Information Technology Specialist
Kevin R. Dahl
B.S. Computer Science
Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES
My position at the Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (NPARL) deals with many different aspects. I am the network administrator, in which I oversee our Local Area Network (LAN) that is made up of 6 fast Ethernet switches connected by a fiber optic backbone. I am the systems administrator, which involves maintaining and upgrading hardware and software for our 3 servers, 70 workstations, 25 laptops, and 6 network printers. I am a computer specialist, in which I provide to the scientists at the Location, a better means of getting their work done by replacing older and outdated methods and technology with new and innovative methods and technology. I am the security administrator, which involves maintaining the security and integrity of our network by protecting all aforementioned equipment from malicious attackers. I provide end-user support for our 55 permanent employees, as well as the 15-20 temporary employees who we have working here throughout the year. I am the webmaster for the Location, in which I oversee the creation and development of all (currently 10) of our websites. And last but not least, I research, suggest, and approve the purchasing of all IT equipment for the Location to ensure that interoperability and compatibility are maintained.
I am a member of the Consolidated Assistance, Review and Evaluation (CARE) team. The CARE team is made up of distinguished ARS administrative personnel who are selected by headquarters to participate. This group of people travels throughout the nation to other ARS Locations and reviews their administrative processes. If there are problems, the CARE team provides guidance to help the administrative personnel at the Location deliver the services it is set out to deliver.
I am also a member of the Northern Plains Area (NPA) Diversity Taskforce. The goal of this taskforce is to promote a diverse workforce throughout the Northern Plains Area.
Tightening network security at the Location by adding to our "Defense in Depth" strategy.
Developing Location usage policies and Security Best Practice policies.
I joined the USDA-ARS in the summer of '93, right out of high school. I started college in the fall and continued to work for ARS in the student co-op program. After receiving my college degree, my position was changed, and I immediately started working full time as a computer specialist. I have gained a wealth of knowledge over the past 9 years while working for the government, and I've been able to attend many training classes, which include the following:
Novell Groupwise 5.5 Advanced Administration Certification (1999)
Novell Netware 5 Advanced Administration Certification (1999)
CheckPoint 2000 Firewall-1/VPN training -- Attended CCSA and CCSE courses (2000)
SANS 2000 Security Conference in Monterey, CA -- Attended the following: Track 1 - Security Essentials, and Track 4 - Incident Handling and Hacker Exploits (2000)
SANS 2001 Security Conference in San Diego, CA -- Attended Track 5 - Windows Security Certification (2001)