This TXRX Community Spotlight piece introduces you to Donnie O’Neil. When he’s not undertaking his bi-annual pilgrimages to Disneyland or occupied with all-things-Disney, he’s TXRX’s Lab Manager. Between keeping an eye on day-to-day lab organization and educating the community about the lab’s mission, he’s another fine example of the people that make our community a special place to be.
How did you get involved with TXRX?
I visited TXRX when Katie (Makerspace Director) started working here, and I thought it was such a cool place. She originally asked me to come over to help with organizational tasks. We went to lab areas to move things around, extended out areas of the wood shop, and just kind of made sure that all the areas were clean and organized. Additionally, we created a checklist system to keep things in order by collecting info and working with the shop managers.
Where did your touch for organizational skills begin?
Basically, I was working at a high school as an assistant to the technical network specialist and after about 3 years one of the deans transferred to another school. He asked me to go over there and I went. I had worked in HISD as a tech for about 12 years, and they started a program where they gave every student a laptop. It was an organizational nightmare at first; a trial by fire. I had been doing organizational things for a while, and she (Katie) knew that I had to keep track of thousands of students. They had a similar need, so she asked if I wanted the job.
TXRX has a motto of innovation, education, and collaboration? How do you see your role as exemplifying this?
I am trying to help in figuring out how to reach other members of the community. I try to be very thorough in answering any email questions from the community. A lot of people will show up off the street, so I give a lot of tours.
Really it’s trying to figure out who is coming to TXRX now, which changes every time. We do orientation every week, and now I try to do a questionnaire so we can find more about the people who are coming. We also do the same with the mailing list so we can learn what people want to learn about and we can kind of tailor our communication with them. It’s basically working to figure out what people want from TXRX and making sure they know it’s available.
As someone who often has to explain what TXRX is all about, what would you like the community to know?
I think when a lot of people show up off the street they’re surprised with how much stuff we have and how much we offer. Whenever I take them across the street to the jewelry and ceramics studios, they’re really surprised. I think a lot of people who come in think it’s for professionals and not hobbyists, but most of the people we have here are hobbyist. Anyone who wants to learn can come, and you don’t need to be a professional.
To learn more about TXRX Labs and how you can join the community reach out to Donnie at email@example.com