The Tech Store’s Next Leader

This summer I’ve had the pleasure of stepping into the role of interim Assistant Director of the Tech Store. Bill Zimmerman’s move to AD of the InfoLabs and Edward Hoover’s move to AD of Departmental Support opened the door to this terrific experience, one that I’ve learned a lot from. I want to share some of my observations with all of you.

We have a terrific team!

We have some of the best, most hardworking staff members out there. Frankly, they don’t get enough credit for what they do. And they’re not a group of individuals working in silos. These team members collaborate, communicate, and work across group lines to ensure that we have a high-performing, smooth-running operation. I’ve watched them through the SOAR rush, on inventory night, etc., and in every experience I’ve walked away impressed by their effort and dedication.

Ability to adapt

Many of you know that the Tech Store has experienced significant changes over the past year. There’s no doubt that this puts stress on a team and its operations, but at the same time, change can be good and can help position an organization to excel. Everyone in the Tech Store and Product Management has had a hand in making the Tech Store better for the future. We’ve nearly completed another successful SOAR season, and we’ve made great strides in other customer segments. The continued success of the Tech Store depends on its readiness to adapt and change as future conditions require.

Customer Service Focused

The last observation I’ll share is how impressed I’ve been with how we interact with our customers on a daily basis. Our team continually goes above and beyond to ensure our customers have an exceptional experience in the store. From new students and parents to departmental customers, I consistently see people happy with our services and the way we make our customers a priority.

As we search for the next leader for our Tech Store operations (consulting, logistics, repair, and walk-in support), it will be important to find someone who understands the observations I’ve shared above and is dedicated to collaboratively building a vision for the future while working closely with our Product Management team. We know the phrase that says “what got us here won’t get us there,” and that certainly applies to our next Tech Store Assistant Director.

If you know anyone with these skillsets (yourself included!) please encourage them to apply by August 25th at:


contributed by Brandon Bernier, Director of User Services

User Services Summer Interns: Where are they going now?

This summer, User Services full time staff had the privilege of working alongside some really remarkable interns!

We would like to thank them for the hard work, time and energy they have put into all of their assignments. While some interns are leaving us,  many are staying around.

Here is what they are currently up to…

interns table


Sarah Buszka: From Student to FT Staff, From User Services to SEO


“Sarah has been able to accomplish an incredible amount of work since she started in her position.  She is largely the reason we have metrics, key performance indicators, and dashboards.  These data points formed the basis for many decisions that we’ve made in User Services over the past 2 years.  In addition, Sarah has brought a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and positivity to all of her work and her relationships in User Services.”    – Brandon Bernier


DoIT User Services is saying goodbye to another of its student-to-staff prodigies. After working as a student, and being hired on as a full-time staff member in User Services, Sarah Buszka is leaving US in pursuit of a new, promising position as the Critical Infrastructure Service Lead in Customer Application Support, for SEO. I caught up with Sarah on May 3 to talk about her past, passion, and purpose in life.

Of her past, Sarah strongly believes that being a twin has helped to shape the way she thinks and behaves. When Sarah and her twin sister were born there were significant complications and her sister needed to remain in the ICU and receive a lot of supplemental care. As a result, Sarah’s sister received a lot more nurturing and care, and this trend continued throughout her childhood. This caused Sarah to mature more quickly, at a younger age than most, and she learned very early on how to figure out things for herself. She also wanted to be around her sister, and to be there to support her, and this has developed into Sarah’s passion for wanting to help others.

Sarah has a passion for the growth and development of others, and of herself. She says that adversity and failure are excellent teachers. If we don’t ever fail, or face adversity, we miss out on valuable and important learning opportunities.

Sarah’s purpose in life is to continue to self-improve, be a lifelong learner, and foster a learner mindset in others. Sarah takes pride in elevating others up and seeing their true potential, and helping others realize that it’s okay to fail. Sarah’s formula for success:   believe first that you can achieve change, after that anything is possible.

