“Emory Closed” doesn’t affect TOC operations

Collage photo of five men

The on-campus TOC heroes.

“Emory University will be closed because of severe weather conditions.” How does such an announcement affect employees that provide essential services?

Essential Services: Regardless of the university’s cancellation decision, certain employees who perform vital duties are expected to report to work. Because the UTS Technical Operations Center (TOC) provides essential services for both Emory Healthcare and Emory University, the TOC is never officially closed.

While every effort should be made to report to work during inclement weather, we never want our staff to jeopardize their safety on hazardous roads. Therefore to avoid interruptions of key services, several team members worked remotely. However, some elements of our work must be done on the premises. So when this latest storm hit last Tuesday afternoon, a few dedicated TOC employees remained on campus and weathered the storm to provide important functions for Emory University.

Work that is expected to be performed by all TOC shifts even during an announced University closure includes:

  • Provide proactive Critical Infrastructure Motioning
  • Resolve incident reports and service requests submitted by Healthcare and University customers (8HELP, Desktop support, Payroll, or Healthcare IS)
  • Respond to and triage any alerts as reported by (SMARTS) Network Monitoring Tools
  • Resolve and escalate problems on Critical Systems events
  • Report MIN and SIA service outages
  • Process Batch Processing for Control M/Millennium, Database, Datawarehouse and PSoft Systems
  • Run Mainframe, HealthQuest and Accounts Payable jobs
  • Generate Production Output printing
  • Assist Visitors who need access to the Data Center
  • Provide After-hours Service Desk Support

The TOC heroes of the 2014 Winter Storm that provided these essential functions were:

On-Campus: Craig Cooper, Sean Deaver, Matt Merchant and James Proctor.

Remote: William Bryant, Charles Marler and Dawn Weaver.

During the height of the storm, the team dined on pizza for dinner and breakfast. A few eventually took naps in the TOC Meeting Room. Nevertheless, there was some much-needed reprieve on the way. Late Wednesday they finally got to enjoy a hot meal at the Emory Conference Center before returning to work.

Later Wednesday evening, another dedicated trio (Kerry JemisonEric Magnum and Harrison Miller) braved the roads and joined the work group.

As managers, Amir Ali, Jim Fordham and I sincerely appreciate their extra effort, sacrifice, and commitment to keep TOC operations functional during these rare winter storm occurrences. As in previous storms, it’s always great to know we can count on our team to go the extra mile for our customers. Thank you all again for all you do for the TOC and for helping Emory create the future.

Author and business consultant Jim Collins once said, “The kind of commitment I find among the best performers across virtually every field is a single-minded passion for what they do, an unwavering desire for excellence in the way they think and the way they work.”

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