Education is key: Eric Rodriguez’s journey from music store employee to web team
A San Antonio native from the south side of town, Eric Rodriguez always knew education would be his ticket to progress and thriving in the work he does.
Eric’s background includes an array of experience, including musical instrument repair, construction work, military duty and hospitality (to name a few); all jobs that have molded him into the well-rounded leader he is today for UT Health San Antonio’s Web Team. He has taken experiences from each of his previous roles and implemented them into his vital role at the University.
Jokingly, he says his shift from something like construction work to working in front of a computer was by design, “I was tired of working outside. I wanted something in the A/C.” Jokes aside, Eric knew that his work ethic and progression anywhere would be a result of his education.
“I’ve always wanted to be as useful as possible, and I think at some point you realize you have more to offer but no one is going to give you a chance unless you checked off some boxes. I’ve always taken a lot of ownership over the work I do.”
Eric enlisted on January 2, 2009, for Basic Army training at Fort Leonardwood in the Missouri Ozarks. That was where he conducted Advanced Individual Training in Motor Vehicle Operations. He moved on to finish the Logistics Corp. program in June of 2009.
Shortly after returning to Texas after being stationed to Fort Hood, he married his wife Anna, also of San Antonio.
He was deployed from June 2010 through July 2011 and was one of nine Americans stationed with Spanish Special Forces at a military base in Afghanistan. His team provided ground security and support for U.S. and NATO aviation forces.
Upon his return to the U.S., he was reassigned to support the office operations of a 1st Cavalry unit where he was tasked with creating digital trackers and reports associated with personnel fitness, health care, leave and progression for their company. He managed schedules and other administrative tasks for the platoon leader and company commander. Also, after deployment, he received his third promotion to the rank of E-4 Specialist and was assigned as squad leader. Eric was honorably discharged on June 2, 2012.
Eric and his wife returned to San Antonio and he enrolled at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) to pursue a business degree. He soon decided to change his major to Computer Information Systems with a specialization in network security.
While taking evening and weekend classes, Eric returned to work for his Grandfather’s music shop, which he speaks fondly of:
“I still miss the camaraderie and being with my family and everything to this day. I realize that I have a degree and I should use it, there is that. We always had a lot of fun there, and I learned a lot, not just about music instrument repairs but about people, relationships and integrity in general.”
Eric attributes those lessons to his father and grandfather and he still looks up to them, stating “They kind of laid that foundation for me.”
That foundation is apparent in Eric’s leadership and relationships within our institution.
“You learn how to treat people right and that kind of carries you through whatever environment. I have made more of an effort to just realize that I am not the expert probably, in every professional situation. I take my cues from my leadership and the people I trust, but I think what guides me is trying to be honest and factual, even if I mess up the wording of it, we’re all headed in the right direction if I am just being as honest as I can be.“
In his senior year at UIW, Eric began an internship at UT Health San Antonio with the Web Team where he modified WebLife’s large project methodology to accommodate smaller projects he was developing and managing. After obtaining his degree, he was hired into the Project Portfolio Management and Delivery office as an IT Process Analyst and then IT Project Manager.
He is now back on the Web Team as the Manager of Web Initiatives.
Now back on the Web Team as Manager of Web Initiatives, Eric has come full circle from his years at the music shop with customers to building relationships with UT Health San Antonio’s constituents. It is no surprise that implementing all of his relationship skills is a passion for him.
“I really enjoy meeting with people and helping them meet their specific needs. That’s not just in my job, that’s with my friends, with my family, I really enjoy getting people in a better place. Even for myself, that was one of my driving factors; to keep progressing, keep getting better, keep making things better for my family, whether that is just me and my wife or my extended family.”
If you are curious as to whether all those years in a music shop would mean he has some killer musical talent, you are correct. He started out with piano lessons, then guitar and was also in marching band and jazz band in school. Even with all of this talent in his background, he remains humble.
“I still keep up with it now, I play mostly guitar at home. Nothing professional or professional-esque. I mostly just annoy people who can hear me.”
Eric’s free time is minimal, as he is now in a full-time masters program at Texas A&M San Antonio, but when he has extra downtime you can find him at most of his nephew’s soccer games.