Derek Spransy wins 2017 Award of Distinction

Derek Spransy

Derek Spransy, who works in IT Security as the lead information security specialist, is one of fourteen Emory employees selected as this year’s winners of the Emory University Award of Distinction. Since 1985, the award has annually recognized staff members who have made outstanding contributions to the Emory community.

Honorees were celebrated at a dinner on Oct. 19 with Emory President Claire Sterk and received a $1,000 award.

According to the person who nominated Derek, he “has had a tremendous impact on improving the safety and security of Emory’s IT resources and sensitive data. He is the driving force behind implementing a comprehensive suite of security controls that have dramatically improved Emory’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to cyber-related threats.”

Derek introduces Duo dual-factor authentication at the IT Briefing.

As Emory’s primary responder for these threats, Derek has led the investigative efforts of events such as identity theft, direct deposit fraud, health savings account fraud, SPAM and phishing attacks, advanced attacks by nation state actors and multiple data breaches. He has been particularly adept at detecting incidents early, leading effective responses to minimize the impact and then devising controls to help protect against similar events in the future.”

Derek has also led efforts to proactively improve Emory’s security. These include the deployment of Duo two factor authentication; the disk encryption on 4,500 laptops and 12,000 mobile devices to protect sensitive data stored on them; an enterprise-wide email encryption solution to enable secure email communications with outside parties; and periodic internal email phishing exercises to reduce the Emory community’s susceptibility.

He is frequently called upon to work collaboratively across multiple organizations, often during times of immense stress. His ability to work extended hours when in crisis mode, stay calm under pressure and translate complex information about security events into understandable plans has made him an endeared colleague to many groups across the university.

“Awards like these aren’t won in isolation,” says Derek. “Emory’s leadership understands the importance of information security, and I work with a great team. All that we do is made possible because of supportive leadership and good teamwork.”

Added Derek, “It’s exciting to work at Emory and the job of trying to protect our information resources is a daily challenge. I look forward to helping IT leadership develop its security strategy for years to come.”

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Emory Libraries’ new age of digital signage begins ones box at a time

Norman Hulme next to the shipping crate for the first major piece of digital signage.

Last week heralded the delivery of a special wooden box in the Woodruff Library loading dock. With great excitement, Derek Butler, Marc Harrison, Norman Hulme, and Edgar Perez unboxed the Information Kiosk, the first physical piece of equipment in Emory Libraries’ digital signage project.

The Information Kiosk, standing almost eight feet high, was delivered by Boyd Enclosures out of Colorado. This kiosk is the first of 38 screens that will be installed over the next few months. These screens will be distributed between the Woodruff Library, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library, and the Computing Center at Cox Hall.

Located between the security desk and the stairs going down to Level 1, the Information Kiosk will have two screens: the front screen will provide way-finding so people can find locations throughout the library and the back side will likely have important content such as event promotion and schedules.

The Information Kiosk (without the digital monitors).

“This is part of the first phase of a four phase project,” said project manager Trisha Wilson,  “It is the first step in a journey to help us cross-pollinate events and information throughout the expansive Emory Library system.”

The beginning of equipment installation follows an extensive period of research and selection by the library’s digital signage committee. If successful, this project is expected to set a standard for digital signage that could be adopted campus-wide.

“It’s going to help the library propel their marketing strategy and communication to the students, staff and faculty who are their customers,” says Trisha.

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Tavares Matthews, Communications Specialist I, Field Services

“Everyone is very informative, and they go out of their way to teach you new things.” – Tavares Matthews

Tavares Matthews joins Field Services after two years in first aid sales at Cintas. He also spent 13 years as a server and bartender at Red Lobster.

A native of Charleston, SC, Tavares moved to GA when he was 17 years old and attended Newton County High School in Covington, GA. He is currently working on a degree in project management at Strayer University.

A lifelong sports fan, Tavares loves basketball, where he plays center, and enjoys football and all kinds of other sports.

“I love working here,” says Tavares. “Everyone is very informative, and they go out of their way to teach you new things.”

You can reach him at tavares [dot] matthews [at] emory [dot] edu.

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Bryce Smith, Communications Specialist I, Field Services

“I can honestly say this is probably the best job I’ve ever worked.” – Bryce Smith

Bryce Smith is one of four new technicians in Field Services. He came to Emory after spending four years in the Navy, where he was an aviation ordinanceman. He has also worked as a professional musician and attended the Atlanta Institute of Music, where he was a guitarist.

Born in Ocean View, CA, Bryce moved to Georgia when he was small and considers himself a native. He is currently studying to get his Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certifications.

