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The Technology Excellence Award recognizes the exemplary performance of Information Technology Services staff members who consistently provide a level of service significantly above and beyond specific job responsibilities.
Employees of Information Technology Services are eligible to receive the annual award of $1500. Nominations for the Technology Excellence Award may be made by faculty, staff, or co-workers. A letter addressing the nominee’s exemplary contributions, accomplishments and job performance and/or extraordinary service to faculty, staff, and students is to be submitted to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Technology.
Established in 2009, the first award was presented in September, 2010.
Click on any of the following tabs to see the recipients of the Technology Excellence Award for that specific year.
Don Ray serves as Assistant Director of Academic Support Services for Information Technology Services. With his background in instructional technology, he has been involved in several projects to enhance the teaching and learning environment at UNK. He was the academic lead for the migration of Blackboard from premise-hosted to a cloud-hosted environment. He manages Echo360 for lecture capture and he manages the Zoom desktop video conferencing user community. He provided leadership for the statewide adoption of Zoom by K-12 schools and Nebraska higher education institutions who are members of Network Nebraska. He assists the Museum of Nebraska Art with multimedia and video recording of events. He is a key leader in the adoption of Canvas as the learning management system at UNK. Don teaches online classes, so he uses the tools that he supports. The training he provides for faculty and staff is based on experience using the tools for teaching and learning.
Brandon Hammond started his career with UNK as a student worker for Computer Services in 1997. He now serves as the Director of Technical Services. Over the past 8 years, Brandon has adopted virtualization to simplify the deployment of servers and reduce power consumption and air conditioning requirements. Brandon’s team has worked with LDAP and Active Directory to allow us to adopt Identity Management to reduce the number of usernames and passwords that must be remembered and entered for campus applications. Brandon played a major role in the recovery process after the October, 2011, air conditioner failure in the data center. When dedicated fiber allowed a 10 GB connection to Lincoln in 2014, he planned and implemented a backup site for UNK data in the CSN data center in Lincoln. Brandon is on call 24x7x365 and regularly devotes weekends and evenings to UNK for software and hardware upgrades and for emergencies when critical systems go down.
Andrea Childress began her career at UNK in 1994 as a programmer/analyst and now is the Director of Information Systems. She has supported the UNK student information system for 20 years and her knowledge and skills are highly respected not only at UNK but also at the other NU campuses. Her analytical ability allows her to easily grasp business processes and her technical skills have evolved as platforms have changed. She is commended for her job performance, acceptance of responsibility, teamwork and accomplishments. She played a critical role in the implementation of student systems, including housing, degree audit, and web-accessible services. She is not afraid to take on new responsibilities, as her newest role as Information Security Officer demonstrates, as she guides security steps taken to protect systems and data.
Heidi Haussermann joined the Technology Helpdesk staff in April, 2000, and became the Helpdesk Manager in 2012. The Help Desk is usually the first to be aware of a problem and Heidi is a leader that knows what needs to be done and who to call and she solves the problem or follows up to be sure the problem has been resolved. Heidi has led the iPad deployment during the past year and manages over 1,400 student iPads. She is always assessing, reviewing, reflecting and then helping to implement better strategies to improve the iPad deployments. Heidi is highly motivated, completes work ahead of schedule, and is a team player. Her ability to manage and multi-task several responsibilities at one time and her willingness and ability to contribute and help out where needed with the ever-changing workload are outstanding. She has excellent rapport with faculty, staff and students. Her leadership, knowledge and capabilities are highly respected by her co-workers and the UNK community and contribute to the success of the Technology Help Desk, the Technology Store and the department.
Jeremy Childress has been a Network Administrator for Information Technology Services since 2005. As a network administrator, he supports the wired network and the wireless network, as well as cable TV infrastructure. He regularly monitors security issues and daily makes sure ITS staff members are aware of vulnerabilities and malware that are known to impact higher education users. Jeremy is the always the first person to volunteer for new projects and to help with problems that arise unexpectedly. He volunteers to assist the Helpdesk when they are overwhelmed with student laptops that need to connect to the wireless network. He is often called after hours to address problems, some that are network-related and some that are application-related. During the 2011-2012 academic year, he committed many days to the installation of upgraded connectivity between the UNK campus and the Museum of Nebraska Art. This started as a simple equipment replacement, but because the technology was new, evolved into a difficult transition requiring many hours of testing with frequent failures. He was patient, congenial, and respectful of the MONA staff and their needs during the extended upgrade process.
Dylan Evans has been a System Administrator for Information Technology Services since 2005. As the system administrator for the web servers and content management system behind the UNK web site, he was called upon to shoulder additional responsibilities when the UNK Webmaster resigned in December 2010. Dylan helped several departments complete projects that had aggressive timelines. He assisted with web site communications during campus emergencies. He worked after hours and on holidays. He served as a technical advisor to the search committee tasked with filling the Webmaster position. One of his nominations stated, “He was unfailingly pleasant to work with, consistently exceeded what he was asked to do and worked as a team player. He is the model of what the Information Technology Award stands for."
Kay joined the staff of Information Technology Services in 2005 as a Programmer/Analyst. Kay played a key role in the conversion of data from UNK’s SIS Plus application to PeopleSoft. She worked evenings, weekends and holidays to make sure the project stayed on track. Her co-workers noted that she never complained and often smiled through problems and bad news. Kay’s goal was to make the transition to the new system a little less painful and to provide a seamless experience for students, faculty and staff.