Ahead of his July retirement, University of Utah Health Chief Information Officer
Jim Turnbull reflected on some highlights of his 12-year career with the university — including the EPIC implementation and Downtown Data Center
buildout. But we all know that's only part of his story at U of U Health.
So we asked Jim's colleagues in Information Technology Services (ITS) and UIT to share
their favorite memories of, stories about, and well wishes for Jim. Thank you again
to everyone who submitted a tribute — all of them will be shared with Jim.
A lightly edited selection of submissions is below.
I have worked under many different leaders through my career. I learned early in my
career that many leaders would say they recognized the importance of the people who
work in their organization, but I have met only a few who really understood the value
of each individual in the organization. Of those I have met, you are the best. If
I were to write a book on leadership, I would highlight you as the best example of
great leadership that I have seen. You have made this a great organization, and I am proud to be a part of it.
Thank you for all you have done for this organization and making me feel like a vital
part of the organization from the day I started working here. You will be dearly missed
by the organization and by me. You deserve a wonderful retirement.
— Rob Robinson, ITS PgMO
Jim has always been extremely good to me. In my first year at ITS, he invited me and
my son to see a Real Salt Lake soccer game. It was a wonderful experience, and my
son has not forgotten it. He, along with myself, are some of Jim’s biggest fans. I
hope you have a wonderful retirement and enjoy the next chapter of your life. We will
— Matt Allred, ITS
December 5, 2018, the ITS Bake Sale for Utah Food Bank: I watched Jim walk into the
7th Floor conference room with the cutest sweater. I about fell on the floor, laughing.
I will definitely miss his antics and genuine humor. I think Jon Messina ended up
buying the sweater when JT auctioned it.
— Lyz Ostler, Telehealth Support Desk
Twelve years ago, when you first started at the Hospitals and Clinics (I don’t think
you had even been in the office yet), I had the uncomfortable opportunity to call
you and let you know we had a tape backup theft. I knew by the end of our phone conversation
that I was talking with someone I was going to thoroughly enjoy working for. You put
my fears at ease, and we worked through the situation under your leadership like it
was a walk in the park. I can say without hesitation that working for you has been
one of the highlights of my career.
It’s a unique opportunity to be able to learn from a master. I can’t count the times
I’ve asked myself, “What would JT do in this situation, or how would he deal with
that problem?” You are the best of the best as a CIO and human being. Your experience
and knowledge have been such a blessing to me with helping me grow in my career. Your
kindness and genuine caring for me and my family have always been a strength to me
knowing that you always have my best interest at heart. You bring so much fun to the workplace and are always looking for creative ways to
bring camaraderie to those who work for you.
JT, you’ll be greatly missed, but I wish you the very best with your well-deserved
retirement. I hope you’ll always keep in touch. We all want to hear about the many
adventures that you’ll no doubt have. Take care, my friend!
— Jim Livingston, Chief Technology Officer
One of my first months at work, I sat next to Jim and Carrie King during the annual
Holiday Bake Sale and Auction. I watched as Jim and Carrie battled it out for their
favorite baked goods. He kept upping the bid for the cupcakes she wanted. Every time
he thought he had won, Carrie would counter with a higher bid. This was my first introduction
to Jim, and how he understood and cared about his employees enough to mess with them.
— Emily Johnson, ITS
Congratulations on a fabulous and storied career! We have been lucky to have you work
for the U. You brought a sense of calm, good cheer, planning, and togetherness. Your
warmth and solid decision-making have helped the U Hospital and Clinics thrive and
provide great patient care.
Also, personally, I would like to thank you for sitting on my Ph.D. committee. I still
have a few emails you sent during that arduous process. Please know that your words
of encouragement helped me proceed, especially when times were a little tough.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Enjoy retirement and the joy that every day brings.
— Ann Lyons, Data Science Services
It has been quite a wild ride with a ton of great memories! You have always been so
generous with your time and your encouragement, leading us all to victory — whether
it be at work or in our personal lives. Your drive and smile light up any event, from
our 2008 ITS Ragnar team to our Outclimb Cancer Challenge in the Wells Fargo Tower, from empowering
One Chart to trying to catch you on the Midmountain Marathon course, and cheering
RSL on to victory with you and your wonderful sister Jill. I will always remember
that light! I wish you many more amazing adventures as you begin this new time in
your life. We will miss you horribly! Take care and stay in touch.
— Anne Jacob, ITS
We were running in the Emigration Canyon 10-miler a few years ago. I fancied myself
as somewhat of a runner. About halfway down, Jim passed me and I couldn't keep up.
Awesome shape “for someone of his age.”
