Lin Ward – Class of 1998
Software Engineer, Apple Inc.

Our modern society depends on computer technology in almost every area of life. Keeping the technological world running smoothly is an important task requiring skill and experience. As a software engineer for Apple Inc., Lin Ward uses his expertise to help computer users have an easier and more productive outcome.

“I work with what is known as the Content Delivery Network (CDN),” explains Lin. “My job is to improve the user experience for downloading apps and streaming media content. Those apps and streaming videos come through servers, and my team and I are always busy analyzing how that content flows and looking for ways to make it better.”

So how does a young person from Burke County come to work for the largest company in the world? For Lin, it all began in the East Burke computer lab and with his involvement in the Computer Club. “Libby Rollyson, our computer teacher, really sparked my interest in technology. As I learned more, I began to see how a career working with computers was in my future.”

Lin began working in his chosen field right after high school. “My senior project mentor was Ted Mecimore, who at the time was technology coordinator for Burke County Schools. When Ted accepted another position with Vista Technology, he asked me to come to work with him. During this time, I attended evening classes through Western Piedmont Community College for two years and earned an associate degree. That particular plan proved to be a successful one for me, so I went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Gardner Webb University by attending their evening classes at the Old Rock School in Valdese. It was a great opportunity to study at the same time as gaining experience in the workplace.”

Through the years, Lin has worked in a variety of technology jobs. He spent a number of years with a company in Lenoir doing consulting work for such organizations as banks, manufacturing facilities, and school systems. “My job was to evaluate the software systems being used and give suggestions about how to make improvements.” For two years, Lin worked as the network administrator for Blue Ridge Health Care, managing the systems at both Burke County hospitals.

His job in computer security with Samaritan’s Purse took him to more than thirty countries where he performed security assessments and remediation. “I spent time in places all over the world including Iraq, Jordan, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Mexico, and Canada.” No doubt, these times were both exciting and a bit dangerous, but the mission was important so that the organization could accomplish its humanitarian work.

Even though Lin has worked at a variety of places, his focus has been similar in each situation. “I have always enjoyed problem solving. Being presented with a program or application and finding an improved method for using it is both challenging and rewarding.”

When he is not solving computer issues, Lin finds enjoyment in coaching volleyball. “My wife coaches at Draughn High School, and I have joined in coaching girls travel volleyball since 2001. Our teams are divided into age groups and are made up of students from several high schools and middle schools. I mostly work with high school students who attend schools including Draughn, Patton, Freedom, and McDowell. We compete by traveling to many locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Working with young people has been very rewarding and allows me to problem solve in an entirely different environment.”

Whether helping the world run more smoothly by making technology easier and more efficient for computer users or by helping young people experience the value of team sports, Lin has found ways to contribute to the community. What began in the computer lab at East Burke has come full circle in so many ways.

Published December 2023

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