-level meetings Provenza participated in with Stewart — both members of the President’s Cabinet — that helped shape the trajectory of Flagler, but then there were also meetings within his own Technology Services department that proved to be just as significant. In staff meetings, he counseled and empowered individuals supporting the college’s IT needs.
“He wants his staff to do well and to always remember that we chose this profession in the technology service industry and therefore should take care of our ‘customers’ with care and humility,” said Senior Help Desk Technician Matt Angelo. “When we are having a bad day, he always has the grace to let us vent and then offers kind direction to bring us back down to earth. I believe he truly loves his staff.”
Will Jackson, director of Network and Desktop Support Services, also reports to Provenza and pointed out the importance of relationships to his supervisor. “Joe’s strength is his ability to foster strong relationships,” Jackson said. “It is through these relationships that he can bring people together to accomplish great things.”
When Provenza is not creating synergy on campus, Jackson noted you can still find him helping others outside his Flagler domain. “I remember one rainy day we were walking back to the college after a business lunch,” he said. “We came across two young women trying to huddle under a tiny umbrella. Without even speaking, Joe swapped their tiny umbrella for his big Flagler College umbrella. It’s interactions like this that shows his true nature of being a big-hearted wonderful individual.”
Although Provenza’s last day is today, his family name will continue to have a lasting impression on campus. All four of his children — Emily (an Assistant Registrar at Flagler), Katie, Jimmy and Joe Joe — are alumni and his wife, Melinda, only recently stepped down from her four-year role as Assistant to Chancellor Dr. William Proctor last year.Tagged As