Away from the job, Bryce loves the outdoors, music, video games, and hanging with his friends.

“I can honestly say this is probably the best job I’ve ever worked,” says Bryce, “The atmosphere is very cool.”

You can reach Bryce at bryce [dot] smith [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 13 – Event: Visual Scholarship Initiative/MAP IT series, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ECDS
  • November 14 – Workshop: Teaching with Voyant, 2:30 pm, Woodruff Library Room 312
  • November 15 – Event: GIS Day at ECDS, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, ECDS
  • November 15 – Event: WWI Series – Men of Bronze: The Black Heroes of WWI, 6:30 pm, Jones Room level 3
  • November 16IT Briefing: a monthly look into the IT projects across LITS – 10:15 am – noon – NDB 4th Floor Auditorium
  • November 23-24 – Thanksgiving Break
  • December 14 – LEAF Holiday Party, Matheson Reading Room, Candler Library
  • December 20 – LITS Holiday Party, 3:30-6:30 pm, Math and Computer Science Atrium
  • December 25-26 – Christmas Break
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LITS annual chili cook-off pleases another large crowd

Tommy Barwick fires up the grill for the hotdogs.

It was perfect fall weather at the 1762 Building as LITS Business and Administration held another successful Chili and Dessert Cook-Off event. Coordinated each year by Linda Richardson, Michelle Crawford, and Kim Comstock, with loads of help from the 1762 staff, this traditional event, in its 16th year, never disappoints.

With over 200 LITS employees in attendance, folks were treated to 18 different chili recipes and 14 different desserts. In addition, the event featured hotdogs, brunswick stew from Fox Brothers BBQ, and sides from Jason’s Deli. There was also a costume contest and, for the first time, karaoke after the meal.

The chili and desserts were blind-judged and scorecards were based on the following five categories:

There were 18 different chilis.

  1. Texture
  2. Flavor
  3. Consistency
  4. Spice and taste
  5. Appearance
This year’s chili winners:
  • First place – Danny Bridges, Beef Port Chili
  • Second place – Amir Ali, Spicy Chili!
  • Third place – Andrew Chin, Spicy Beef Chili
Desert winners:
  • First place – William Boney,  Praline Cheese Cake Bars
  • Second place – Liz Lucabaugh, Chocolate Pecan Pies
  • This place – Beverly Turner, Kiwi cupcakes

Costumes winners (in the biggest costume turnout in the history of the event):

  • First place – HR Group – Rock Band
  • Second place – Sam Politinsky – Pirate
  • Third place – Nayef Smith – Sith Lord

About his first-place dessert, William Boney said, “We took cheesecake and added a little more crunch with a caramel topping. In my opinion this is a different dessert, not a traditional pie, cake or cookie…it’s all three rolled in to one!”

HR Rock Group (from L to R): Nydia Charles Huggins, Rob Renner, Khadijah Muhammad, Carla Ashe-Hutchins.

Danny Bridges is no stranger to first place in the chili contest. In fact, it’s odd when he DOESN’T win.

According to Danny, “I used a mixture of beef short ribs, pork tenderloin and bacon, all ground together. I switch up the meat mixture every year. This year, I took my meat mixture and smoked it for two hours over my pot of chili on my Big Green Egg. When it was done, I let it cool and then crumbled the meat into the chili. The ingredients included tomatoes, variety of peppers, onions, garlic, multiple seasonings and beans.

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Curtis Jones, Communications Specialist I, Field Services

“The team atmosphere is warm, friendly, but fair. If you want something out of your career, they will help you get it. You just have to put the work in.” – Curtis Jones

Curtis Jones recently joined Field Services after spending the previous six months working for NetPlanner Systems as a low voltage tech in the construction of Emory’s new healthcare towers. He also spent three and a half years working an Emory contract as a low voltage contractor for American Telecommunications. Additionally, Curtis spent three years in the US Navy then drove an 18-wheeler for 21 years.

A native of Waynesboro, MS (population 5,000, not far from Hattiesburg), Curtis came to Georgia to escape the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. “My wife, two kids, and I relocated and it was the best thing I ever did,” says Curtis.

Curtis is currently studying for his Level II technician certification and also plans to earn his Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification soon thereafter.

“This department is the best place I have ever worked,” says Curtis. “I’ve been working a long time. The team atmosphere is warm, friendly, but fair. If you want something out of your career, they will help you get it. You just have to put the work in.”

You can reach Curtis at curtis [dot] jones [at] emory [dot] edu.

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