When Elder Dennis Keating contemplated serving a senior mission for the Church, he was receiving the LDSTech Newsletter by way of his Bishop, who knew his technical background would fit a technology mission. At the time, he thought becoming a tester for some of the new applications and products being developed by the Church would capture his interest and give him experiences with new software while he was semi-retired.
After submitting an application and receiving his call, Elder Keating was immediately asked by Alan Smoot, LDSTech manager, if he would be a project manager. What a surprise! Although he had some experience with legacy programming languages, had worked for General Dynamics, and had enjoyed being a project manager deploying software for customers with Hewlett-Packard, he confessed that he knew almost nothing about the structure of current programs and couldn’t picture how he would fill the role of project manager, his team would be located at the Church’s Riverton, Utah office building. He knew he couldn’t pick up and leave the family business to move to Utah.
He accepted nevertheless, and now three years later, after extending his mission twice, he fondly recalls many experiences with people and projects. Elder Keating says of his mission, “I had a wonderful experience that was very uplifting and inspiring, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to work with the people at the Riverton Office Building.” During his mission, he discovered the wonders of meeting online with his team, and enjoyed working closely with Tim Riker, Alan Smoot, and other young full-time missionaries, senior missionaries, and a contract employee. He says one of his greatest achievements was “keeping team members focused on the issues that were outstanding, and keeping projects moving forward,” which he did admirably well.
One of those projects is the LDSTech website, which influences many individuals. Elder Keating learned the software used by LDSTech to track the development of tools and apps, and worked with developers on the subroutines used by other LDS sites for downloads. Several times during his mission Elder Keating was able to come to Utah for conferences and on-site meetings, but generally coordinating and solving the logistical challenges day-to-day were handled remotely.
As for the next chapter in his life, Elder Keating is keeping doors open. At some point, he hopes to serve a full-time mission with his wife of 32 years. Right now the family business, children, and grandchildren hold his attention, but he won’t be far away. He has certainly demonstrated a great capacity for serving with distinction as a Church Service Missionary!
If you are interested in serving a technology mission, there are many opportunities for Church Service Missions throughout the Church. For more information about Church service missions, go to https://www.lds.org/topics/service/part-time.