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Eric Emerson

Winter 2010


I am nominating: Eric Emerson
Years of Service at Cal Poly: 14
Department: SAITS /University Housing Services
Position: Information Systems Specialist

Why are you nominating this person? Why do you think he/she deserves the award?: Eric is a dedicated, confident and highly skilled professional whose approach is always to provide the best customer service, and in doing so, always exceeds expectations. Eric began in the Vice President’s Office where he honed his project management and technological skills and earned the respect throughout the Division for his knowledge and “user-friendly” style. Upon the creation of the SAITS department, he has been the guiding force behind several key transformations in University Housing’s business practices and services.

He has helped to change Housing operations from a heavily paper-driven department into a technology driven one. This has allowed UHS to provide faster, better services to residents, allowing them the access and tools to perform many functions, such as room selection, from the comfort of their own rooms. UHS has been enhanced with improved and streamlined procedures as well as the addition of more powerful data management systems, such as the judicial and facilities work order modules. Eric has provided not only the expertise to set-up and customize these programs but has provided the training and support for them. His ability to communicate and explain difficult and complex information and make it understandable for the lay person is one of his greatest and most appreciated strengths.

Please select 3 of the 6 Division of Student Affairs values for which your nominee best exemplifies: Interconnectedness, Passion, Quality

Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #1: INTERCONNECTEDNESS - Eric is always willing to help and act as a resource to others. He gives his time and expertise without hesitation. Because of this he has also developed a wide network of associates and contacts on campus that provide him a bank of knowledge and collaborators. Eric has the capability to see any situation from a global perspective. When confronted with a question or complex problem to solve, he may tap into this network of individuals and often creates mutual benefits from shared information. SAITS peers look to him for advice on documentation standards, web development and project management. In SAITS and UHS, Eric is valued for understanding the needs and processes of each department and his ability to mold solutions to fit these needs. Eric has been instrumental in providing accurate and timely data from a variety of sources and transforms it into a usable format and this often requires the collaboration and cooperation of others, both within and outside of the Division. In addition to assigned duties, Eric is always willing to help out, especially if someone will benefit. He has helped with streamlining the Commencement Program, made modifications to the website for the United Way campaign and acts as resource for “at-home Mac users” in the Division.

Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #2: PASSION - Passion comes in many forms and though Eric is low-keyed, his passion shows through his actions. He is always open and caring and willing to help. His interest is always genuine. Sometimes a passing comment in a casual conversation will spur a thought in his head and suddenly you have an alternative to take or a solution! In his role with SAITS, he is always the first to complete tasks and is willing to take on the not-so-popular ones because he understands their importance. UHS has definitely thrown challenges his way, such as adding and customizing two new modules to an existing system during a time of year when Business Services is contracting for the next academic year. This required true dedication, focus and patience. He always has his eye on the goal (often multiple goals) and fulfills his responsibilities with a positive attitude and ever-present humor. Even through the busiest of times, he would be willing to customize a report format or try to find ways to get better data. Whenever he is asked to do yet one more thing, he always ends his conversations with the words “my pleasure” – even if his world is swirling.

Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #3: QUALITY - Eric would not be Eric if not for his commitment to quality and in providing it consistently in all he does. Handing off a project to Eric not only means it gets done but it also gets done the way you ask for it or the way you really need it. Eric will think through the problem with an understanding of the department’s needs and with consideration of its “wants.” He will often consider what is best for the future, preparing for the next step before you have thought of it. His tenacity to find solutions has often improved processes for others. Eric is the main liaison for UHS with the company that provides and supports our database system. He has found errors and loopholes in their system that even their own technicians missed and on one occasion helped out another client that used the same database deal with a glitch in the system. Future versions will probably have some of Eric’s findings and recommendations! He serves in a similar role with DSA Web Toolbox. Eric successfully handles the many challenges of his position and has proven his ability to please his many “bosses.” Eric’s commitment to quality comes naturally – you do not have to think twice when Eric takes on a project – you are confident of the outcome. He gives all that he has, and that is a very deep well!

In what way(s) does this person enhance or contribute to the Cal Poly Pomona campus community?:
Eric’s willingness to help has no departmental nor divisional boundaries. Because of his ability to think globally, his solutions to streamline processes in UHS have often benefitted other departments such as Student Financial Services and Foundation Services. Finally, not only does Eric demonstrate the division’s values, but he integrates the values of learning-centeredness, inclusiveness, collaboration, assessment and continuous improvement in his approach to daily activities as well. Eric is truly a STAR!