Director’s Corner: Happy Father’s Day
Welcome to the first “Director’s Corner!” Record-high water levels from the flood have obviously receded and, perhaps from many perspectives, all has returned to normal, or the “new normal,” as the case may be. But, in TNS, stress levels remain elevated, as we continue to race the clock to bring buildings back online, all while catching up on a boatload, if you’ll pardon the metaphor, of flood-deferred infrastructure projects (from equipment refreshes to wireless installs). Unfortunately, we’re not close to being done with our flood recovery work. The IMU, (repurposed) Museum of Art, and Theatre Building are among the buildings on our latest short list. Plenty more buildings remain after that. We remain focused on recovery.
The challenge for us continues to be the “squeeze play”—the often extremely brief window of time, between the last contractors completing their work and the expected building reopening date, in which we have to install and configure all of the voice, data, and video communications cabling and equipment. I want to commend our staff for continuing to work hard, mostly behind the scenes, to get this important work done, or provide the support needed to get it done, constantly being thrown into these races against time. Our work continues to get accomplished with a renewed sense of importance, and our customer service has never seemed stronger.
The level of people/function relocations that occurred, and continue to occur, as a result of the flood is daunting. And I continue to be impressed by our staff’s ability to serve the campus in this regard while experiencing some significantly disruptive moves (to UCC and then back to North Hall) themselves. I am also very appreciative of our colleagues at UCC who graciously hosted us and helped us achieve the business continuity we needed to serve the campus at the most critical of times. ITS could not have accomplished what it did without the help and support we provided for each other, and our organization should be very proud of the way it came together towards the single vision of keeping critical IT functions up and running.
Finally, I’d like to take a moment to reflect back on the remarkable work demonstrated by our department, and the whole of the ITS organization, back in the middle of June. Thankfully, there was a lot of disaster planning that had occurred, largely as a part of our “pan flu” plan development. For instance, having developed criticality ratings of our many services helped us make very quick decisions. And, particularly because of the flexibility that had been engineered into our network and communications infrastructure designs, we were able to do some pretty amazing things, like relocating the core networking functions in the Lindquist Center to Phillips Hall.
Looking back at the decision to move that equipment, and those functions, out of harm’s way in the wee hours of the morning this past June 15th, I can’t help but take tremendous pride in our staff’s ability to quickly, but smartly, mobilize towards action. The results, most especially the noteworthy lack of significant disruption, speak for themselves. Many folks worked straight through from those wee hours in the morning to late that evening. And that was Father’s Day, with many foiled plans of a day normally spent relaxing with family. So, for all of you who sacrificed that day (and plenty of personal time after that) to come to the rescue of some of our institution’s most important assets and functions, I sincerely thank you again and wish you a belated, but very much deserved, “Happy Father’s Day!”