— Ken Kizer, ITS
While working with the Network Services team, we were migrating to a single wireless
infrastructure. This required sections of the hospital to go "dark" as we changed
out access points. I ended up in Jim’s office because some clinical staff felt there
hadn't been any communication. I discussed the issue with Jim, and we talked about
who had been told about the change. I told him I had communicated with everyone I
knew of. He asked if I could communicate with more people. I said I would be happy
to, but I didn’t know where to get that information. He paused and then expressed
his dismay that he didn't know either. About two weeks later, a process was in place
to communicate with departments at an organizational level. I have always admired
Jim's ability to not place blame or make you feel threatened, but to focus on the
needs and then make changes that meet those needs. Congratulations, Jim, on your retirement.
Thank you for the excellent leadership, guidance, words of wisdom, and kindness you
— David Maughan, Information Technology Services (ITS)
Thanks, Jim, for all the years of laughs. You have a fantastic combination of sense
of humor and dynamic leadership. Thank you for all the support you given our team
over the years, and I hope your retirement is relaxing yet full of adventure.
— Mark Johns, ITS
JT and I always enjoy talking about the great outdoor possibilities in Utah. We exchange
trip ideas and trip reports.
In early 2012, I won a lottery permit to hike the Subway in Zion National Park. As
I was rounding out my permit, I had a few open spots left and mentioned it to JT in
passing. I told him that if he'd like to come, there was room.
After a day or so to check calendars, JT told me he was in.
In late July, we met up, along with the rest of our group, and descended the Subway.
As expected, it was a great trip, full of the beauty and excitement that Utah offered.
It went off without a hitch, and we shared a great trip together. I always look back
fondly on that memory.
Thanks for the friendship, the mentoring, the guidance, and the engagement in the
lives of all those you know and care for. You'll be missed, but congratulations and
best wishes to wherever life takes you.
— Jon Messina, ITS Admin
I'll never forget the meeting when Jim wore a kilt! He brought out the best Scottish
in all of us, even the ones without any Scottish heritage. His way of keeping things
light and letting us relax in our meetings has been very enjoyable. Good luck with
your future, Sir Laddie Jim!
— Becky Wilson, Health Information Management
Thank you for letting me dance a Scottish jig with you! It will be something that
I'll always remember. I hope you have a great time on your long motorcycle ride! I
wish you the best!
— Aaron Hanson, HIM Records Retention
Jim Turnbull joined the University Hospital IT organization at a time of mourning.
We had just lost Pierre Pincetl, our previous CIO, to cancer at a surprisingly young
age. As with any leadership transition, there was great concern throughout the ITS
organization surrounding who the new CIO would be.
To say that Jim Turnbull brought a level of calm assurance as people got to know him
is an understatement. His ever-present smile and sincere concern for everyone was
seen immediately. He took the time to meet with each supervisor, manager, and leader
in the ITS organization. He listened carefully to the thoughts people had about what
was going well and what could improve. He brought a personal touch to meetings, which
frequently involved one of his warm chuckles as we all shared something funny together.
Jim Turnbull is an example of a leader who cares deeply. I will never forget the first
time I saw JT get teary as he spoke of the hard work our teams had put in to a project.
There are few leaders who find the perfect balance between being warm and open while
driving for high expectations in the people around them. Jim Turnbull finds that balance
every time I interact with him. There is so much more that could be said, but words
never suffice. I will simply end by wishing JT the very best as he moves forward to
new frontiers. He certainly deserves the very best the future can offer!
— Mike Ekstrom, Communications Infrastructure
I just wanted to wish you the best and thank you for being so wonderful. I have appreciated
your leadership and care. It is obvious that the quality of this organization is due
to leaders like you. I am particularly grateful for your concern for us as employees.
Your attitude of valuing us as peers was felt. Thank you for all the efforts you took
to put us first, keep us informed, and to make work enjoyable and rewarding. I think
that is what has made U of U Health perform at the top level. You took care of us,
so that we've been enabled to take care of our work to the best of our abilities.
I am also grateful for the example you set of reaching out and serving in the community.
What a stellar leader and, more importantly, an exceptional man. You will be sorely
— Jenifer Francis, IT Training
Ihave been impressed with Jim's humanity. In so many different circumstances, I have
seen how he is genuinely interested in the individual and makes time for meaningful
conversation in an attempt to know the person better.
Jim has made a big impact in my life. I appreciate the professional opportunities
he gave me.
He has a great sense of humor and doesn't take himself too seriously. Picking a favorite
memory is impossible with so many to choose from. But two high on the list are him
serenading us with his guitar during a meeting and coming into a staff meeting as
Jim is a remarkable leader and a kind friend. I wish him all the best in retirement
— he will be missed!
— Phillip Kimball, ITS