UT employee wins top award at technology conference

June 23, 2014 | News, UToday
By Jessica LeMire

A staff member from The University of Toledo Information Technology Department received the Top Presenter Award at this year’s Ohio Higher Education Computing Council Conference.

Conference attendees rated 42 presentations, and Don Curtis, UT enterprise applications automation developer, won the highest honor.

“It’s the only public forum for Ohio institutions to showcase their work and get feedback from their peers,” Curtis said. “There’s no other place I could go and do something similar to get that sort of recognition.”

“This exemplifies the technological innovations and advancement at The University of Toledo and further recognizes UT’s technological leadership amongst colleges and universities in Ohio,” said Dr. Godfrey Ovwigho, UT vice president for information technology.

Peers evaluated presentations on the following criteria: topic relevance, the ability to provide innovative and applicable ideas, sufficient discussion time and positive interaction between presenter and attendees, and effective visual aids.

“The award measured the amount of excitement about the particular project we were showing; it wasn’t about my presentation skills as it was about the app, the kiosk application, that we put together and showed to other universities, and that generated a lot of excitement,” Curtis said. “I think it showcases our capabilities, the talent we have on our team, and our creativity with technology. It’s not just about getting a bunch of money and throwing it into technology; it’s sitting back and saying how can we use this most effectively?”

Curtis’ presentation explored the ways kiosks could be built quickly and inexpensively.

He detailed two UT projects: the Rocket Wireless Kiosk, created with Joy Seifert, UT director of auxiliary services, to check in customers at the Rocket Wireless store, and RocketPADS, developed with Rick Gerasimiak, UT manager of desktop support, and Jeff Coyne, UT senior server administrator, which offer students controlled access to web-based student apps and online services in the Carlson Library Information Commons.

“I can’t take credit for all the ideas, of course,” Curtis said. “Jeff and Rick were important in conceiving the project with me, my supervisor, Sherry Blosser, saw the value in the idea and let me spend development time on it, which was important, and Godfrey came up with the original request.”

In addition to Curtis’ presentation, Mohammad Wadood Majid, UT enterprise application administrator and developer, and Dr. Golrokh Mirzaei, UT application developer, lectured about on-call scheduling systems.

The annual conference was held in May at Kent State University. The conference brings together higher education information technology professionals from around the state to share ideas, problem solve and create relationships.

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