With a twinkle and a smile, Al Shelton departs after 34 years of Emory service

photo of employee

Al Shelton.

This week marks the last in a 34-year Emory career for applications developer and analyst, Al Shelton. It is hard for anyone to believe he’s actually leaving. “What?” says former co-worker Luciano Dalla Venezia. “I didn’t think he was ever leaving!”

Hired at Emory in 1986 to promote the use of PCs and get users off the VT100 terminals, Al started as a hardware bench technician and switched to software in the last 10 years of his career. He was one of the primary developers of the ServiceNow ticketing system, and also worked on the older Magic and Remedy ticketing systems.

What’s kept him at Emory for so long? “The challenge of the work and the people,” he says.

Al was raised on a farm in Chickasha, OK. “The area was known for building horse trailers. But I got tired of construction work and went back to school in my 20s.” Al got an associate degree in electronics and turned that knowledge into a lengthy IT career. He’s held many hardware and software certifications over the years.

One of his favorite Emory stories was when the department received an IBM token ring network without the benefit of any instructions from IBM. Even though the machines were still boxed up, Al began getting calls from IBM customers because he was the alleged “expert” in token ring installation. “We were experts in unboxing those machines, but that was about it.”

Former Emory co-worker David D’Haene sums up Al’s style this way, “Folks would ask for something. Al would listen and tell them ‘No.’ Then he and I would make it happen. He taught me that scotch is good and free scotch is very good. When Al would listen to me complain about work or life, he would wait, then tell a story that usually ended with sound advice – even if it was “don’t do it that way.”

“I have been lucky enough throughout my career to always have a ‘senior sage’ or Jedi Master in my teams, someone with not only deep institutional knowledge, but also worldly wisdom that transcends mere common sense. Al has been my Jedi Master at Emory,” says ITSMO manager Matt Hodgson. “I don’t think he realizes just how much respect everyone has for him, and how much we will miss him both personally and professionally.”

“Al has always told these jokes that you wouldn’t tell in mixed company,” says Sandra Harrison. “He knows the right people to tell them to who would get the joke and not be offended. He’s the best and I will miss him dearly.”

For retirement, Al is planning a “four corners trip,” where he intends to ride his red Harley Limited Low from Atlanta to Key West, to San Diego, to Seattle, to Bangor, ME. “Of course it’s red,” he quips. “It’s my sleigh!”

Al has been a professional Santa for eight years and loves the work. He also enjoys captaining his highly decorated 8-ball and 9-ball pool teams.

Still, Al Shelton is going to miss Emory. “Overall, Emory is a great company to work for,” he says. “It’s a fun place.”

This entry was posted in Staff Bytes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>