Wendy McGee, an executive with IBM’s Systems and Technology Group, will soon have some of her company’s latest technology to help her preserve the big cats and other carnivores she dearly loves.
IBM and Cisco said Monday that they were partnering to provide the Carnivore Preservation Trust in Pittsboro with server and networking infrastructure in order to provide better care for the CPT’s animal population. IBM and Cisco employees volunteered to implement the tech upgrades.
To McGee, the new technology means she can do more at CPT.
“I love the CPT’s mission to help endangered animals and I enjoy the caring atmosphere CPT has,” McGee told WRAL Local Tech Wire. “With a full time job at IBM in RTP and a mother of small twin boys you can imagine that I am quite busy but I feel it is so important to really give back to the community for something you feel strongly about.
“As an IBM On Demand Community volunteer, which is my company’s organization that encourages fellow IBMers like me to volunteer with non profits in their communities, it only seemed natural I can help out CPT – not only with the care of the endangered animals but with IT.
“With my technology background I knew IBM could offer the IT that would make a world of difference. Cisco helped in this joint donation and I am glad we all worked together to help make it happen.”
The CPT, which was founded in 1981, is the home for 85 animals. McGee is just one of 100 volunteers who help nurse back to health and then maintain a good quality of life for the carnivores.
Cisco and IBM are equipping the CPT with voice, video and Web networking capabilities. The center, which relies on donations to run its operation, didn’t even have voicemail. Now it has a new wired and wireless network and a cluster of “System x” IBM servers.
“CPT really had outdated IT, no voice mail, failing servers, spotty Internet access so the sanctuary was not able to move forward on special projects or operate efficiently,” McGee said.
“After learning about the technology upgrade CPT needed, I helped manage a team of volunteers to help modernize its operations. IBM helped CPT deploy a clustered server solution based on IBM System x servers. Cisco came in and redesigned a local area network within the administration building, both wired and wireless. … The technology we implemented is really key to forwarding diagnostic care and remote medicine which can be applied to other organizations and businesses in the future.
“All of this new voice, video and web technology is dramatically improving the care the CPT staff and volunteers like me give the exotic carnivores,” McGee added. “I know that CPT has experienced a 100 percent boost in productivity. CPT can now focus on caring for the animals, while also contributing time to educational programs to prevent animal endangerment.”
More technology is coming, too. A video surveillance system will soon be added to help improve security at the CPT, which covers 55 acres. The CPT also can use the network to link with donors, veterinarians and researchers.
The equipment already installed has had a dramatic improvement on worker and volunteer productivity, according to Pam Faulk, the center’s executive director.
“Our staff and volunteers can now focus on caring for the animals, while also dramatically boosting educational programs to help these animals out in captivity and in the wild,” she added in a statement.
The technology will better enable McGee to enjoy her “passion” of working with the CPT.
“These animals are really amazing,” she said. “I have always been a huge animal lover – it’s a passion of mine!
“At CPT you actually have the opportunity to be so close to a 750-pound tiger and learn so much about it! I often think to myself, when I volunteer there on a weekend morning, who in the world can do this right now? Right here in North Carolina! It truly is regal to be so close to these animals.”
McGee also hopes the CPT will continue to educate people about the animals and the importance of their preservation.
“I enjoy my volunteer work at CPT because I know they are doing the right thing,” she explained. “The business of exotic and wild animals as pets in the United States is conservatively estimated to be worth $15 billion annually. And these road side zoos are just terrible. CPT takes good care of the animals for life and we provide education. The work CPT does helps the community, helps animal research and that to me is really fulfilling.”