Electrician Team Thanksgiving 2015
The nomination reads simply: “It was Thanksgiving Weekend 2015. Contractors cut the High Voltage line that feeds Fitzgerald. Our Electricians got the power restored.”
But there’s much more to this story. Our trades are often the unsung heroes on campus; this is yet another example of the team pulling together to get us back on track again. Not only was the cut unexpected, it was as a result of non-U of T work on-going in the area AND on a long weekend. Lack of power put research at Fitzgerald at risk, but Blair and his team worked diligently and creatively throughout the holiday weekend email to ensure that the power supply to freezers was maintained, and that no research was lost.
We know how grateful the research team was and, while the electrical team would likely say “all in a day’s work” we know that this was above and beyond. We expect nothing less from our Trades, but they always put in more.
Glen Murray (now retired)
Terry Fischer and
Traffic Calming Phase 2
The Convocation Hall traffic calming project consisted of the implementation of an “intervention” in the area outside of Convocation Hall at the south end of Kings’ College Circle which has been of increasing concern to the whole University community for many years.
The primary concern was pedestrian safety and the pedestrian zone was ultimately designed to correct these issues is an open “safe” space directly outside Convocation Hall, defined by bollards and a paint treatment on a newly asphalted surface, and with a new intersection created where Kings’ College Road meets Kings’ College Circle. There has been universal (and unsolicited) praise for the intervention from numerous community members at the University and in the broader community.
A significant amount of creativity was also required by the team to solve the logistical and design challenges. The solution needed to solve the area traffic problems without harming the important and historic views in this part of the campus, and ensuring that practical considerations related to parking capacity, snow removal, campus events and visiting tour buses were addressed.
The second phase of the traffic calming project outside Convocation Hall involved a significant amount of time pressure and logistical challenges. The work was successfully completed on time for the start of the fall semester, with minimal disruption to the community.
Food Services In-sourcing
This nomination is for the core team involved in the first phase of Food Services transition from contracted to self-operated (this work will continue with an even larger team over the next year). This is a transformational project, and has required intense amounts of work from numerous staff within Food Services, but also from other managers and staff in Ancillary Services, and University Operations. We have had to restructure budgets, build a new organization chart, write job descriptions, meet with and prepare close to 250 offer packages for new and returning employees, schedule benefits orientation sessions, buy trucks, communicate with our clients across the campus, create a commissary production facility, purchase and program new cash registers, write an RFP for food production software, develop new in-house branding for food outlets and our new campus catering service, build new and exciting menus and a new website, negotiate franchise agreements, respond to media inquiries, figure out how to network over 30 new debit/credit terminals, develop a cash deposit system, and renovate our head office to accommodate additional staff…..all while continuing to maintain services to the campus, and planning for two new food outlets at the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Music.
Jaco Lokker Paul Readings
Bellmia Ravindran Amanda Chapman
Edward Low Gayle McBurnie
Susan Duncan Cristina Minichini
Todd Baril Alison Coulter
Convocation E-Ticketing project
It seemed like a straightforward request – “could the ACORN team improve the graduation experience at U of T by implementing e-tickets for guests?” The previous paper based process required that students line up in person at Simcoe Hall to obtain their allotted number of paper tickets. Electronic tickets, however, would provide students with a simple way to RSVP on-line and the convenience of obtaining electronic guest tickets regardless of geographical location. The tickets could then be easily emailed to their guests! What seemed like a straightforward request, however, involved a complex set of requirements for a new user experience on ACORN and the implementation of a new electronic ticketing process within one of our oldest buildings on campus – Convocation Hall. After many months of testing, the team soon came up with a solution involving laptops and scanners located at the various entrances for the ceremony. Guests could download their tickets and present these at the door, or display an electronic version on a smart phone or tablet. Tickets were then scanned to ensure the ticket was only used once at the door. What sets this project apart and leads us to submit this nomination was the close partnership between ITS and the Convocation Office in making this a successful application. Two to three staff members from the ITS team were on site for every convocation ceremony in November – scanning tickets, and assisting in troubleshooting issues alongside our colleagues from Simcoe Hall. The team worked in the rain, the cold, and numerous late nights, fine tuning the process, helping guests find their way, and assisting with scanner/hardware problems. The new e-ticket application has now provided a streamlined, “green” environmentally friendly, and convenient service, befitting the highlight of a student’s academic life at the U of T – graduation!
SAP infrastructure project
In the fall of 2015 it became apparent that the existing AMS/SAP infrastructure which supports all of the main administrative processes for the University including Research, Finance, HR/Payroll, and Facilities and Services needed to be upgraded urgently. The existing infrastructure was unable to support many critical enhancements planned for the system over the coming months. Requirements for additional security measures, as well as demand for 24/7 hardware support also required some new solutions! With this challenge before them, a cross divisional team from EASI, EIS and ISEA quickly sprang into action. The project required that the team plan, purchase, install, setup and configure new AIX servers, IBM storage servers, and backup servers within a compressed timeframe. To accommodate the new requirements for 24/7 support, the team created two RFPs, one for the hardware and one for the managed services. The new “hybrid cloud” solution would take advantage of our state-of-the-art data center while out-sourcing the 24/7 management of the hardware and operating system. Security within this new environment was paramount as a new design would be required to segregate the hardware from other areas of the data center. Over a six month period the team worked in tandem with the vendors selected to create the new infrastructure. In the final step of the plan, the team had to migrate seventeen existing test and production systems to the new hardware platform while side-stepping several critical business cycles such as the distribution of T4s, grant year-end, and financial year end. The migration was planned and executed almost flawlessly with no impact to the various functional areas. Since the introduction of the new hardware, we have noted performance improvements between 30% and 50% in almost all areas including HR payroll, system backups, and the execution of various reports. This project was an example of a very successful partnership across the CIO portfolio that provided demonstrable results to stakeholders we can all be very proud of.