“Let’s see if we can get the white balance adjusted on here for you, that should fix the problem.”
Sitting in front of me, Ken Kniskern tinkers with our MarCom office Canon. Our designer and I stand awkwardly and embarrassed, as said camera had been attempting to outwit both of us since the start of this interview- and succeeding.
“It is so nice of you to help us,” our designer says with a laugh. “We can always come by another time to snap the picture?”
“No worries,” he assures us both, “helping people is my job.”
Indeed it is. Ken is who we refer to as “the Head Helper.” Being the Innovation and Operations Lead at IT Services, Ken hires, trains and guides our 325-HELP desk employees, teaching them how to best handle customer service relations. From responding to snarky tweets to peace keeping, Ken keeps It Solutions running smoothly. With a background in management and interpersonal communication, Ken is a great fit for this position, but that’s not the only thing that makes Ken a cool cat.
What’s a weird or interesting fact about yourself?
I’ve been a storm chaser for the past seventeen years. I don’t have any sort of meteorology degree or anything. There was a big tornado in May of ’99 that I followed and after that I was hooked.
Was this inspired by the then recent release of Twister? You a big Bill Paxton fan?
*laughs* No, no it’s just a lot of fun to do. Sometimes when I can’t get out to chase, and I have to watch the storm radar on TV it’s just torture.
What do you have to do in order to chase storms effectively and safely? Well, as safely as possible?
I have a crew I take with me who does videography and watches the radar. It’s hard to do all of that by yourself while you’re trying drive and-
Divert from the path of a tornado?
Exactly. You can watch my storm chasing videos up on Periscope! KKniskern, or on my website k2prostudio.com.
What movie has made you weep the most in your life?
Marley and Me. That movie killed me, with the necklace.
What about music, what are you listening to?
I’m old school, so I’ve always loved Pearl Jam and Metallica. But I also like chill electronica.
What is something you hate?
I hate baseball. I hate it so much.
That’s just un-American.
It’s true though. I hate baseball, specifically T-Ball. If the rules are the same as they were in 1986, you need 15 strikes in order to strike out. Then people just laugh.
Whoop, there it is…
I do like to throw a football around with my sons though. Sometimes my wife gets onto us for throwing it around in the house..
I noticed you have a “best Dad ever award” on your wall! How many kiddos do you have?
I have two boys–Barrick and Brendan. They’re a lot of fun. You should see them when we go storm chasing, they get so into it it’s hilarious. “Looks like there’s some rain over that way, Dad!” It’s so cute.
Family man, storm chaser, Apple genius, photographer- Ken Kniskern, ladies and gentlemen. (Thanks Ken!)