Defined by Our Futures | Meet John, Desktop Repair Technician at REPOWERED

John, holding a desktop computer in Test and Repair

This week for our We Are Repowered campaign we had the privilege of connecting with two of our Test & Repair team members.

We hope you enjoyed reading Grant’s story! Now, it is our pleasure to introduce John, Desktop Repair Technician at Repowered.

John is a detail-oriented storyteller with passion for technology, especially legacy audio equipment. He originally was hired on as a Work Readiness Employee, and has recently transitioned to a permanent staff member. 

John processes desktops, which he usually gets by the pallet load. “Some are in near excellent condition, and some are in deplorable condition. Either way, we accept them, we open them up, remove the hard drive,” says John. “Any components that have data are also removed to be erased so that we are in compliance with our NAID certification.” 

He expands, “We then test the computer, and if it passes the the hardware testing, we go ahead and clean it up. The desktop is either broken down to the component level and the parts are sorted and recycled, or it’s refurbished and sent off to either the eCommerce store or retail store to be resold.” 

John shared that some days he is handling up to 27 computers. Out of that batch, he estimates that maybe six of them are able to be resold. “The positive is that, of those 21 computers that can’t be resold, all of them can be broken down to the component level and the parts are saved to be recycled or reused,” John adds. 

John in a safety vest using a screwdriver to disassemble a computer tower

John is certainly a detail-oriented person. “You have to have a high attention to detail to get in and clean these electronics,” he says matter-of-factly. “You’d be amazed how much dirt and debris get into computers.” 

John shares that he really enjoys working at Repowered. While his past employers had taken advantage of him because of the fact that he’d been previously incarcerated, Repowered has helped him move forward in many ways. 

“I didn’t have money for bus fare or train fare, so they gave me a 30-day pass so that I could get to work,” John says. “When I finally had enough money set aside where I could look into getting a car, Repowered provided me with a microgrant to help me get a vehicle.” 

He went on to explain how everyone was so excited for him to have a car after not having had one for years. “Everyone asked, ‘What do you call the car?’ And I said, well, it’s Fred the Wonder Car!” he says with a grin. 

After moving from the Work Readiness Program to a permanent staff member, John wants to ensure that his fellow coworkers understand his dedication and commitment to the work. “Repowered may be non-profit, but we are for getting the job done,” he says. It’s important to John that the work is done quickly and that it provides customers with a high-quality product. 

John is always keeping himself busy. When he’s done with his daily checklist, he always finds more to do. “I have experience with legacy audio and video equipment, so when I run out of stuff to do, I run over to our miscellaneous section of the warehouse and I test audio and video equipment,” says John. “That way, our customers are able to get high-end stereo equipment at a bargain price. They are paying me to do something that I actually like to do!”

He points out that when someone purchases refurbished tech at one of Repowered’s retail stores, they may be thinking about the fact that they are getting a computer or audio equipment at a lower cost, but what they should also consider is that they are helping employ a number of people that otherwise would have had barriers to employment to get them that product. It’s a complex web of impact.  

John refurbishes a desktop computer

Outside of Repowered, John is involved with an organization called O4C (Opportunities for Change). “We work with people coming out of incarceration who have a history of getting themselves in violation situations in which they end up incarcerated again ,” he explains. “We work with those people exclusively to try and get them on a better track. I’m there every Monday, and I’m now a mentor!” 

John says many of the people he mentors believe that they can’t amount to more than their past. By providing these people with a support system, John is helping them cultivate hope once again. The support opens doors to opportunities and paths that they may not have seen before. 

At Repowered we like to say that we all are defined by our future. John is a perfect example of this. He is not only growing hope within himself, but giving hope to others as well. 

Want to invest in hope? Consider donating today!

Following along for our We Are Repowered Series? Here are the stories we’ve shared: 

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