‘Just Do You’ profiles FVSU’s Lawrence Chow

July 27, 2011 – Fort Valley State University’s ‘Triathlete,’ Min Tau Lawrence Chow always leaves smiles and laughter in every office throughout campus.
“He’s very conscientious about his work and the finished product. He does a very good job of capturing all aspects of everything he does to make sure it’s as accurate as possible,” said Dr. Donta Truss, interim director of FVSU’s Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness.

In this week’s “Just Do You” column, Chow, the multi-talented data manager and associate director for institutional research, sat down with marketing and communications’ intern Mark Walker, to discuss the journey that led him to Wildcat Country and how he spends his time off the clock.

Mr. Chow where are you from?

I’m originally from the island/city/state of Singapore in Southeast Asia.; not in China. (Laughing)

How was your transition from Singapore to the United States?

It wasn’t much of a cultural adjustment. Singapore is a multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-lingual society and I was exposed to the many aspects of the American culture when I was a young kid.

What brought you to the states?

I moved to Dayton, Ohio to attend Wright States University from 1995-1999, where I graduated with a degree in management information systems.

What did you do after graduation?

I worked as an IT systems administrator for Panalpina Worldwide, a multi-national logistics company in Switzerland, before quitting my job to come back to the states to be with my wife.

I worked several jobs in Ohio until my wife graduated college. Then, she was looking for a job and was offered one in California; but she turned it down because we didn’t like the traffic and the cost of living (laughing). Then they asked her to come to Warner Robins [Georgia]. We were like “Where is Warner Robins?” She took the job and we made the transition here in 2002.

In Warner Robins, I worked as a bookkeeper for an off-base military housing project before landing a job with Alcoa’s North America Data Center as an account administration manager in Americus, Ga. After the business unit was outsourced to India and Hungary, I joined the staff at South Georgia Technical College as an adjunct computer information systems instructor in Americus, Ga. I taught introduction to microcomputers and Microsoft Office Suite. From 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. I worked as a contractor for Hewlett-Packard-CVS Pharmacy’s network expansion project.

How did end up at Fort Valley State University?

I yearned to return to a non-contract position in IT. I came across the network specialist position on the FVSU website, so I applied and got the job. I started here as the network specialist on March 2, 2009, and was promoted to data manager/associate director on August 1, 2010.

What are your interests outside of work?

One of the things that interest me is endurance sports, like marathons and triathlons. I’m also a volunteer with the Community Emergency Response Team in Houston County; I’ve been with them since 2009. I also like cooking, baking and playing the piano.

When was the last time you participated in a marathon?

I ran the Museum of Aviation marathon in January 2011. In March, I ran the Snickers marathon in Albany, Ga. and the Publix Georgia marathon in Atlanta.

You mentioned Ironman, what is that?

The Ironman triathlon, in Louisville, is a 2.4-mile swim in the Ohio River, immediately followed by a 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run with a cut-off time of 17 hours.

Where do you hope to place in this year’s event?

Other than professional triathletes, most participants compete against themselves. My personal goal is to successfully complete the event.

Why is it so important for you to complete Ironman?

Good question. (Laughs). It’s a personal test of how much I can push myself in new areas. It also helps me set goals and stay healthy. Before I started competing, I had very bad asthma, I was on all kinds of medications and I couldn’t even stand straight because I was coughing so much. Two or three years after I started training, I went back to the doctor and he told me I didn’t have asthma anymore. That’s a statement of what it means to push myself, I was a couch potato before, but now I’m healthier and more active.

What are some of your future plans?

I was ranked in the USA Triathlon All-American in my age group in 2009 before suffering from a back injury; so, I’d like to re-establish my ranking. This year, I plan to successfully complete my first Ironman triathlon in August in Louisville, Ky. The following month, I’ll run the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio and run the Soldier Marathon in Columbus, Ga. in November.

Career wise, I have a great passion for my job at Fort Valley State University. I will continue being a valuable asset in recommending and merging technical and business flows. In October, I will represent FVSU by conducting a workshop on ‘Pivot tables, techniques and formulas for data analysis in Excel 2010’ at the 2011 Southern Association of Institutional Researchers (SAIR) conference in Atlanta, Ga.
“Just Do You” is a periodic column that features profiles of FVSU staff, faculty and students. If you’d like to recommend the next JDY feature, contact Vickie Oldham at (478) 825-6319 or oldhamv@fvsu.edu.