Office of Information Technology Newsletter

Award Winning Staff

The Office of Information Technology recognizes the exceptional efforts and accomplishments, both collaborative and individual, of our staff. We continued our tradition by celebrating the third annual internal OIT awards program in December to recognize individual contributions to our OIT team and the larger AU community. These awards also serve to promote standards of excellence for each of us moving forward.

The following OIT staff members were recognized at the Fall 2012 semi-annual OIT All-Hands meeting. Additionally, two new awards were presented to campus partners that have made a significant impact in the area of IT. Please join us in congratulating them all.

  • William Fleitz was honored with the Campus Partner award for consistently striving to partner with other AU technology support organizations to improve the end user experience on campus. He is known for his hard work, dedication, and willingness to accept new challenges, with a smile on his face and a calming demeanor. Bill takes advantage of the strong relationships he has built with his internal colleagues and campus partners, aided, in part, by the fact that he has kept close ties to the past organizations that he has worked. He has done much to improve the networking end user support for customers. Recently, he served as the AU technical lead for the network edge upgrade in bringing together the various groups, developing the RFP for the network edge upgrade, evaluating the vendors, and working closely with our consultant for extended hours to design a high available network edge infrastructure to dramatically increase the University Internet facing systems' performance and capacity. No matter how difficult the challenge, or how busy he might be with his assigned tasks, Bill is first in line to help.

  • Jesse Bowling was honored with the Critical Thinker award for bringing fresh eyes and a fresh perspective to old problems, challenges, and procedures. New to the OIT family in 2012, Jesse has hit the ground running. He has critically examined processes we have had in place and implemented several enhancements that have simplified routine tasks. Jesse embodies the definition of a critical thinker; he gathers and assesses, keeps an open mind as he examines and tests, then effectively communicates as he works toward a solution. He is also someone truly interested in helping everyone around him, not just himself; improve their skills and knowledge, whether it be with programming languages, system administration, policy, or IT process. Jesse looks for good information and is happy to share that knowledge to enlarge and benefit his peers. He is a real joy to work with not only because he is smart, but because he wants you and everyone to learn with him and is never afraid to share, knowing that everyone's load gets lighter as we learn more.

  • Cenk Nair was honored with the Customer Service award for demonstrating exemplary customer service skills from the time he first joined the OIT last year. Customers are thrilled to work with him, as Cenk actively participates in customer service, in that, he knows when to listen and when to guide. Cenk always goes the extra mile to make sure his customers are completely satisfied, and they love him for it. He is good-natured, professional, and courteous both on the phone and around the office. Cenk utilizes an analytical approach to solving problems that he encounters. He gets up from his desk and seeks out the answers for his customers. Cenk's dedication is also commendable as he is always willing to help, whether that means staying late, coming in early, updating tickets on his day off, or volunteering to work during storms that have closed the university. He is truly an invaluable asset to us, as he can always be counted on to provide the highest quality customer service.

  • Denis Cofer was honored with the Dependability award for demonstrating a commitment to keep the AU telephone system up and running, which is the reason that we all enjoy its high reliability. To achieve this, he has worked during late nights, early mornings, weekends, holidays, and through severe storms. In fact, violent lightning storms, failed equipment and upgrades are all part of the job, which Denis takes in stride. If issues cannot be solved remotely, he will take the necessary actions to ensure his customers have service, even when it requires returning to campus in the middle of the night. Denis very seldom misses work, and arranges his schedule to best serve the University. If the system needs his involvement, he will be there. When was the last time, you picked up your phone and there was no dial tone? That reflects the dependability that Denis brings to the University.

  • Patricia Stewart was honored with the Enlarger award for consistently enlarging others through her actions. Through encouragement, sharing, discussion, fair mindedness, and exemplary commitment to quality, Patricia makes us a better organization. She frequently helps to coach other members of the team on complex technical issues and to perform peer reviews of their code. She has been the guiding force behind the bi-weekly Enterprise Applications Analysis and Development forum and has also created a SharePoint site which includes discussion threads for the team to exchange ideas and provide a central repository for helpful documentation. Patricia shares her expertise with the group, provides leadership, and works extremely hard. Not only does she provide a simple answer, she also provides a foundation for a solution and shows how to find the solution via documentation and training aids. If no documentation or procedures exist to address an issue, Patricia helps to establish such items in order to share the knowledge with OIT as well as customers. Her expertise with the nuts and bolts of Colleague is a great asset to the university in debugging critical issues, as well as implementing new products and services. Patricia is the first to have been selected for two OIT Awards, as she was presented with the Vision Award in 2010. She is truly a terrific asset to us all.

