Heart Walk & Talk

February is American Heart Month! Thanks to the Information Services employees who joined us for the group walk to help raise heart health awareness this morning.

The UT System Living Well program also challenges employees to have their blood pressure checked this month. High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why knowing your numbers is so important. You can get your blood pressure screened at your doctor’s office or local drugstore. You can even check it yourself at one of UTMB’s blood pressure stations.

This is IS – Brian Sharpless

1. One word that best describes how you work?


2. Current mobile device?

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

3. How long have you worked at UTMB, what brought you, and what has kept you here?

I’ve been at UTMB a little over 3 ½ years now. I was looking to move into the Galveston area and UTMB met the requirements I was looking for in my next position. I would say that the challenges that have been presented to me have kept me here. I don’t always win, but continuing to push what believe is the best course of action inspires me to do my job to the best of my ability.

4. Take us through a recent workday.

I arrive early because I enjoy how peaceful it is and it allows me to clear my head and get ready for the day.  I make a to-do list for the day the I walk around to all of my employees and ask for 30 sec status updates on what they’re working on.  After that it’s standing meetings, lunch with the team, and the occasional trip to campus.

5. What is the funniest thing that ever happened at work?

Haha, probably when Jim Koppe “Took over” one of Todd’s departmental meetings.  I can honestly say I’ve never seen folks cover up their webcam so quickly.

6. What apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you live without?

I make it a point to try and unplug as much as possible.  My favorite app is Endomondo, which I use for tracking my running/biking.

7. What is your favorite food or meal?

Roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, and gravy over everything.

8. What’s your work space setup like?

Triple monitors at all times and a Razor Black Widow Mechanical Keyboard.

9. What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

Mouse Without Borders- it’s a piece of software connects all networked pcs with the same mouse and keyboard.  Allows me to use the same hardware peripherals with any machine.

10. How do you keep track of what you have to do?

Every morning I make a list of 3 things and try to get the first one accomplished by 10am.

11. What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

My ego is better than everyone else’s :-).  No one can tell me I can’t do something.

12. What do you listen to while you work? Got a favorite playlist? Maybe talk radio? Or do you prefer silence?

When I work I just need noise, something with no words.  Something similar to “Spa Music” that’s played at places like Massage Envy.  Sure enough, Sirus XM has a Spa channel that works perfectly.

13. What’s your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?

I’m a Crappy sleeper. I’m usually in bed by midnight and up by 5:30 am.

14. Who is your role model?

As a kid growing up in 80’s I would have to say Ronald Regan. He accomplished things in ways no one imagined and I’ve always admired him for that.

15. What’s your least favorite thing to do, and how do you deal with it?

Dishes-having the TV on soccer seems to help. Although there may have been a missed plate or two somewhere in there.

16. How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?


17. What’s your favorite side project?

Tinkering with my 1992 Jeep Wrangler. Gathering the telemetry data off of my RC cars.

18. What are you currently reading, or what’s something you’d recommend?

Voracious online reader. Anything related to space in particular. For example, the use of ‘Pi’ for interplanetary navigation. There’s a place on NASA’s website where you can download a file that goes to the billionth place past the decimal point in ‘Pi’. Other frequent reading pit stops include: NASA.gov, Space.gov, and the /dataisbeautiful subreddit.

19. You were nominated by Bill Fuqua. He wanted to ask you: How has your experience as a veteran contributed to your career now?

Made me grow up/mature. It helped create a healthy ego to accomplish anything I set my mind to. You start in boot camp as nothing, and you leave feeling like Superman.

20. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Doesn’t have to be work or productivity-related.

Do what you enjoy.
2nd best- On your wedding day, put soap on your finger.  Helps the ring slip on easier.

I’d like to nominate Khanh Le to answer some of these same questions as well as the following: What misconceptions did you have about people when you came to America?

Special thanks to Cody Milligan for deriving the questions, and conducting the interview.

Meeting Note Recommendations

Effective meetings are beneficial for everyone involved, and documenting the significance is important. Below are some suggestions for note taking during meetings. Please respond in the comments if you have any other recommendations, thanks!

Documenting Meeting Notes in Session

  • Always have a set agenda – therefore your notes have already started and you can recall your talking points if you get into a conversation
  • Facilitate – don’t try to document everything that was said (but joke that I may have been a good court stenographer in another life), but rather simply notate the consensus
  • Succinct – similar to the point above, most of meetings are discussions and don’t need to be documented verbatim. Try to simply summarize the main point or take away
  • Keywords – * is for Action Items, ^ is for Follow up, use terms that could be found in a search of the email or document. Attachments are also beneficial like an agenda because the notes can simply reference a review or discussion of the attachment
  • Take short (awkward) pause to record – when something noteworthy occurs in the meeting, document it right away. The conversation that ensues in the interim can be beneficial and you have your agenda to bring everyone back
  • Delegate – if possible, have representatives assigned to each talking point on the agenda; Then note taking is similar to simply moderating the discussion
  • Record – you could consider recording audio of the meeting and transcribe the notes following the session but this obviously requires more time
  • Follow-up – if possible, send meeting notes at the conclusion of the meeting or shortly thereafter. Ask for review and feedback from the attendees and update accordingly
  • Etiquette – always record the date & attendees, note Action Items / Due Dates / Follow-up, document the next meeting session if it’s a series, consider using OneNote or Teams (or iSpace) to consolidate the documentation

This is IS – Bill Fuqua

As part of a new blog series, we’re interviewing departmental staff and hopefully sharing some insights you may not have known about them from both work and life. If you are interested if being involved in constructing the questions or interviewing coworkers in the department please respond in the comments. Bill Fuqua, Director of Administrative Information Services (AIS) was willing to be the first interviewee and at the conclusion he nominated the next candidate. We hope you enjoy his commentary below, thanks to Bill for sharing his thoughts.

