ITP board welcomes back two familiar faces (and one new)
By Emily Rushton
This spring, IT Professionals across campus voted to fill three open positions on the IT Professionals board. Natalia Murdock, Doug Ressler, and Rob White will join current members Mike Basinger, Holly Christmas, and Elliot Fenech for two-year terms, and all three come to the board with excitement and new ideas.
Natalia Murdock, IT Director for the Athletics department, earned a degree in film studies from the U. She got her first help desk support job with the Academic Advising department, but ultimately ended up with Athletics thanks to her combined experience in tech support, programming, and overall campus knowledge. She was just recently named IT Director in May.
Murdock comes to the ITP board with a fresh perspective as the only new member to be elected this year.
“Being part of the board, and being more actively involved in the IT community at the University, could really benefit [Athletics],” said Murdock. “Not only in developing personal relationships with individuals, but being more aware of the different technologies that other people on campus are using.”
Bringing people in the IT community together and improving communication are important goals Murdock plans to focus on in the coming months.
“I hope that during the next two years, we can foster closer relationships with each other in a helpful, learning, collaborative atmosphere,” she said.
On improving communication, she added, “How do you improve something when everybody is so busy and has their own preference on how they receive information? That will be a huge challenge.”
Finally, Murdock is looking forward to putting faces to the names that she sees so often in email.
“That’s what excites me the most,” she said.
Doug Ressler, Systems Administrator for the College of Engineering, has had a longstanding career in technology, beginning with nine years in the United States Air Force as an avionics technician. After the Air Force, Ressler earned his undergraduate degree in electronics engineering technology before going on to receive his master’s in technology management. He worked a number of tech-related jobs after graduating before ending up with the University of Utah in 2002.
Today, Ressler is the current IT Professionals board president and has served as a member of the board for the past two years.
“Personally, for me, it’s been great getting to know more people in the IT community,” said Ressler. “I wish I could get to know them all.”
His first experience as a board member gave him an appreciation for just how multifaceted campus IT actually is.
“It was an eye-opening experience just to find out how complex and intricate the IT community is on this campus,” he said. “I had no idea just how intertwined and complex the environment really is.”
This time around, Ressler would like to focus on continuing to improve the first half hour of the IT Professionals monthly meetings – what they call the “tech showcase.”
“I’d like to increase participation there and see what we can do to make it a little more interesting,” he said. “We are always looking for ideas of what we can do during that first half hour to make it of value and interest to the community.”
Ressler also hopes to increase the information flow with IT professionals outside of University Information Technology (UIT).
“The more that we can expose projects that others are working on to the rest of the community, the less duplication (and more collaboration) there will be,” he said.
“The people here are our greatest resource on this campus,” he added.
Rob White, IT Manager for Continuing Education, began his career as a graphic designer but soon discovered that IT was his true calling. He eventually accepted a network support position at the U 18 years ago and hasn’t looked back since.
“Aside from going to meetings, I get paid to play with toys,” White joked.
This is his second stint as a member of the board, and White is looking forward to working more with the IT community over the next two years.
“Having a better pulse on what’s happening on campus really helps me be better at my job,” he said. “The thing about our campus is that, well, we’re huge. There are so many different departments that are trying to accomplish the same tasks.”
White’s goal for the board is to improve the overall organization and timeliness of the IT Professionals meetings – such as adding agenda items with plenty of advance notice, especially time-sensitive ones.
“If we know that we have to talk about something because it’s going to happen in a few months, we might be able to create a little bit better awareness on the topic, and get people to be more prepared for it when it hits them,” he said.
White also hopes to help raise awareness about the professional development opportunities that exist right on campus, within Continuing Education.
“If a little bit of money is spent to make myself or another IT professional more effective, the benefit back to the staff is worth it,” he said.