Meet our People - Lawrence - Deputy Manager E&F Technical Development
15 November 2022
Meet our People
Lawrence - Deputy Manager Estates and Facilities Technical Development
To ensure the Estates and Facilities Team can support the day-to-day running of the Trust's five hospital sites they are supported by an in-house Technical Development Team who have full or shared responsibility for 30 technical spaces, 70+ servers, Radio Infrastructure, CCTV Infrastructure, BMS infrastructure and a growing number of operational systems.
Here, we ask Lawrence about his experience of working for the Trust and how he has progressed since joining.
I've worked at the Trust since May 1999, when I started work as a temporary personal assistant in the Estates and Hotel Service Dept at Chapel Allerton Hospital.
Computer use in the industry was much more limited than today, and the Estates and Technical team consisted of 2 people. The systems used were text-based and were significantly less intuitive than today's graphic-based interfaces. As a result training was essential.
But the Technical team, being only 2 people with a huge workload and tight deadlines meant that simply co-ordinating a suitable time for training was almost as much effort as getting the training itself.
Once I got back to my office after training, just to help out I created training packages for each of the systems I had been trained on using PowerPoint and screen grabs and sent this off with a thank you to the Technical team for future users training requirements and to complement their own documentation.
Although my motives were to help others, I'd actually helped myself in doing this. A few months later, I was still in the same job when a vacancy opened up in the Facilities Information department (Technical team).
Because I'd previously grabbed the opportunity to demonstrate my talents in creating the training packages, I was already in mind when a position opened up. They got in touch and asked if I would like to apply/interview for a permanent position or did I have other plans? They knew that at Leeds University I'd read Environmental Geology, but the main thing it taught me was that I didn't have a passion for Environmental Geology.
From getting my first computer in the early 80's (an Atari 800XL), and then various others throughout my life, up to the Hewlett Packard 486 with a 40Mb hard disk and 2Mb of RAM that I got myself at Uni, it was obvious that I had an interest in computers and so jumped at this opportunity. In December 1999, just as the Millennium Bug was due to hit, I started work as the Facilities Information Junior Systems Administrator.
Since then we have developed and grown the service and team significantly, in-line with the hugely increased uptake in the use of increasingly complex computer systems across Estates and Facilities.
From running two servers perched on the end of a meeting room table, to having full or shared responsibility for approaching 30 separate technical spaces over 5 sites, 70+ servers, Radio Infrastructure, CCTV Infrastructure, BMS infrastructure and a growing number of operational systems.
My job role has also evolved from Junior Systems Administrator to Senior Systems Administrator, to my current position as Deputy Manager. With the industry in its current form being the equivalent of a Millennial, it is constantly being reimagined and upgraded, so scope and complexity increase exponentially.
Which is perhaps where people are most surprised when I describe what I currently do - the sheer volume and scope of the systems supported by myself and my team. If a non-clinical technology is connected to Trust buildings, or used by Estates and Facilities, then the chances are it is supported by myself or my team - who I should mention are one of the best things about my job.
I've been very lucky throughout my working life at the Trust, working with a great team and line management who have supported me in and out of work. Personally, I've had a couple of challenging years, but the team has been with me every step of the way. Each member of the team has something to offer and brings it. Seeing their development and ownership of their roles over the years has been amazing.
I'm very lucky in that I love what I do workwise, even the increasingly necessary keeping documentation up to speed; I think secretly I'm a bit of a librarian and am happy when the puzzles fit into place. Also, I'm granted a level of autonomy in methodology in my work, which as a technical expert, is important - I feel trusted and valued, and that's huge.
I love that I've seen the industry grow from its infancy and continue to be excited by the new technology on the horizon that the team will get the opportunity to bring in on behalf of Estates and Facilities. And that we have made and continue to make a difference to patients, staff, and visitors to the Trust.
Would I recommend the Trust as a place to work, or would I recommend the career path I have been gifted with so far? I think you probably already know my answer…