Congratulations Gary Windham for Your 2021 UA Award for Excellence

April 7, 2021

Gary Windham, Principal Enterprise Systems Architect with UITS, was in a zoom meeting and happy to hear the Covid-19 Testing Team and had just won a 2021 UA Team Award for Excellence, but was surprised again when the Employee Recognition Committee members paused to say they had yet another announcement and were looking for him. They announced he had been chosen from the Best of the Best for an individual UA Award for Excellence too!  They proceeded to read some of the wonderful things his nominators had to say about him including: Colleagues describe Gary as “brilliant,” it was a serious coup to temporarily steal Gary’s time, talent, and expertise away from UITS to join the efforts of the Test, Trace, and Treat team. Gary joined the newly formed Test All Test Smart team in mid-June of 2020, and swiftly built a world class testing system that was deployed on July 31st. Since then, Gary has worked day and night to continuously expand and improve upon this system that helps promote and protect our Wildcat community and beyond. The reaches of this secure system Gary has built include:  A world class, full-service testing system that takes users and test samples through registration, test site check-in and label printing, lab documentation, and results delivery; Positive results notifications for Campus Health, SAFER contact tracers, and Housing and Residential Life, as well as state reporting of results; Pac-12 testing module for visiting athletes, coaches, and officials; Integration of Covid Watch positive codes in the results portal so that those who test positive can notify their close contacts anonymously via the app; A student testing accommodation/exemption process that includes accommodations for disability, medical, and religious reasons; Integration of testing and Wildcat WellCheck to streamline the testing check-in process via Wildcat OneStop, improving efficiency at the testing centers by removing the need for both temperature checks and photo ID checks; Implementation of a virtual rewards system for students who test frequently, as well as a novel application of WiFi restrictions for students who are out of testing compliance; A system for DCCs to confirm their eligibility to test on campus, which, once confirmed, automatically gives them access to test; Comprehensive and complex data reports that are used to update the COVID-19 Dashboard and other data reports daily.  Our COVID dashboard has earned an A rating from the We Rate COVID Dashboards team, a team of faculty, staff, and students from Yale, Harvard, Baylor College of Medicine, and Ohio State University. The University of Arizona is one of only 38 colleges/universities (out of 349 total) with A ratings, and we are the only university in Arizona with an A rating. While others have contributed greatly to the data visualization in Tableau, we are often reminded that the dashboard is only as good as the data behind it. The data integrity part falls squarely in Gary’s wheelhouse.  While being a true team player, Gary has almost single-handedly built these systems to increase efficiency and effectiveness of our COVID operations. Without Gary’s very specific skill set and willingness to dive into the deep waters of COVID testing, tracing, and treating, it is unclear if the university would be in the position we are in--largely open for learning and working, with thousands of people on campus every day--during a once-in-a-lifetime public health crisis.  As you can see Gary is very deserving of this recognition, congratulations Gary!