All Systems Go
Cole Maddox joined HKIS as Director of Information Technology in September 2021, joining our community with his wife and high-school aged kids. Responsible for all backend systems helping to operate the school, Cole’s role directly impacts the school’s strategic goal to improve processes and practices for decision making using technology and data. We sat down with Cole to find out more about the man behind the scenes. He oversees a growing IT Department of 16 people including software developers, network and server administrators, systems analysts, AV and event specialists, as well as the Help Desk. The IT Department, in turn, supports all of the school's technology systems including Google Suite, PowerSchool SIS, and Schoology, all used to keep learning at HKIS running smoothly. Keep an eye on this spaceCole hard at work at his desk in Tai Tam.Where are you from, and what is your professional background?
I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and attended Oglethorpe University. While on a gap year from university, I started working for Netcom Online Services, one of the first Internet providers, and I helped build out their points-of-presence, which were large banks of modems that people used to connect to the Internet. When I returned to university, I took part in a Microsoft certification program, which I would later lead, and from there, I went into consulting before finally moving into education. My first job in educational technology was at Oglethorpe University. I then went from Oglethorpe to The Westminster Schools, then to Pomona College, and now to HKIS.

What have you loved the most about Hong Kong so far?
How green it is. Where I grew up in Georgia, it was very green – tons of trees and plants. In the four years before moving to Hong Kong, we lived in Southern California on the edge of a desert, so there were no tall trees and very few plants. This created a scorching and dry environment, like an oven, which was unpleasant during the day. Hong Kong is very similar to where I grew up in that trees and greenery are abundant, and getting out and walking the hills reminds me a lot of home.

You're an IT guy. What is the coolest "geek" toy you've encountered?
Tough question. One of the reasons I was attracted to IT was the abundance of “geek” toys, and over time, they have only become more abundant. Drones and Resin 3D printers are among my favorite toys at the moment. Teams are doing exciting work with drone swarms, both for work and entertainment. Resin 3D printers allow for incredible detail and create very smooth prints, although the handling and cleanup of a resin printer are a bit more challenging and not for the novice.

The HKIS mascot is a dragon. What qualities of a dragon do you have?
Dragons have…an interesting list of characteristics. Of these, I would say that I am quietly competitive. I am not boisterous, but when I am playing a game, I do want to win, and I will work very hard to do so. I do not enjoy losing, and if I do lose, I’ll typically want a rematch to redeem myself, and this competitiveness is especially evident in card games and board games, but it is also what has driven me in my professional career.
Cole and his family play a game at home.