From the time she was 3 or 4 years old, Rebecca L. Byrd was told that the sky was the limit. Her father in particular believed that she could be anything she wanted to be and encouraged her to push herself and work hard at whatever she chose. This was very empowering, especially to a young girl. Ms. Byrd considered her options, and fell in love with technology after touring the State Farms Data Center in Marshall, Michigan, in 1969. She was fascinated by the internal working of the main frame, and even though she was only 13, she felt like she had found her calling.
Ms. Byrd was determined to live up to her potential. She prepared for her endeavors by obtaining an Associate of Applied Science in applied technologies from Augusta Technical College, and enhanced her knowledge by becoming certified in systems and programs like Network+ and Security+, among others. She also became a Microsoft-certified system engineer.
Over the years, Ms. Byrd used what she learned to cement her place in the industry. She distinguished herself in roles like network support specialist and senior webmaster for the Arizona Department of Education and network department lab assistant and computer information instructor at Augusta Technical College, as well as in various contract IT and security positions. Her peers appreciated her willingness to do research to resolve issues and her efforts to improve productivity for staff and improve system functions.
One highlights of Ms. Byrd’s career was recovering traffic light control for Augusta-Richmond County, even though she had never seen traffic light configurations and communications prior. The manufacturer said it couldn’t be done, but she managed to provide a solution that put the lights on a more stable operating system and reprogrammed the syntax for modem connections. Another professional highlight was resolving certificate issues for a large global corporation. Although she had many other successes and accomplishments, these stand out to her because they were outside the normal scope of her positions.
Now in retirement, Ms. Byrd hopes to maintain her connection to her field by performing digital forensics as requested by corporations and law enforcement offices. She also wants to do fiber arts and both sell the products and donate them to charities. Her hobbies outside of her work include water sports, bird watching, tennis, golf, gardening, and supporting organizations in her community. Ms. Byrd has been donating to United Way since 2004, and has donated food to Golden Harvest, toys to Toys for Tots, and school supplies to local schools. In 2016, she organized a special purchase that included 130 bicycles.