  • Hosein Nahidian was honored with the Initiative award for providing the best possible service to our customers. He works tirelessly, yet is always smiling and quick to lend a hand to troubleshoot. Hosein drops everything to prioritize unexpected requests and is always looking for the solution that will help OIT staff and the larger community be more efficient. Setting high standards for himself, Hosein also makes time to mentor others and is always willing to pitch in. He works diligently behind the scenes on self-initiated projects such as: optimizing our file shares and directory services, untangling over 15 years of Novell drive mappings and login scripts changes, writing our Group Policy Objects (GPOs ), and reducing risk by creating a restricted access network drive.

  • Alex Nyce was honored with the Leadership by Example award for quietly and consistently handling every task he is given.Alex puts AU and our OIT colleagues first in all that he does, consistently enlarging us through his actions, dependability, and effort. In addition to his defined role, Alex agreed to take on additional process management responsibilities, which have proven to be the platform for others in the organization to experience his vast suite of talents: his humility, his patience, follow through, and focus on identifying solutions.As one of the co-leaders of our Change Advisory Board, he devotes a great deal of time to coaching his peers to ensure compliance with and a better understanding of our Change Management Process; put simply, he does the right thing to make us a better organization. Alex has flourished in this role proving to be the ultimate leader.

  • Steve Munson was honored with the Vision award for instilling confidence in his customers regarding both the deliverables and processes that we employ in OIT. Steve remains calm and focused on the task at hand. He commits himself to fully understanding the customer's business and providing technology recommendations that best serve their needs, while being careful not to sacrifice alignment with OIT and AU's general directions. One of Steve's biggest strengths is knowing the right questions to ask, and more importantly, how to ask them. He recognizes the impact of the individual to the team, and promotes the continuous discussion of lessons-learned in a way that is constructive and productive throughout a project. Steve communicates his expectations very precisely and has that special talent of rallying the troops. Recently, he has overseen several projects that require dependability, improving knowledge levels, fair mindedness, and facilitation of discussion across campus. For both the Informer roll-out and the Space Utilization projects, Steve needed to get individuals to embrace and accept new processes, and in some instances, give up control. He has been successful and consistent in his approach, and we can all learn from him as an exemplary role model.

  • Gwendolyn Reece was honored with the OIT Partner of the Year award for being an outstanding partner to the Office of Information Technology before and throughout the leadership transition in the University Library. She has wholeheartedly supported increasing the OIT presence on campus, by generously offering up premium Library space to better meet the needs of the customers at the Technology Support Desk and the annual Tech Fair, where we serve more than 1,500 students in two weeks. In addition, Gwendolyn played a crucial role in the stabilization of Blackboard Learn. Although she no longer directly manages the Blackboard Learn support team, the year she spent in that role led to major advancements. For example, she managed to draft a Blackboard course archive policy in just a few short months, in conjunction with OIT, which was subsequently approved by the Provost. In every meeting, regardless of whether the topic was Blackboard Learn, Tech Fair planning, the continuation of the contract, or the Virtual Computing Labs initiative, Gwendolyn was always a font of exuberant energy and thoughtful questions. She has been a pleasure to partner with as she continually advocates for best practices and efficient solutions; and, we look forward to working with her in the future.

  • Nicole Bresnahan was honored with the OIT Technology Adoption Leader award. Coming to AU a little over a year ago, with a strong audit and process background, Nicole is gifted and passionate about discovering ways to streamline. Once given a pre-launch preview of our SharePoint sites and presented with the kernel of an idea about how we might leverage their capabilities to track and report on audit issues, Nicole enthusiastically stepped forward to document requirements and partner with OIT to develop a more user friendly, efficient, approach to tracking Sarbanes-Oxley audits. The established framework will leverage workflows and serve as the foundation for new teams sites that require workflow, archiving, and reporting. This was not uncharacteristic, as Nicole is comfortable with technology and prepared to use it to benefit her work and the campus at large.We are grateful for her support and inspiration.

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