For Andrew Carlyon, one of Twin Valley’s newest service technicians, taking things apart and putting them back together is something he’s always found fascinating. He likes the challenge of figuring out “what makes something tick.” One of the first things Andrew remembers completely taking apart, then rebuilding, was a computer given to him as a Christmas gift from his parents. He was 15 years old.
“I just wanted to know how it worked. I didn’t get it all put back together at first and it was apart longer than it should’ve been,” Andrew recalls. “Eventually, though, I got it up and working.”
That is the only computer he’s owned that was pre-built. Since then, he’s built all his own computers as well as for others.
“I’ve probably built about 10 computers in the past two years – for my parents, my dad’s business, my grandparents, and a few friends,” Andrew said.
Hard work and on the job training
In high school, Andrew worked for his dad’s business, Carlyon & Sons, Inc., an excavating contractor in Junction City. Andrew said the biggest lesson he learned from his dad, John, was hard work. As the youngest and most inexperienced person on the crew he was frequently “on a shovel in the hole.”
“In that line of work, my dad runs equipment like a backhoe or excavator. It can only dig so far down and then other crew members dig out the rest of it little by little, being extra careful not to hit buried cables, water lines, and that kind of thing. It’s an expensive repair to hit something like that,” Andrew said.
During that same time, Andrew’s technical interests grew as he learned computer aided drafting and design (CAD). He enjoyed it so much that he went to Manhattan Area Technical College and earned his associates degree in Computer Aided Drafting and Design. After graduating, Andrew then went to work for Killion Communications Consulting as a contract employee.
“I was an engineering assistant for Killion. I spent a lot of time drawing maps for cable placement but was out in the field from time to time,” Andrew explains of the work. “I didn’t work much on new development areas just the pre-existing areas that needed cable lines moved or replaced.”
Working for Twin Valley
“After working there about two years, I realized I didn’t want to sit at a desk all day, every day. My dad had been putting in lines for Twin Valley and eventually, someone mentioned to my brother there was a field tech position open. I interviewed and here I am,” Andrew explains. “All the time I spent working with my dad and, then working as an engineer, prepared me for this position.”
Since joining Twin Valley in September, most of his work has been primarily business installs in Junction City, although he has been out to a few homes setting up new customers and helping troubleshoot connection issues.
“I really like Twin Valley and the work I do, and I want to continue working with them,” Andrew said. “I like that I’m out in the field instead of sitting behind a desk. Every job is different. With any installation, what makes it interesting to me is figuring out how to go from point A to point B in the smartest way possible.”
Installation and Repair Manager Todd Dannenberg explains, “Andrew is a mild-mannered guy who goes above and beyond to exceed our customers’ expectations. He has been responsible for most of the installs that have gone on in Junction City, specifically in the downtown district, these old limestone buildings can be a real challenge. He takes on every install with a good attitude and doesn’t give up until he gets the work done. I think the customers have noticed how much effort some of these installs take over the traditional installation.”
Hobbies, fish and frogs
When he’s not at work, Andrew keeps himself busy in a variety of ways: reading, 3D printing, riding motorcycles, fishing and more.
His pets also demand his attention, but Andrew says, “not nearly as much as dogs do.” In fact, Andrew has an entire room in his home dedicated to his pets – nine frogs and more than 100 fish. “I have 20-30 different types of fish, mainly freshwater, in several tanks ranging from 10 to 55 gallon. I’d like to get a larger fish tank someday, but I’m not sure the floor of my place would support it.”
Of all the fish and frogs he owns, his favorite are the three fire bellied toads, because he owned them as a kid. Found in part of China as well as North and South Korea, fire bellied toads are poisonous and secrete toxins from their skin. When threatened, Andrew explains, they rise up on their front legs revealing the bright colored belly as if advertising to predators such as foxes, snakes and lizards “eat me and you might croak.”
If you get the chance to meet Andrew, you won’t be short of interesting topics to discuss – whether it be motorcycles, tech, or poisonous toads. You could even place your bet on how many aquariums will push his floors to the breaking point.