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May 2007

Random Profile: Karla Edwards

Karla Edwards

Karla Edwards .

Every other month, Staff Notes Monthly spotlights a staff ­member selected from the phone directory with the help of a random number generator. This month we profile Karla Edwards in F&A.

On the job: As an information technology (IT) project manager in F&A, Karla performs cross-functional project management, coordination, and business analysis, assembling teams and working with them throughout the life cycles of different projects.

“There are all sorts of applications we provide and support that everyone in the organization uses,” Karla says.

Examples of projects she’s led include iVantage HRIS (Human Resource Information System), Connect (which includes Smart Choices open enrollment and staff development), Time Card, Online Travel, Signature Authority, and Advance Notice.

A typical project entails defining the scope, user and system requirements, development, testing, training, and communication. Karla’s first step is usually to assemble a project team, recruiting the appropriate staff from IT and other groups across the organization. She then guides that team through the project, sometimes delving into technical work herself.

“I’m a little bit of a hybrid project manager because I’ve been here for 11 years and have a lot of historical system knowledge, and I also like to get into the coding details,” she says. “My main goal is the management of the project, but sometimes I just can’t help myself from getting into technical details and troubleshooting.”

HRIS, of which the employee self-service feature Connect is a part, has been a big focus of Karla’s recent work. Since HR purchased the application from a vendor almost two years ago, Karla has played a role in helping IT customize the software to fit the organization’s needs. She’s also working on an organization-wide project called Financial Tools Management. As an IT representative, she provides training in project methodology, workflow process modeling, and business analysis.

Karla’s favorite thing about her job is collaborating with other people. “I’m a real ‘people person,’” she says. “I enjoy working with different people from across the organization and I make sure to take time to get to know them on a personal basis, making friends as I go.”

The most challenging aspect of her job is the sheer number of projects to tackle, along with the constant tug to improve software. “Every application could be better,” she says. “There are always such good ideas, but we run out of time to implement them all or have to prioritize the most important features.”

Karla came to UCAR in 1996 to work in HR. Three years later, she transitioned into IT after earning a master’s at Regis University in computer information technology with emphases on database technologies and management of technology.

Off the job: Karla lives in Mead, about six miles outside Longmont. She and her sons Derek, 7, and Devon, 5, enjoy the small-town life that Mead offers while still being close to the amenities of bigger towns.

“We especially like being outside together,” Karla says. “The boys and I wrestle, ride bikes, jump on the trampoline, camp, practice catch-and-release frog hunting at a local lake, and engage in a type of mud-filled fun we describe as ‘swamp walking.’” The family is joined in adventure by dogs Lucy and Chico, and they also have a cat, KC (which stands for Karla’s Cat).

A self-described “tomboy at heart,” Karla was born in Lamar, where her father worked as a teacher. Her family has a long history of farming in Yuma, near the Nebraska border. Her brother is a farmer there now, growing corn, wheat, sunflowers, and more. Her parents live in Longmont.

Karla and the kids make frequent trips to Yuma and also visit their cabin in Heeney (near Silverthorne) next to the Blue River and Green Mountain Reservoir. “It’s an interesting place for my kids,” she says, “because there is no running water in the cabin and there is electricity but no TV reception, so they can’t watch cartoons and have to figure out another way to keep entertained.”

Her sons keep her on her toes most of the time, but when she carves out free time Karla likes playing team sports, scrapbooking, reading, listening to music, and attending concerts. She’d like to make music of her own someday. “I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano,” she says.

In this issue...

Study predicts permanent drought in Southwest

NCAR scientists contribute to climate change assessments

Random profile: Karla Edwards

What is the color of space?

Center Green Idol

A Wirth-while talk

Remembering Jeanne Adams


Just One Look

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