Random Profile: Karla Edwards
Karla Edwards .
Every other month, Staff Notes Monthly spotlights a
selected from the phone directory with the help of a random
number generator. This month we profile Karla Edwards in
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
“There are all sorts of applications we provide and
support that everyone in the organization uses,” Karla
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
“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
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...
predicts permanent drought in Southwest
scientists contribute to climate change assessments
profile: Karla Edwards
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Just One Look
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