Then, Sarah answered some of my most important questions:

Bret: “At which store would you love to max out your credit card?”

Sarah: “Ikea. I love interior design and the thought and planning behind it, and coordinating it and putting it all together and the thought and the detail, and making something feel like home. I redecorate my space in some capacity every year, this year I did my bedroom.”

B: “Favorite toy as a kid?”

S: “My bike. I’m a huge, avid biker today and always have been and always will be.”

B: “Can you play any instruments?”

S: “Violin, and I dabble in cello, and viola.”

B: “Which Hogwarts house do you belong to?”

S: *after taking the online test* “Gryffindor – Unparalleled in their bravery and courage, you are a natural leader and are usually the first to step up to the plate in a crisis. You like to take risks, and are often rewarded by your ability to go where others cannot. However, you can be a little reckless, so be wary of situations in which you might be out of your depth!”

B: “What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?”

S: “I love to clean & organize things; I use a Dream Home app and design floor spaces, and others judge my designs online. Also, I read a lot of things like Harvard Business Review books (you can learn so much!)”

B: “What is your favorite breakfast food?”

S: “I hate eggs! I love waffles, Belgian waffles – love!”

B: “What was your childhood nickname?”

S: “Bunny, and Princess”

B: “Any strange phobias?”

S: “Small spaces…, and losing my teeth! I’m terrified of losing my teeth! And needles.”

B: “Three things on your bucket list?”

S: “Traveling to Thailand; becoming a homeowner because I really want to design the perfect space; writing a book”

B: “Worst pet?”

S: “My mom’s a vet, so we’ve had a lot of pets. She brought home a weird rodent with a puff-ball at the end of its tail and it bit me and my sister all the time and we hated it but we kept it because it was ‘cute.’ A Libyan Jird”

Then I asked Sarah if there was anything else she wanted me to put in her farewell article, and here’s what she said:

“One of the biggest things I’ve learned in my tenure in DoIT is that you can do anything you put your mind to. And it was having that belief that I could, and believing that I could affect positive change. I could help shape what this looks like. This paired with a balance of being willing to take a step back and listen and learn and realize that you could learn something from anyone, and being intentional about that and incorporating other’s perspectives into your philosophy. The mentality of ‘We’re in this together.’ And recognizing the power in the room, and the combined intelligence and collective wisdom, to solve big complex, organizational problems. There is a place in DoIT for people who think like that.” – Sarah Buszka


Best wishes in your new role Sarah, we’ll miss you in User Services!

Farewell to Patti Havlicek, a Notable Woman in IT


“I’m very thankful for the time, energy, and effort that Patti has given our department over the years.  Her constant dedication to customer service has made a real difference in both the Tech Store and throughout our entire department.  Patti was one of the first people who welcomed me and my family to campus 5 years ago, and I’ll always be grateful for that.” – Brandon Bernier

On Friday, May 12, User Services and the DoIT Tech Store will lose one of their most valuable assets, Patti Havlicek. Patti, who started in User Services as a Product Manager in 2009 and has been with the Tech Store group since 2012, has accepted a new and challenging role as an operations manager in Network Services. I caught up with Patti on May 3, and we talked about her past, her passion, and her purpose in life.

Patti feels strongly that everything she has done in her past has led her to this point in time. Each job she’s had has given her a new skill set and a new perspective. Her resume is filled with roles in small, and large companies, and of course working in IT for User Services. Regardless of which position she was in at the time, she found value there and she added value there.

Patti’s passion revolves around taking care of others, whether that’s customer’s or coworkers or the staff she supervises. Patti places an emphasis on what she can do for others, and it has shown. She has taken pride in mentoring the student staff in the Tech Store over the years, and helping them to develop the skill sets that have allowed them to be successful. When each of those students graduated and left the Tech Store, they were smarter, savvier, and ready to tackle bigger and better things.

