Thomas E. Board

My Career

Retirement

On May 31, 2014, after 37 years and 10 months of service, I retired from Northwestern University.

2008-2014 Associate Vice President for Cyberinfrastructure Division of Information Technology Northwestern University

I was responsible for the University's basic IT infrastructure for information transport, storage and processing. This included the University's IP and telephony networks, switching centers, and data centers. Reliable, continuous high-performance services were my goal. Vital to success were innovative engineering, pro-active capacity planning, solid change controls, and effective monitoring and process automation. I oversaw two departments in the IT division with a combined staff of 65.

Organizational Change

At this time, to improve reliability and management of the Northwestern University's most fundamental IT infrastructure, the telecommunications, data networking, and data center units were combined to become the Office of Cyberinfrastructure.

2003-2008 Director of Information Systems Architecture Division of Information Technology Northwestern University

I was responsible for creating, maintaining, and directing deployment of a University-wide architecture for application and information integration. This encompassed identity management, authentication services, authorization services,and application integration middleware. I directed a staff of four.

Defined and introduced an information systems architecture for the University. Deployed LDAP technology to define an identity registry and separate white pages service to support secure self-service applications. Introduced a Web SSO facility in the University network. Led investigation of a University business portal with recommendations for its functional characteristics Replaced the University's home-grown identity management system with a commercial product. Advised administrative units on realizing self-service models for customer service, utilizing reliable authorization infrastructures.

1995-2003 Director of Technology Support Services Division of Information Technology Northwestern University

Chosen to lead this new unit during reorganization of the NU Information Technology division. Technology Support Services was created as the primary client contact unit for University staff and students, combining both the traditional user services function with telecommunications customer service.

Continued a high level of services to staff and students based upon revamped Help Desk and the residential consultants. Participated in a team that selected and purchased a trouble ticket system for use across all NU Information Technology divisions. Directed the implementation of the TSS portions of that system. Defined goals for using the trouble ticket system as a telecommunications order entry and order tracking system. Directed implementation and introduction of the system into daily operations between TSS and supporting units in NU Information Technology. Reduced customer complaints about telecommunication work order processing by over 90% through a combination of staff reorganization and the new order entry system.

Organizational Change

At this time, the Northwestern Technologies Group was disbanded and the staff and units of that activity were incorporated into Northwestern University. The Division of Information Technology was formed and organized at this time from the administrative, academic, telecommunications, and data center units previously independent of one another.

1994-1995 Manager of User Services Academic Computing and Network Services Northwestern University

After ten years building out the University's computing network, I returned to the computer support organization to modernize approaches to desktop computer support.

Chaired a committee that studied how desktop computing should be supported within the University, and recommended that a distributed support model be adopted. Directed implementation. Proposed and received approval for a support structure to assist students in dormitories and other living units. Used volunteer student workers to provide local help to resident students. Restructured the Help Desk to remove staff involvement and make it instead a student-operated service to the University community. Defined goals for a University software installer that would reduce problems with bringing student computers onto the dormitory networks. Directed the efforts of a cross-organizational team to complete the product, documentation, and distribution.

1991-1994 Director of Planning and Development Northwestern Technologies Group Northwestern University

Through reorganization, I moved from operational responsibilities to planning and business development. My staff of 7 were responsible for all RFPs, investigations, and trials of new services and systems, etc.

Directed the procurement and installation of voice mail services. Introduced 10BaseT data transport services as a product and service available through the Telecommunications division. This fueled a rapid expansion of local networks within the University. Recommended and directed the design and cost modeling for a University fiber-optic backbone network. Once funding was approved, directed the construction, installation, acceptance, and cutover of the network which served over 200 buildings on the two University campuses. Proposed and received funding to extend 10BaseT Ethernet services to all dormitory rooms. Once funding was approved, directed the construction, installation and acceptance of these additional 7000 ports.

1984-1991 Director of Telecommunications Northwestern Technologies Group Northwestern University

The Northwestern Technologies Group was a joint venture telecommunications provider of the University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

I was recruited by the University administration to direct the Evanston campus implementation of a 3600+ line telecommunications network to 180 buildings using a NorTel SL-100 class-5 PBX. The system was placed into service in February 1985. Was transferred to the Chicago campus in June 1986 to complete implementation of 5000+ line telecommunications network to 24 buildings combining academic and hospital environments. Network was placed into service in October 1987. In 1988, I assumed operational responsibility for both campuses. During this time, we transitioned operations of the network from the original contractor to University staff. I directed all customer service and technical operations during the subsequent period of rapid expansion. From 9000 lines, the network expanded to a high point of 20,000 lines. Proposed a business plan for telephone services to students in campus living units - an expansion of approximately 3500 lines. The project was approved and installed.

Organizational Change

At this time, Northwestern University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago formed a joint venture to purchase, install and operate a private telephone network. This organization became known as Northwestern Technologies Group (NTG for short).

1983-1984 Acting Director Vogelback Computing Center Northwestern University

I assumed leadership of the academic computing center and managed that activity for one year. During that time, I lobbied for and opened the first on-campus computer store to handle Apple Consortium and other computer sales to students, faculty and staff.

1982-1983 Manager of Software Development and Distribution Vogelback Computing Center Northwestern University

I managed a staff of six with responsibility to develop, support, and maintain major applications systems used by researchers (SPSS, BMDP, IMSL). Under agreement with software vendors, we converted IBM versions to CDC Cyber architectures and licensed the software to over 200 sites worldwide.

1980-1981 Assistant Manager, Systems Programming Vogelback Computing Center Northwestern University

I assisted the group manager with day-to-day supervision of the programming staff, project planning, and reporting to the computing center director.

Relocation

In 1980, Carol completed her residency program in Milwaukee. We were fortunate that she found an immediate position at the NorthCare HMO located in Evanston, Illinois. I was able to continue working at Northwestern and we moved from Milwaukee to Wilmette.

1976-1979 Programmer/Analyst, Systems Programming Vogelback Computing Center Northwestern University

I returned to the Midwest when my spouse began her medical residence training in Milwaukee, WI. At Northwestern, I maintained and provided expert support on compilers and run-time libraries for the Control Data (CDC) 6000 series mainframe using Compass assembly language.

Adapted CDC new releases of programming language compilers to operate on the local NU-maintained operating system. Assisted with migration from CDC 6400 to CDC 6600 to CDC Cyber 730 through benchmarks, timesharing load tests, and failure analyses. Assisted in authoring Request for Proposals, evaluations and benchmarking of a super-minicomputer platform to augment CDC mainframe. Resulted in purchase and installation of a DEC VAX 11-780 system.

Relocation

Carol completed her medical school education at Georgetown Medical School and, in July 1976, began her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

1974-1976 Member of the Technical Staff Goddard Space Flight Center Computer Sciences Corporation

After completing course work for graduate degree at NU, I relocated to Washington, DC. Under a contract to NASA, I was part of a team that supported telemetry and guidance systems for unmanned space missions. Authored graphics executive software in support of unmanned satellite missions on IBM mainframes using Assembler and FORTRAN. Developed new capabilities and supported existing modules. I spent a fair amount of time at Goddard Space Flight Center.


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