photo by Tim Fitzgerald
Aaron Murray, network systems administrator in Information Technology Services, was named the 2008 Employee of the Year on April 28 at the annual Faculty Senate⁄Staff Advisory Council recognition dinner. He was honored for his extensive, ongoing work with the university's network.
The award took him by surprise, as did the 2008 October Employee of the Month honor, and he is amazed the recognition has continued to the next level.
"My supervisors did a really good job of keeping it a surprise until I found out about it as my name was being called at the ceremony," he said. "It is nice to be recognized for doing the work I love to do at a place I really like to work."
Murray became familiar with UNO's networking as a student worker while obtaining his bachelor of engineering degree. As his knowledge base of the new version of Novell software grew, he was asked to become a full-time employee.
Since 1998, Murray has been responsible for a variety of network details, including planning, maintenance and upgrades. He also provides on-call support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Co-workers say Murray is vital to the network's consistency and that he is always willing to help where needed.
"Aaron truly allows the UNO campus to function in a way, and at levels, that would not be possible without him," one individual wrote. "Aaron's technical knowledge, experience and problem solving skills exceed that of most employees that work in large telecommunication industries."
Murray said the campus environment is very stimulating and fun to work in. For him, the people make the difference.
"There is a great administration that supports our work and good co-workers that care about the customers and the university mission," he said. "UNO is not known for the paychecks, but for what it lacks in financial riches it makes up for in the riches of the people who work here."
In his spare time, Murray enjoys working on a master of public administration degree and doing contract⁄volunteer computer network tasks for the Open Door Mission. He also likes to spend time with his wife and two young daughters.
Appreciative of the job recognition, Murray is also very thankful to have found a profession in a field he enjoys.
"There are a lot of people who go to work just to earn a paycheck, where I come to work not only for the money but because I like what I am doing," he said. "Working here does have its difficulties at times but, overall, working at this university, for this department, with this staff is a real blessing."