Random Profile: Julie Harris
Every other month, Staff Notes Monthly spotlights a stochastically chosen staff member. This month we profile Julie Harris, a computer facility technician in the Scientific Computing Division.
All in the family: Julie Harris, a computer facility technician in SCD, has a lot of ties with NCAR. It’s not just that she has worked here for 15 years. Her husband, Del, is a network engineer for SCD, and her mother, Sandra Sundquist, handles procurement for plant maintenance. Her sister used to be an administrative assistant in HAO.
Having family at work has its advantages. When Julie worked the night shift as a computer operator, she could call her husband with questions and not feel bad about waking him up. It also has its downside. Not surprisingly, the family talks about NCAR a lot outside of work. “It’s like this grapevine of information,” Julie says. “Sometimes you just have to shut it off.”
At home in the computer room: Julie grew up in Louisville. She didn’t know what she wanted to do during college, so she enrolled in a computer vocational program and landed a job in Denver. A year later, in 1989, she was hired as a computer operator in SCD. “When I got my job here, I lived in a garage at the bottom of the Mesa hill,” she recalls. “I had to fight three teenage girls and their mom for the bathroom.”
For the next nine years, she worked the third shift from midnight to 8 a.m. “It’s challenging because you have to make a lot of calls yourself,” she says. “And when problems come up, you have to wake people up.” Eventually she switched to daytime hours, and last January she moved into her new position as computer facility technician.
As part of her new position, she makes AutoCAD drawings for facilities planning in SCD. “I like to draw, so it works out well,” she says. She also enjoys the fact that the computer environment requires her to utilize a broad knowledge base and not just specialize in one area. “I’m learning all the time,” she says.
Another kind of facilities planning: When Julie is not planning SCD facilities, she does facilities planning at her own house. She and Del built a house in Brighton six years ago and are currently engrossed in landscaping, in addition to finishing the basement. They also added a garage and a porch to the house.
“I don’t think I’d go through it again,” she laughs. “You’re working all day and then you come home and work.”
At least they have some helpers. Nick, their 19-year-old son, is nearby at the Colorado School of Mines. Warren, 8, is in second grade. They also have a border collie and labrador mix, as well as a cat.
NASCAR, bowling, softball: Julie and Del like motor sports and recently returned from NASCAR races in Las Vegas. They’re on the UCAR bowling team, too. Julie is president, although she says that the credit really goes to SCD’s Teresa Shibao for keeping the league going. She used to pitch for the organization’s softball team, “Where’s the Beer?,” and has run the Up-the-Hill relay race almost every year.
The family likes to go the mountains to ski and camp, especially in the Buena Vista area. And since Julie’s mom comes from a family of nine children in Louisville, she has a lot of relatives in the area. “I’ll never leave Colorado,” she says. •Nicole Gordon