Rain doesn’t cool a hot LITS Chili Cook-Off

A few of the pumpkin entries.

LITSers braved the elements to enjoy the fellowship of the annual LITS Chili Cook-Off. Despite soggy conditions, employees who made it to the 1762 Building stayed dry as the event moved inside for only the second time ever.

Twelve chilis were lined up in the 1762 A/B conference suite, with titles such as “Tailgater’s Steak Chili,” “DeKalb Firehouse,” and “Big Green Egg Chili.” In addition to the chili contest, there was the annual Bake-Off and, new this year, a pumpkin-carving contest.

“This is my favorite day of the year,” says Daniel Palmer. “Chili contests are right in my wheelhouse.”

Sriram Chari enjoying the event.

Attendees were able to congregate in the halls, eating the contested food fare as well as hot dogs and sausages that were grilled by Tommy Barwick and his team.

Sponsored by LITS B&A, this is the 19th year of the event, which started in 2001, not long after the merger between Healthcare Netcom and University Netcom.

“It was good to see so many people come out,” says Rich Mendola.

The winners for 2019 were:

Chilis – 12 entries

  1. James Leonard – Tailgate Steak Chili
  2. Camille Hyatt – White Chicken Chili
  3. Justin Menacker – Big Green Egg Over the Top Chili

Desserts – 5 entries

  1. Shoba Malik – Pumpkin Pie Mousse
  2. Celeste Hermida – Pumpkin Pie Bars
  3. Bev Turner – Carrot Cake Cup Cakes

Pumpkins – 6 entries

  1. Jack Scott – Animated LITS Pumpkin
  2. Caroline Corbitt – Frankenstein Pumpkin
  3. Wade Moricle – LITSSSSSS Pumpkin

James Leonard is this years’ chili winner.

Special thanks go to the folks who worked so hard to make the event another success: Tommy Barwick, Nydia CharlesHuggins, Kim Comstock (organizer), Michelle Crawford, Sebreanna Echols, Lamar Kelley, Khadijah Muhammad, Linda Richardson, James Sawyer, and all the Field Services guys who helped move chairs and tables.

The next two LITS-wide events are the LITS Town Hall on November 20 and the LITS Holiday Party on December 12.

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50th Anniversary Celebration of the Woodruff Library draws large audience

Woodruff Library as a cake!

The Woodruff Library celebrated its 50th anniversary on Wednesday this week with balloons, cupcakes, King of Pops, historical exhibits, guest alumni, and a replica of the original 1969 construction made out of cake.

Hosted by Campus and Community relations, the event was held on Level 2 of the library and was attended by staff, students, faculty, and even a visiting history class.

It was a time of reflection about change and growth over the past fifty years. “It’s hard to believe how things have changed,” says Gary Hauk, Emory historian. “The ramp over the ravine is gone, along with the prohibition against drinks and food in the stacks. Things are better!”

Daniel Kessler, a student whose research at Emory is around the intersection of technology and public policy, served on the first-year advisory board and believes that creating more spaces with natural light has made the library more palatable to students.

Kelly Kautt says, “Working in the library has been a positive experience. People find out what I do and think it would be wonderful to work here.”

“The biggest change over the years has been to transition to digital,” says Pam Matthews. “Today our work is about making things available to the modern, tech savvy students.”

“But you know,” adds Pam wistfully, “there’s still nothing like coming to a place where you can sit down and read a real book.”

Added library alum Ginger Smith, “I simply love coming back here.”

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Alex Jenkins, Communications Technician I, Field Services

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“I like it here. It’s a great bunch to work with.” – Alex Jenkins

Alex Jenkins is the newest communications technician to join Field Services. He brings a wealth of experience to the team, having spent the past 14 years as a telecom technician at Georgia Electric. Before then he worked as a technician at Covad Communication.

Alex is a native of Charleston, SC. When he’s not working, Alex loves watching professional sports, especially football and basketball.

“I like it here. It’s a little different from my previous experience, but it is very laid back, and I like the guys,” says Alex. “Do what you’re supposed to do and it keeps the stress down. It’s a great bunch to work with.”

You can reach him at alexander [dot] leon [dot] jenkins [at] emory [dot] edu.

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LITS recent headlines and upcoming events

Headlines & Events graphic banner


Recent LITS headlines:

Upcoming LITS events:

(go HERE for more information for each event)

  • November 7Event: History of Emblem Books (Bound with History/Rose Library series), 5:00 – 6:30 pm, Rose Library
  • November 14LEAF Coffee + LITS Wellness Committee: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, Jones Room, Woodruff Library
  • November 15Event: Emory Thanks, 11:00 – 2:00 pm, front of Woodruff Library
  • November 19InfoForum: 10:00 – 11:00 am, Jones Room, Woodruff Library
  • November 20LITS Town Hall: 10:00 – noon, Schwartz Performing Arts Center
  • November 21IT Briefing: 10:15 – 12:00 pm, 4th Floor Auditorium, North Decatur Building
  • December 11LEAF Holiday Party: 12:00-2:00, Woodruff Library
  • December 12LITS Holiday Party: 3:30-6:30, Emory Conference Center Ballroom
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John Stiles, Jr. reflects on 34 years at Emory

John Stiles Jr.