Patti’s purpose in life revolves around her mantra to be the type of person who makes things happen and to be a person who brings positive change. She says there are those who watch things happen, and others who wonder what happened, but the most important individuals are those who actively bring new ideas to fruition and add value to their teams and their roles.

Then I asked Patti some other questions:

Bret: “What movie best depicts the story of your life?”

Patti: “Wonder Woman. She has been under-promoted in the movie world. I’m taking the Wonder Woman pose and embracing it.”

B: “Can you play any instruments?”

P: “Nope, and I don’t sing either. My voice is only good for the shower and the car.”

B: “What is the oldest thing in your refrigerator?”

P: “It’s a lime which is probably a month old, maybe six weeks.”

B: “Which Hogwarts house do you belong to?”

P: *after taking the online test* “Ravenclaw, but I was never very big into Harry Potter…”

B: “What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?”

P: “I really like to do word searches. And I also play Cookie Jam and Farm Hero on my phone.”

B: “What is your favorite breakfast food?”

P: “Corned-beef hash, or eggs benedict.”

B: “What, if anything, have you ever re-gifted?”

P: “I’ve re-gifted a white elephant gift. It was a snowman that sings toilet songs, with a sensor that turns it on every time you walk by. It sang holiday songs with toilet themes.”

B: “Any strange phobias?”

P: “I cannot stand wood ticks and deer ticks, any sort of tick, really.”

B: “Which way does the toilet paper hang?”

P: “I like it over!”

B: “Three things on your bucket list?”

P: “The Great Wall of China (my dad always wanted to go); California Wine Country; I want to see my kids have kids.”

B: “If you could have any superpower…”

P: “The Lasso of Truth (Wonder Woman).”

Then I asked Patti if she wanted to mention anything else and here’s what she said.

“It’s so important that you enjoy the people you work with, and you ultimately become family with them (and the Tech Store has been fabulous to work with). And I’m really looking forward to being on the learning side of management again to figure out how I can best use the skills I have and to learn new skills to be most effective in my new role in Network Services. And I’m so happy that I will be staying within DoIT.”

Best wishes in Network Services, Patti; User Services will miss you!


Welcome Collin Leavitt to the User Services Team!

Desktop Support Technician
General Desktop Support (GDS)


Collin has previous experience working at a local IT establishment providing hardware and software support, and prior to that worked at a firm in Arizona providing onsite and remote support for small- and large-scale businesses.  Collin’s extensive experience with providing Apple support and overall excellent customer service ability well equip him for a desktop support role in Departmental Support.


contributed by Jaclyn Zavoral

Georgene Retires After Almost 27 Years

Promising to keep us supplied with cranberries, Georgene observed her retirement with a “Sweet Celebration” on 2/23.

After nearly 27 years of service at DoIT, Georgene Stratman retired on February 28, 2017. Georgene started her time at the University working for DoIT and spent all 27 years in some capacity with the DoIT Tech Store. In 1994, when Georgene first considered retiring, Elaine Lust convinced her to return in an LTE role where she has remained with us since. Her smiling face at the reception desk will be missed by many. She has managed the filing in several areas of the Tech Store and ensures that our returned products are handled quickly and efficiently.

Georgene will not be at a loss for things to do in retirement. She will be able to spend more time in her own garden, while offering more time to the Shorewood Hills Garden Club, Wisconsin Day Lily Society, Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society and Olbrich Garden Botanical Society. She has plans for another cruise this year supporting the PAWS program.

We’ll miss you, Georgene.


Welcome Jean Pierre to the User Services team!

Desktop Support Technician
General Desktop Support (GDS)


Jean recently graduated from UW-Oshkosh with a degree in Information Systems – Enterprise System Technology Management.  He has previous experience working as an IT Lab Support intern at UW-Oshkosh, and as an IT Technical Support intern at Bemis Company.  Jean has relocated to Madison from the Appleton area to begin this next phase of his career.  Jean possesses excellent customer service ability and brings with him incredible enthusiasm.


contributed by Jaclyn Zavoral