Eric Tofsrud has received the United States Geological Survey Public Service Recognition Award for his Los Altos community contributions.
A longtime Los Altos resident, Tofsrud is one of a small number of U.S. geological employees nationwide whose work is considered "a hallmark of public service," according to the agency. He received the award Dec. 17.
Tofsrud said he was surprised by the honor. "I chose these volunteer positions carefully to keep out of the limelight," he joked. Tofsrud said the "folks at work were asking me these little questions. I didn't realize they were collecting information" to prepare for his award.
For years, Tofsrud served in the Earthquake Hazards Team, supporting critical microwave and radio equipment.
For the last two years, he has worked for the Office of Program Support's Branch of Information Services.
He has played a key role in maintaining the network infrastructure for USGS headquarters facility in Menlo Park, the Western region, the bureau and other U.S. Department of Interior agencies.
Since May 1995, Tofsrud has designed, installed and maintained local area networks for Blach Intermediate School's computer system. In support of the Los Altos School District's technology committee, he worked with the local Parent-Teacher Association and the Smart Valley Netday96 staff to develop the technology standards plan for all local schools.
With a crew of volunteers, Tofsrud implemented the backbone and the infrastructure supporting 30 Blach classrooms and approximately 80 computers. He also installed the school's computer lab, Internet mail, Web browsers, the Web server and the Web site for Blach. He has trained school district teachers and staff on how to support and use this technology.
Tofsrud continues to play an active role in the school program with a particular emphasis on the advancement of technology and education programs that utilize the Web resources of many scientific agencies. He said he is in his fourth year of volunteer work at Blach.
He credited the Los Altos Educational Foundation and the local PTA for providing funding to make the computer upgrading possible.