An Interview with Mr. Flores: OP’s Newest Technology Advisor


Alexander Jansiewicz, Staff Writer

Within these recent weeks that school reopened, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with one of the newest, most interesting staff members at Oratory Prep: Mr. Flores. Mr. Flores is OP’s newest Technology Advisor alongside Mr. Yoo. With OP having just reopened in the midst of a pandemic, technology has become a larger facet in the standards of OP’s day-to-day operations. In my interview with him, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him and learning the very interesting things that define him.

Where are you from?

In my background, I’m Hispanic, I’m from Puerto Rico, where my family comes from. I grew up in New York City, in the Bronx; I did all of my schooling there up until my junior year. By then, my mother had moved to New Jersey; then, I graduated from Sayreville War Memorial. After high school, I went to college for two years in Puerto Rico. After that, I came back and started working in IT and went to Middlesex. I decided to go the “certification route” and got my MTA(Microsoft Technology Associate), my MCP(Microsoft Certified Professional), and my Cisco Basics certifications. After that, I started working.

Where did you get your experience, and how was that like?

At least in IT, the experience holds a lot of weight. When I worked my first job at PC Warehouse, in Edison, I had 3 people working underneath me; while interviewing them, the experience they had was incomparable to education. I needed to actually think like someone who wants to solve a puzzle. Many very educated people, nothing against them, they like to go through steps like it’s chemistry, where everything is done in a certain way, or else you screw up. In IT, however, I give you a problem: you and I don’t know anything about it. My job is to break it down into simple steps and try to solve it independently. I saw that people who had that experience had a similar mindset, where they try to break apart very complicated problems and navigate through it. That’s the ideology that I hold myself to today.

What would you say is your favorite part about OP, so far?

It’s a very big difference, especially since I’ve never worked at a school; even being called Mr. Flores is something I’m getting used to. At my previous job, this food service company where I worked for two years, everything was very negative. Everybody was like “Run while you still can!” Here, it’s was almost the exact opposite; all of the teachers, administrators, and staff told me “You’re going to love it here!” The positivity here, even with the students, has been astronomically different compared to any other environment that I’ve worked at. Even when I’ve done consulting at tax offices, medical offices, and such, the energy is very different. Overall, the energy here is overwhelmingly positive!

What do you like doing in your spare time? Any hobbies?

I have a bunch! I do an aquarium hobby, and I have a tank with primarily all plants. I’m following a different style of maintaining the tank called the Walstad method, which involves just the fish tank, a powerhead to circulate water, and I top it all off. I feed the fish, yet I don’t change the water. The plants in the tank provide oxygen to the fish. The idea is that it’s supposed to emulate a natural life cycle. You’d never think that science would really matter, right? But you have the nitrogen cycle, carbon cycle, flows of oxygen, photosynthesis, etc. You have all these things going on in a fish tank, and you’re responsible for what goes on inside it; you’re their creator and control everything that happens. It’s very interesting, and I have 4 of those tanks! I’ve even set up one for my mother as well. It’s interesting to witness nature go through its course; it’s awesome.

Secondly, I ride a motorcycle, so I do a little bit of track. It’s not usually the IT person thing to do, but I’m very out there!

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

I would probably say the motorcycle thing. Anytime I go somewhere, they expect the IT person to be stuck behind a screen with glasses on and stuff. 

Generally, this isn’t typically socially acceptable, but I do shooting sports. I do a lot of target shooting and stuff like that. I also try and do it competitively, and that’s another world! It’s very cool.

Are there any goals at the moment for OP in terms of technology?

At the moment, I’ve been talking to [Mr. Yoo], trying to point out some quality of life stuff, but I think it’s still too early for me to answer something like that. There’s a bunch of steps at the moment. It’s always a little bit of quality of life fixes, and fixing current issues. At the moment, I need to figure out your environment, and see where I can do some quality of life stuff. At my other place, for example, there was an inch-thick hiring packet; I said “Why don’t we scan this into Adobe, use digital signatures, and all that stuff?” Now, their packet is much thinner. Once you target the problem areas, then you can really start to develop everything.

Do you have any pieces of advice, tech-wise or not, for our students?

I see that there is a great importance in school, especially in terms of finishing college. One of the biggest deciding factors between me upgrading and moving jobs was my degree: if the person had a degree, they’d get the job. Ultimately, [Mr. Yoo] placed this trust in me. Right now, in this current world, stay in school! I was never a bright student growing up; moving out of that and seeing the growth, I think everyone here has a great opportunity!