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Meeting the Team: Rich Hannon

Question: What do you do as the tech expert of the Spectrum web team? What is the most difficult part of your job?
Answer: I share technical responsibilities with Jonathan Pichot. He focuses on Drupal – which is the software product used to build/render the website. I am more involved with Apache/Linux, plus interacting with our Internet Service Provider.
Question: Where do you live and what do you do?
Answer: I live near Salt Lake City, Utah and am a software engineer. I work for Juniper Networks (a competitor to Cisco), based in Sunnyvale California. I’ve been married for 39 years and have three adult sons and one grandson. My wife Sherri is a nurse and does conflict resolution mediation on the side.
Question: As one of the more biologically ancient members of the Spectrum team, what’s it like to work with so many young people? What unique contributions do you make as someone who has more years under your belt?
Answer: Is ‘biologically ancient’ similar to ‘older than dirt’? 🙂 Actually I find age difference one of the less significant parameters that matter to me when working with people. I have had friends two generations ahead and two behind me. What matters more is how we think, our values and passions. Being older provides only one thing – more experience. But that alone doesn’t generate wisdom. Whether I have any of the latter is for others to judge.
Question: You’re a fourth generation Adventist who attended public school in the ‘50s and ‘60s and then enrolled at Andrews University. What was it like to move into the Adventist system of the ‘60s after growing up in the public education system? How has your experience shaped the way you engage with the Adventist community today?

Answer: Well what passed for meat in the cafeteria was pretty pathetic. 🙂 Seriously, my experience at Andrews was transformative. No Damascus Road, but those four years in a thoughtful, Christian setting, cannot be overestimated. Initially though, it was a bit of a culture shock. The majority of my classmates had gone through the Adventist system before college and knew the subculture – and jargon – way better than I did. And each academy had its clique to begin with. Still, in hindsight, I don’t regret going to public schools before college. I’m pretty content with the balance provided by the inside/outside perspective I acquired.
Question: In 1987 you contracted a stomach bug that impacted your life and family in significant ways. In retrospect, how did it also impact your faith?
Answer: I was chronically ill for somewhere between 5-8 years. The first several were the worst, before a tentative diagnosis and treatment. It felt like I had the flu every day. I think the presumed spiritual benefits of ‘longsuffering’ are highly overrated. It was just a miserable, drag-down, seemingly never-ending experience. There was a two year stretch where I didn’t go to church. Very, very hard on my family also. Oddly, I guess, I never gave up believing, although I don’t think there is much ‘credit’ in that. I just put the question on the shelf. One upside was that all that down time made me an even more voracious reader than I was before.
Question: Over the years you have acquired a passion for history and philosophy. How has your study affected your Christian experience?
Answer: It has been pivotal to whatever growth I’ve had. The more history – and biography – we can ingest, the more perspective we acquire. And while some deride philosophy (‘what has Athens to do with Jerusalem?’), wrestling with these issues can purge sloppy thinking and reduce religious hubris.
Question: You’ve been subscribing to Spectrum since the ‘70s. How has Spectrum and Adventist Forum evolved over the years? What has kept you engaged?
Answer: I’m sure it has changed over the years, but its relationship to Adventism hasn’t. Spectrum (as well as Adventist Today) is where you turn to for information about and discussion of issues that the institutional church needs to wrestle with and often does not or cannot. And with the more recent web presence it provides real-time examination and a greatly expanded reach.
Question: How are you involved at your local church? Are there any other Spectrum readers in your congregation?
Answer: Presently I teach a Sabbath School class. There are definitely other Spectrum readers in my congregation as well as several Advisory Council members.

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