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Chris Stalbaum and his wife moved from Northwest Indiana, where he was a school IT administrator, to their new home in Southwest Florida in January 2021 when Chris started his new job as IT Infrastructure Manager for all Cypress companies. Since that time, he has been the team lead for many successful major technology infrastructure upgrades. Most of the work is behind the scenes, yet vital to the success of the organization.
On the wireless front, the IT team began the deployment phase of the wireless upgrade project as soon as Chris settled in. The project involved extensive engineering work allowing new wireless access points to be added. They installed new network switch and battery backup infrastructure to all six wings to supply power and network to the new wireless access points. In March, installers from BCI Integrated Solutions in Tampa arrived on campus and started adding miles of network cabling to The Harbour. Chris, Richard Morales, and Tiger Sarg supervised the BCI employees installing the cabling and mounts into the apartments, which took almost two months to complete.
During this time, Chris also managed the deployment of new network firewalls at Cypress Cove. Firewalls are the gatekeeper of all internet and network activities. This project involved a complete change in the network pathways to improve network speed for everyone, while adding redundancy to our ability to connect to the outside world. This work was performed at night to cause minimal disruption for residents and employees and to allow time for testing the paths. This was a massive endeavor involving many layers of networking complexity. As was the intent, the changeover went unnoticed. The network speed increases were noticeable immediately.
In June and July, Chris worked on the ground level work for the network micro segmentation for residents throughout Cypress Cove to have their own wireless networks. This was a monumental shift in how our wired network handles traffic, not just the wireless network. After careful testing, refining, redesigning, and with the help of Richard, Tiger, and Joe Velderman, VP of Innovation, as well as resident beta testers, they started deployment in fall of 2021. The IT team could be found in the triple elevator lobby for many weeks helping residents get connected to their new network and answering questions.
As of this writing, out of over 1,100 devices, the campus has just under 400 devices on the micro segmented wireless networks. Cypress is utilizing technology in new, creative, and innovative ways to provide residents and employees with the absolute best network. Residents were very helpful during this project, and it was greatly appreciated by the IT team.
“Chris is an integral team member within the Cypress family,” said VP of Innovation Joe Velderman. “Our innovation and technology efforts depend on reliable and robust technology infrastructure. Chris has risen to the challenge of delivering quality infrastructure services. Beyond this elemental responsibility, Chris is an extremely personable, likable team member who makes positive contributions to our organization’s culture on a daily basis.”
On the personal side, Chris was honored to be invited to share his talents on piano for the residents. A classically trained pianist, he has been a professional musical director for over 300 musicals in theater going back decades. He played piano for events in Edison Hall and at The Cottage. He hopes to play more in the future. In July, he became a first-time grandpa of a grandson born in Indiana.
When asked what the best thing is about working at Cypress, without hesitation, he said, teamwork. “Any time I have needed help, everyone stepped up without reservation,” Chris said. “From the CEO and executive team to the residents, IT team, activities, skilled nursing, administrative, clinical, accounting, HR, maintenance, security, housekeeping – everyone has helped me deliver an amazing year of upgrades. I couldn’t have succeeded without them. The laughs and fun we had along the way to delivering amazing services is what makes Cypress Cove special to me.”