Bill Fuqua Interview 12/22/17

  1. How long have you worked at UTMB, what brought you, and what has kept you here?

    15 years, I started as a consultant on a PeopleSoft project, and when project ended I was going to be sent to Denver and as a single-parent with a teenage son I preferred to stay and transitioned to employment at UTMB. I liked the people and job so I stayed.

  2. What is your favorite thing about work?

    The people, and relationships with the people.

  3. What are your some of your hobbies or pastime?

    I like to build things. I build a variety of different things, usually not the same type. Carpentry has been an ongoing interest. Thanks to Harvey I’m rebuilding my kitchen cabinets. I’ve also built an electric truck conversion, and installed an automated smart home application to control all lights, AC, pool, sprinkler system, and once the renovations are complete all kitchen appliances will be “smart” as well. I also enjoy scuba diving, and photography.

  4. What is one of your most favorite quotes?

    “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” ― John Wesley

  5. What is the funniest thing that ever happened at work?

    ISL usually, as it’s kind of like a therapy session. Scariest: Right after moving into the CLC, we were in the old Payless shoe store conference room and there was yelling and screaming outside the window. We looked out and a dozen officers with guns were arresting someone so we instantly fled to back of building and they took the person into custody.

  6. What are you most proud of?

    Besides kids and family, I’m happy to be developing a workplace where people enjoy being and are able to be productive and fulfill their career objectives.

  7. What will finally break the internet?

    Net neutrality perhaps… when companies can change what you get depending on how they get paid.

  8. What is the best purchase you’ve ever made?

    My Tesla (twice because of Harvey). It’s fun to drive, makes me feel good about the environment, it’s sustainable mechanically, and looks good.

  9. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen recently?

    Kitchen cabinet configuration guide (almost finished), and hopefully soon we’ll have a kitchen.

  10. What is your biggest regret?

    I’ve learned from many regrets; you are the sum of all experiences, and they make you stronger.

  11. What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?

    Lowes tool department, but after that Grand Cayman Islands or Maldives or Hawaii.

  12. What’s your favorite holiday?


  13. What’s your dream job?

    I got it.

  14. What is your best career advice?

    Keep a really good attitude, and plan ahead. Always have options for the future based on what you’d like to do. If you don’t know what you’d like to do, you won’t be able to do it.

  15. What is your best life advice?

    Build relationships, and enjoy them.

  16. Who is your role model?

    Don Storey, he was my pastor in my early 30’s and encouraged me to go back to school and seminary. Based on his encouragement and example of hard work I completed my graduate degree. He was someone who never knew he couldn’t do something, and therefore he was successful. Also my mother, she approached and addressed everyone with the intent that they were sent by God to meet with her. She had the attitude to help people develop to their highest potential.

  17. What do you wish you would’ve known or done early in your career at UTMB?

    I came in as programmer, and didn’t begin to plan to go into management until 4-5 years in. When I came as a programmer my world was based on things I was programming, whereas now I wish I would’ve been a part of the overall picture from the beginning.

  18. Who would play you in a movie of your life?

    It’s a joke but… I always joke with my wife it’d be Robert Redford.

  19. What is your favorite food or meal?

    Food: fillet wrapped in bacon. Meal: add broccoli and cauliflower

  20. Thank you so much for your time and input, who do you want nominate for the next round, and what question would you like to add?

    Brian Sharpless, because he’s a veteran. How has your experience as a veteran contributed to your career now?

Ping-Pong Champions!

Congrats to the Final Four and everyone who participated in the 1st Semi-Annual Information Services Ping-Pong Tournament. Special thanks to Todd for purchasing the new table which was setup in Conference Room C at the CLC. Please come join us to play over lunch. We’ll see you at the next tournament in the spring for March Madness!

1st Place Champion: Hamed (left with trophy lol)
2nd Place Runner-up: T (2nd right)
3rd Places: Chris (2nd left) & Lekan (3rd left)
Others: Darwin (3rd right) & Todd (right)

Goodbye Baseball, Hello Ping-Pong!

Well I hope you enjoyed Game 7 of the World Series as much as I did (Go Astros!), but now you may be wondering what sport will keep you up at night with all the drama and excitement..? Don’t worry the 1st Semi-Annual IS Ping Pong Tournament has begun! We’re playing at the CLC in Conference Room D over lunch, and we’ve recruited 32 of the most elite players in the department (anyone who would sign up) to compete for your entertainment, and coveted prizes of course. Please join in on the fun either streaming online or in-person. The Final Four players will receive awards presented during the holiday celebration in December.

Watch the Live Ping-Pong Broadcast over lunch via Skype for Business (when available)


Time to kick off the holidays with exclusive offers starting now!


It’s not too late to take advantage of our Veteran’s Day offer (15% off) exclusively for our Military and Veteran community.  Vets/Active duty personal must request their coupon between 11/5 and 11/15.  15% off coupon expires 1/31/17.

Get your coupon here: MILITARY/VETS 15% OFF

Click on the link below for Black Friday Early Access Sale information from Dell:  


Website:                 www.Dell.com/mpp/UTMB
Phone Number:     1-800-695-8133
Member ID:            US126545132