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An IT Epiphany

When Aaron Hammond began his electrician apprenticeship through NAIT he did not realize that it would lead to a career in IT. IT and computers had “always been a hobby” but it was not until he was “setting up the computers for a work trailer” during his first year of apprenticeship in Fort McMurray that he realized IT was “what [he] should be doing”. Aaron “jumped ship”, returned to NAIT, completed the Computer Network Administrator program, worked for two other companies managing IT services, then, on the recommendation of a friend, joined IST as a deskside support analyst.

As part of one of IST’s “dynamic” deskside teams, Aaron mostly supports clients in the north-west quadrant of Campus, trouble-shooting, supporting projects and keeping things running, particularly for Facilities and Operations. He also “helps out” occasionally at Augustana Campus. But whether he is on the busy North Campus or in the “quieter environment” of Augustana, Aaron says that “customer service is the most important part of the job”.  His clients may have different software and hardware but they have “essentially the same Windows-operating system” which helps him provide quick and effective service. It also helps that he is able “to explain the technical in a non-technical way”.

Aaron is “very committed” to his clients and takes his work “very personally”. Respectively, Aaron appreciates being able to “interact directly” with his clients and to work for a very supportive department where even the Executive Director takes the time to say “hi” and “welcome”.

A Skilled Educator

Though Jeff Rawlings works as Director of Relationship Management in IT, he has always been an educator at heart and is content to have found a role that blends the two disciplines, “my passion is education, my interest and love is technology and being able to bring those together is something that excites me about the job”. After obtaining his Bachelor of Education degree, his foray into education began while working as a teacher at Caroline School in Rocky Mountain House. Within the K-12 system and over 17 years he enjoyed working in a few different positions that over time spanned from teacher and network administrator to school administrator to Assistant Superintendent (Technology). During this time Jeff also achieved his Masters in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University. After Rocky Mountain House, he worked in Edmonton with Alberta Education for 2 years and then in 2011 came to the university, as the Assistant Dean of Technology and Innovation in the Faculty of Arts.

He feels strongly that his previous work experience and education lends itself to his current role as Director of Relationship Management. Within this capacity, he leads a team of six Relationship Managers whose role is to create relationships and “interact with the senior leaders in the faculties and service units across university campus”. Jeff is passionate about the role and its impact in “effecting change across the university”. His team functions to help the faculties and community meet their strategic needs and to be able to use “technology efficiently, effectively for the purposes of teaching, administration and research process on campus”.

Jeff’s ultimate goal as Director of Relationship Management is to assist in driving and developing the picture of one university; he is steadfast in this belief and describes the shared benefits of working together as one, “if our client succeeds, we succeed and the university succeeds”. With a strong unified vision of the future, IST can move with confidence into that future.

The Change Agent

Whether he is buying groceries at the supermarket or analyzing the business procedures of one of his campus clients, Abdullahi Oboh “sees processes in everything”. And as a business analyst for IST, it is essential that he “should be able to ask questions, to know how things are done, be able to visualize processes and document them” so that the technological requirements of his clients can be easily accommodated.

Abdullahi’s background “in government, in telecommunications, in manufacturing”—and more—has given him the skills required to be a strong “liaison between the business and the technology” of his campus clients even though “every industry has its own unique challenges”. Abdullahi feels that “the most important part of [his] job is making people happy”. Having experienced much change in his own life and career, he understands that embracing change can be difficult. This is why he conducts himself as “a change agent”, not “an enforcer”.

Abdullahi is also “a person who can stand change”. Born and educated in Nigeria, he was prepared for many changes when he immigrated to Canada and did not expect that Ontario would be the only place he would live and work. His philosophy has always been that “I preach change, so I should be able to stand change”. However, now that he has arrived at IST and the University, he is prepared to stay a while as he enjoys working in “such a beautiful environment”.

Up For A Challenge

Lilli Chevrier’s work hours including those of her team are primarily focused on IT consolidation. As Senior Program Manager on the Project Management team, she describes the role as one that is “all communication and relationships” among a variety of groups including her team, program sponsors, executive leadership and faculties.

She is well suited to the role and naturally driven; her greatest strength is the extensive knowledge she brings to the role having gained experience from employers such as Alberta Health Care, Electronic Data Systems, Diebold, WCB and Alberta Environment among others. Her education is extensive as well and includes an MBA from Queen’s University and targeted study in Project Management from the Project Management Institute with PMP (Project Management Professional) and PgMP (Program Management Professional) designations.

Lilli describes herself as “determined“ and is quick to mention that she builds “amazing dynamic teams”. Her enthusiasm for working with people is clearly evident as she mentions she is passionate about coaching and mentoring people. That passion absolutely shows as she points out she has been a coach and a mentor for the past 17 years and is dedicated to helping people.

The Philosophy of Design

As the graphic designer for IST’s Communications team, Lauren Sigvaldason finds that the work she does, creating “visuals for [IST’s] website, visuals for emails, working on creating brands for [other] websites like the Connect Conference”, contributes to her understanding of how design influences people, herself included.

Having a long time interest in graphic design, from high school through her degree in Industrial Design to her current work with IST, Lauren has always been interested in the connection between people and design as understanding how people see themselves “aids greatly in design work”. And whether she is designing a poster or branding an IST project like Service Now, Lauren tries “to create a single message that speaks to the masses while still having a personalized touch”.

Ultimately, Lauren—and the Communications team—are responsible for designing a “visual” of IST which will help foster the culture of the University and develop a sense of community, both internally and externally, “as we’re here to support each other and to support the campus as well”.