Employee Profile: Hembree Uses Decades of Technology Problem-Solving To Aid Students, Employees

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June 10, 2021 by HCDE-Texas

HCDE technology network analyst George Hembree likes to explain the complexity of his job in ones and zeros.  

Everything in a computer’s brain comes down to the two digits used in the binary system of counting, so it’s the simplest means to explain his complex trade.

Harris County Department of Education network analyst George Hembree poses for a photograph, June 9, 2021.

“It’s not easy to tell people what I do, but I usually just tell them that I make the ones and the zeros pass on the network,” said the low-key, congenial employee who has worked at HCDE for nine years.

Hembree’s computer experience is rooted in his military career. He joined the Army National Guard in high school and spent one summer in basic training and another in advanced individual training, moving from infantry to artillery. In artillery training, he used computers and developed a keen interest in electronic communication equipment.

After six years of active duty and two years of inactive reserve, he became an IT contractor, installing and configuring equipment for both military and civilian support.

“I did not serve in the Iraq war directly, but I was there starting in 2003 supporting the troops that were serving as warfighters,” he said. “I lived through many attacks from rockets, mortars, bombs and gunfire but did not fight.”

As a senior network engineer, he installed and configured equipment for both the military and civilians, including radio towers and antennas.

“Communications is a big deal in a war zone,” he said. “I thank God every day that I made it home safely.”

In the Middle East, Hembree met his current boss as they worked together in Kuwait, HCDE ITS Operations Manager Chris Hoesel. They’ve stayed connected as co-workers and friends over the years. Hembree let Hoesel know about a job opening at HCDE, and the rest is history. Hembree even stood at his friend’s side at his wedding as his best man.

“George is the epitome of professionalism in his field,” Hoesel said. “I always admired his insatiable thirst for knowledge and the need to improve his technical ability through experience, training and love of the job.”

Helping the students HCDE serves is particularly humbling for Hembree, he said. He also believes each employee is his client and is avowed to help all his customers be more productive through IT services.

Hembree is married to Yaritza Roman in the HCDE Purchasing Division. The couple are parents to five children and one dog.  As a private pilot, Hembree shares his love for travel and aeronautics with his family.

“I took my family to the SpaceX facility in Starbase, Texas, a few months ago to see the Starships and spaceport,” he said.  

As his boss, Hoesel says he can always depend on Hembree to be a team player. He has helped the IT team persevere through disasters ranging from Hurricane Harvey to the winter freeze to the pandemic, keeping HCDE on track with computer operations.

“I can rely on him 100 percent when things go south,” Hoesel said. “We’re all fortunate to have George as part of this team and hope he receives the recognition he truly deserves.”

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