UIT Leadership Spotlight: Garth DeVries, manager, USS Student Engineering Team
Where are you from originally?
I grew up not far from the University of Utah. I never bought a parking pass when I was a student since I could walk to campus.
What post-secondary degree(s) do you have, in what subjects, and from which school(s)?
I received a Bachelor of Science in health education from the University of Utah and a degree in computerized machining technology from Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). I did the SLCC degree for fun to help with my hobbies.
What led you to the University of Utah?
After several years working at SLCC, I decided I wanted to do more in IT. I started looking for jobs at the University of Utah because I liked working in higher ed.
Can you describe the path you took to IT leadership?
I worked in the desktop publishing office at SLCC. Then I opened and managed the testing center at SLCC’s South City Campus. While running the center, I was in charge of the servers and computers that ran English and math placement tests. With that responsibility, I took some server and coding classes.
A few years later, I was hired for the UIT Administrative Computing Services (now University Support Services, USS) help desk. PeopleSoft was fairly new at the time. After a few months, I became a PeopleSoft developer and later a software design engineer. I had a knack for software development and enjoyed being a developer. From there, I became manager of the USS Student Engineering Team.
How would you describe your leadership style and/or philosophy?
I am fortunate to have an excellent team. Because of this, I let the software design engineers handle their areas. I will get involved if needed, but because my team members are good at what they do, I rarely need to. This allows me to concentrate on management priorities and help users with new functionalities.
What do you enjoy most about your role at the U?
I have worked at the U for 23 years, all in student technologies. This has allowed me to build great relationships with our campus leaders and users. I enjoy working with people across the university.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
I wish projects were prioritized a bit better. Sometimes, we work on several No. 1 projects at once. Also, we’re often given short time frames, which can be challenging when there are multiple priorities.
What are some of your hobbies?
I restore antique cars. Right now, I work several hours per week on several projects. I also love to hike. I hike every other Sunday, although sometimes I get out more often. I mostly hike in the summer; I also hike during winter, just not as often.
Is there a fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share?
I was at Pearl Harbor when Apollo 12 astronauts arrived on the USS Hornet aircraft carrier after splashdown following their landing on the moon.
Our monthly newsletter includes news from UIT and other campus/ University of Utah Health IT organizations, features about UIT employees, IT governance news, and various announcements and updates.