When he graduated from Gaylord High School, John Koss opted to spend a few years exploring the American Southwest and Florida, never knowing what to expect around the next mountain or marshland. Good training for a job that requires staying on top of a moving target like cloud computing.
“It is constantly evolving,” says Koss, Macomb’s lead professor in its Information Technology (IT) – Cloud Computing program. “Cloud computing is a real shift in the way things can be done. Resources are infinite, and you can do whatever it is you want with it.”
Koss didn’t start out aiming for the cutting edge of the computing field. In fact, he was on track toward an engineering career after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Michigan – Dearborn.
“After college, I was doing software development for a small firm and fell in love with it,” relates Koss, who also earned a master’s degree in business administration from U of M. “I like to make things, and I loved the creativity in it.”
Encouraged by his wife, Janet, and his mother to corral his innate ability “to explain things” into a teaching position, Koss attended an adjunct faculty fair at Macomb. He was hired to teach an intro IT class in 2003 and was persuaded by the experience to switch fields. He began teaching full time at Macomb in 2004.
“There is nothing more rewarding then helping someone. It really is true that we can change lives,” says Koss. “I can’t even tell you the number of emails that I receive from former students who tell me how much happier they are, how much more money they are making and how grateful they are that I helped them navigate through (cloud computing’s) rapidly changing maze.”
Despite his years up north and in the South and Southwest, Koss is no stranger to Macomb County. He grew up in Mount Clemens and Richmond before moving with his family to Gaylord. Likewise, despite graduating from U of M, he is no stranger to community colleges.
“I started at Valencia Community College in Orlando,” relates I Koss. “I had a great experience there. The faculty were very enthusiastic and it propelled me to continue on for several more years in school.”
Somewhere between his travels and his studies, Koss took up snowboarding, and motorcycle riding and customization, with a machine shop of his own accommodating the latter. He also regularly supplements his formal studies with online learning so that he remains current with all the trends and developments in cloud computing.
“It is an enormous field,” says Koss, who believes Macomb’s Cloud Computing program is the only one in the nation offered at a community college. “Most are grad programs, but the structure of Macomb’s classes gives our students a practical edge.”