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Inside DELTA: 5 Questions with Leonard Brothers

Classroom Support Technician Leonard Brothers sitting in the DELTA Central Control Room

As a graduate of NC State, Classroom Support Technician Leonard Brothers has worked with DELTA for almost 18 years. He is currently with the Innovative Learning Spaces and Support (ILSS) team (formerly the Video Communication Services team). We asked him a few questions to learn more about his day-to-day activities with DELTA as well as how he likes to spend his time outside of the office.

What is your background?

Originally from Hartford, Connecticut, Brothers graduated from NC State in December 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and a minor in Africana studies. He also completed a video production certificate program at a professional digital studio arts college in 2006 and 2007. 

“Before I came to work for DELTA, I actually worked on a video production team for another group on campus called Communication Services, which is the media outlet for CALS at NC State,” Brothers said. “I got that job as part of a work study program my junior year here and kept it for a few years after graduating. While I was working there, I learned about video shoots, editing and other production tasks. We also had connections with other sites on campus, which is how I started talking to people from DELTA.”

How would you describe your role at DELTA?

Working with the ILSS team, Brothers is responsible for recording classes for online sections. Brothers admits that when asked what he does in his job, he usually just tells people that he records Online and Distance Education classes at NC State. But his role goes far beyond that!

“When I was first hired, we had to go to rooms that had full control rooms to record classes,” Brothers said. “We recorded and published from digital encoders, and we made DVD and VHS copies as backups. Nowadays, we record remotely from our Central Control Room (CCR) in Ricks Hall.”

Currently, a typical day for Brothers involves arriving on campus as early as 7:15 am and making his way to the CCR to ensure that all the equipment and systems needed are operational in time for the day’s classes to begin.

“After my console is set up appropriately, I select the room or rooms I need to set up on and open their encoders on Panopto. From there it’s a matter of checking cameras, mic levels and so on that might need to be done before the instructor arrives,” Brothers explained. “After the instructor arrives and as we approach start time for a class that needs recording, I confirm whether they’re ready to begin. If they are, I’ll hit record and let them know when Panopto is recording. In some cases, they might need extra time before starting, for example if there’s a quiz or an announcement they don’t want on the recording. Then, at the end of class, I stop the recording and, if needed, save any annotated notes.”

Classroom Support Technician Leonard Brothers working in the DELTA Central Control Room
Brothers setting up his console for the day in the DELTA Central Control Room.

While the class is recording, Brothers keeps an eye on everything to make sure things look and sound good. When there is an issue or if the instructor needs some type of assistance, Brothers is there to answer questions, troubleshoot or problem solve, switch sources, and so on as needed. 

What is your favorite experience at DELTA?

When we asked Brothers to name a specific stand-out project in his time with DELTA, he instead spoke to the overall teamwork his coworkers consistently provide. He is often impressed that even in stressful moments, they can discern how to move forward when a project doesn’t go as planned.

“I always take pride in my and our team’s ability to rise to the occasion and figure things out if something goes wrong,” Brothers said. “For example, a few semesters ago we were in the CCR recording the first classes of the day when some classrooms lost audio because of something that happened to the audio bridge. In that moment, it was pretty crazy because those rooms lost audio out of nowhere, and we didn’t know why or how to fix it. But we put our heads together and figured out a way to make it work. I’ve experienced several moments like that over the years, but we always find a way to get on base and eventually bring it home!”

Brothers appreciates his time spent on video projects but among his favorite memories in the last 18 years with DELTA are also his experiences at InfoComm, the largest professional audiovisual trade show in North America.

“I was actually at InfoComm this June, and it was my fourth time attending the event,” Brothers said. “I’ve now been to Las Vegas twice and Orlando twice; this year we met in Orlando. One of the cool things about this conference is the chance to see new technologies, meet new people, and take some really interesting classes and seminars. Plus, the conference being in Vegas and Orlando means we get to have some fun too!”

What do you enjoy most about your job?

When Brothers first began working with DELTA, he was excited to meet in person some of the people he had worked with in his previous role, especially Bob Klein, technology support analyst. 

“It was pretty cool to actually meet Bob in person,” Brothers said. “He’s a really nice guy, and he’s great at what he does. I really enjoy the camaraderie with my coworkers. We all get along, and we communicate very well. We’ve got a really good group, and they help make those 8-10 hours on the clock a lot easier. I also enjoy working on projects with the video production team. I haven’t gotten the chance to do much of that the last couple years, but production will always be something I enjoy.”

Brothers also found a curious physical connection between his first job at NC State and his job with DELTA.

“An interesting thing about my two jobs is that when I worked with CALS Communication Services they had just just built their new building and were moving out of Ricks Hall,” Brothers explained. “And Ricks Hall eventually became the home of ILSS!”

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Like most of us, Brothers enjoys getting out of the house in his spare time.

“I enjoy going to restaurants, movies, museums, comedy shows and sporting events. (I haven’t been to a game in a while; that needs to change, lol!),” Brothers said. “I also enjoy just hanging around the house and watching TV or listening to music or a podcast.”

Brothers in 2019 at an NC State homecoming event sponsored by the Black Alumni Society.

“I really enjoy cooking. I could do some basic cooking before the pandemic, but while we were all stuck at home, I decided to really step up my game and get much better as a cook. So, since then I’ve gotten a lot better at it, and it’s one of my favorite things to do now. I don’t really have a specialty dish, but over time I’ve gotten pretty good at making things like chili, pot roast, pad Thai, fried rice and other comfort foods.”

Brothers at home perfecting his cooking skills.