After 34 years, John Stiles Jr. can look around Emory and see his mark quite easily. As the senior project manager who handled the network portion of academic, administrative, and healthcare construction projects at Emory, John has had a hand in nearly every academic building.

John started in 1985 as a network specialist II, where he troubleshot data installations around campus. Working under Mike Wilhoit, John was part of the EUCC (Emory University Computing Center). Later he would be promoted to engineer, before spending the majority of his career as a project manager, starting in the early 90s.

“In the early days, we would scrap for places to put our equipment in buildings,” recalls John. “As the IT industry started evolving, specifically the growth of networking standards, there became a greater need for oversight in renovations and new construction to ensure that the infrastructure that IT needed was in place.”

Public Pages, the IT newsletter when John joined in 1985. He’s listed on page 14 under “New Faces”

“What tells you that you’ve been here too long is when the new building you saw go up is being renovated for the second or third time,” laughs John.

One of John’s favorite projects was the DAS project (distributed antenna system), which enabled the hospitals to get cell service in the buildings. John considers it a tremendous success because they were able to convince AT&T to spend millions of dollars on infrastructure that would have been impossible for Emory to achieve.

When he worked on the Woodruff Library Annex, John’s name was place on a beam in the new structure, along with several others, to commemorate the effort.

Now that John’s retiring, he and his wife Gladys are moving to the mountains of western North Carolina, to a tiny town called Robbinsville, which is halfway between Murphy and Bryson City, NC. “It’s not in the middle of nowhere, but it’s definitely on the way to nowhere,” he jokes. His family is from that area.

Robbinsville, NC

The Stiles’ are building a house on the side of the mountain, and they are putting in a wood-working shop so that they can continue their life-long love of wood crafts. “I plan to while away the days sitting on the porch, drinking a cup of coffee, and reading a good book.”

Regarding his time at Emory, “Just like the corporate world, there are good times and bad times. I tell people to ride it out and remember that for every down time, there is an up time right behind it.”

Adds John, “The people here at Emory have been great. I’ve made lots of friends, both here and with the contractors and vendors I have worked with. Many of them will be lifetime friends. I’ve enjoyed seeing Emory grow, and I imagine when I come back for doctor visits that I will get lost because of the constant change.”

John likes to share a funny story about how he visited Emory’s “museum” as a fifth grader and they took him into a basement in one of the buildings on the Quad. “I had no clue back in the 60’s that this would be where I spent the majority of my life.”

His favorite work story came from the early networking days. They used copper cabling across campus and were able to test the integrity of the network using a paperclip, shaped into a “U,” and inserted into the four-prong network jack. Rather than tromp all over campus, they could talk to end users on the phone and walk them through the process of inserting the paperclip. “One day, we were talking a person through the process and heard a scream on the phone. They had inserted the paperclip into the electrical outlet!”

“We were encouraged to do it ourselves after that.”

John’s lasting belief is that “Emory is a good place to work. My advice to new hires is to contribute early and as much as you can to your retirement, because you cannot get that time back later.”

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Scott Blochberger, Auxiliary Manager, Field Services

photo of scott blochberger

“I noticed this job posting at Emory and it sounded perfect for me. I’m glad to be here.” – Scott Blochberger

Scott Blochberger is the new manager of field service auxiliary. Prior to his work with Emory, Scott worked for eleven years as a supervisor of quality assurance at Charter Communications. He also spent ten years at Bell South with his final role as a manager of field engineering.

Born in San Diego, Scott received a bachelor’s degree in security management, with a concentration in IT, from American Military University. He also earned a certificate in information security planning and auditing from AMU. He has lived in Georgia since he was ten years old.

In his free time, Scott loves playing with his 4-year-old and traveling with his family. He became interested in Emory because of his wife, Mandi, who is the assistant director for research admin services in the School of Medicine.

“My previous job involved a lot of travel, so I was looking for a change,” says Scott. “I noticed this job posting at Emory and it sounded perfect for me. I’m glad to be here.”

You can reach him at scott [dot] blochberger [at] emory [dot] edu.

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Casey Cooksey, Warehouse Specialist II, Field Services

photo of casey cooksey

“I’ve always wanted to join LITS. I’d heard that the work environment in Field Services was good.” – Casey Cooksey

Casey Cooksey is the new warehouse specialist at the 1762 building. Casey spent the last ten years as a materials handler II in the procurement area of Emory’s Campus Services division. He also had previous warehouse experience before starting his Emory career.

Born in Covington, GA, Casey went to high school at Rockdale in Conyers. Other experience? “Just life!” says Casey.

Away from work, Casey is a playwright and works with his wife, Saundi, who is a voice actress. He helps her with that career any way he can.

“I’ve always wanted to join LITS,” says Casey. “I’d heard that the work environment in Field Services was good, plus I was interested in the type of warehousing they do here. It’s been a good change of scenery.”

You can reach him at casey [dot] v [dot] cooksey [at] emory [dot] edu.

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