Sunday, October 25, 2009

Martin Gonzalvez: Pinoy Mac Genius

FREELANCE journalists, okay, writers, especially those who specialize in feature stories like myself don't usually stumble upon stories that would be considered scoops.

But back in 2004, I was literally sitting on a gold mine of a story involving Martin Gonzalvez, whom I profiled for the Manila Times years earlier when he was a web designer during the internet's early years. If the name sounds familiar, it's because, yes, he used to be a broadcast journalist for ABS-CBN. Martin or Gonz, as he is known to close friends, is one of the pioneering figures behind what would be known as the Philippine Mac Users Group or PhilMUG, where I was also an active member.

A very passionate Mac user, Gonz and his family migrated to the US earlier this decade where he would later realize a longtime dream of working for Apple Computer as a certified technician or Mac Genius which was his official title. News of his hiring by Apple has been known to his fellow Mac users for quite sometime, about two months or so before I decided to break the story for the broadsheet Today (now known as Manila Standard Today). To be honest, I thought a Filipino being employed by what is arguably the coolest computer company in the world would be such a big deal that major media outlets would be quick to pick up on it, and there were quite a few of us media types in the Mac users group at the time.

To my surprise, no one did. So I decided to pitch the story to Vlad Bunoan, Today's then business editor who gave me the green light to write it. Next thing I knew,, then using the name PinoyCentral posted my same story on their site. Both ABS-CBN and GMA picked up on it as well and featured Gonz on their respective morning shows, with Gonz's former media colleagues looking and sounding visibly happy for him as they reported his feat.

A colleague of mine who was with the Infotech Section for the Philippine Daily Inquirer later told me I should have mentioned the story to him. I just told him I thought he knew. A lot of people (well, mostly the local Mac users) already did before I even wrote my story. By the end of 2004, the Inquirer included Gonz's employment by Apple as one of the paper's top IT newsmakers of the year.

It was that much of a big deal. It was that much of a scoop. And yes, it was one of my proudest moments as a journalist and as a writer, part-timer and freelancer as I was and still am.

Today, Martin Gonzalvez remains a good friend and yes, he is still with Apple Computer. "In July 2008, I achieved one of my biggest dreams working for Apple by being promoted to its corporate headquarters in Cupertino, California," he told me in a recent Facebook chat session. "After four years of working as a technician in an Apple Store in upstate New York, I am now a Technician Trainer."

Way to go, Gonz. And here's that 2004 news story, which was actually quite short. Yes, that's Martin Gonzalvez and his beautiful family in the pictures.

Apple Computer hires Pinoy ‘Mac genius’ in US
Special to Today

A former broadcast journalist with an almost decade-long passion for Macintosh computers was recently hired by Apple Computer as a Mac Genius.

Martin Gonzalvez, a former television news reporter with several local stations before switching to a career in Web-authoring while working for advertising agencies, migrated with his family to the United States in 2001. Since then, he has worked as network administrator and technical manager for K-12 schools in New Jersey and New York before being hired by the very company that created Macintosh computers.

“I first used a Mac in 1995, when actor Subas Herrero, who is also my father-in-law introduced me to his Mac LCIII which he would also let me use,” Gonzalvez recalls in an exclusive online interview with Today. “It was love at first sight and every one of my jobs since then has involved the Mac in one form or another,”

Since then, Gonzalvez has also dedicated himself in serving the Philippine Mac community by providing free technical support to his fellow Mac users through the Philippine Macintosh Users Group, or PhilMUG, of which he was a former board member. More recently, he was very active in, an online community that he founded in August of last year.

“A few months before launching, I achieved a longtime personal goal when I became an Apple Certified Technical Coordinator in Mac OS X and OS X Server,” Gonzalvez reveals. “I am proud to bring my heritage of nearly ten years of service and participation in the Philippine Mac community to my work at Apple, where I am doubly proud to be one of the company’s few Pinoy Mac Geniuses.”

As a Mac Genius, Gonzalvez’ job is basically that of a technical consultant for sales and support, among other things. He will begin training for the job at Apple Computer’s headquarters in 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California.

1 comment:

Maryanne Moll said...

I remember being in the old Philmug. Hay, memories.