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Pulse - Spring 2023 Get to Know... Walt Niemczura, Director, Application Development

Walt Niemczura

What is your official title at Drexel?

Director, Application Development

Have you ever wished you could make up a more accurate title for yourself? If so, what would it be?

It would be too long, but I would like to be known as someone you can come to with a problem.

Explain what you do in under 100 words.

I lead a team responsible for application development (web, system services, etc.), REDCap, SharePoint and Dynamics CRM. Some solutions we developed support continuing medical education and fellowship programs (e.g., ELAM). We don’t support the clinical applications, such as the electronic medical record, so don’t call me, but we provide programming support to the clinical applications team. REDCap, our primary research software, is available for use throughout the University, and we are part of an interdepartmental team that supports SharePoint University-wide.

Who do you interact with most on a daily basis?

Staff, either my team or people from the other departments that we provide a service. For the most part, communication has improved with Teams messaging and calls with screen sharing. Teams and Skype were already around, but the pandemic got everyone to become conversant in it. That’s a good thing; it’s better structured than conference calls and using email for back-and-forth messaging.

What is your typical day like?

The day starts with checking emails, a management call on Teams, and checking jobs scheduled to run throughout the day. These usually involve securely importing data from other systems into REDCap or Sharepoint. Right now, our interesting jobs include importing student COVID testing appointments from an outside vendor and test results from the Drexel Medicine Diagnostics Lab. After the “sanity check,” it’s either working with staff, architecting a solution or troubleshooting a problem.

How do you see your work fitting into the big picture of the missions of the College?

The role of IT is to support everyone’s needs by delivering solutions that allow them to focus on what they do best. We serve the academic, clinical and research missions of the College of Medicine.

What are your favorite and least favorite tasks?

I’ll never enjoy the task of letting anyone go, regardless of the circumstances. Luckily, those times are rare. I enjoy the technical task that lets me “get in the zone.” Before I know it, time has passed and I come out of it with a sense of accomplishment.


What is your educational and previous work background? How did those prepare you for what you do now?

I’m a graduate of Drexel from a program called Computer Systems Management. My primary career is software engineering and I’ve been in management for two other employers. I’ve always stayed current with technologies as I’ve seen too many good people get stuck with administratively managing technical personnel to the point that they removed themselves from problem-solving. Having developed real-time applications early in my career gave me the skills to develop optimal code and I carry that with every task.

When you were working on-site, did you bring your own lunch or eat out?

Both. When it was being five days on-site, I’d brown-bag it three days a week and buy something the other two. I do miss some of the lunches in Center City and Chinatown. When I come on-site nowadays, I buy it as it gives me a chance to step out for some air.

What’s one unusual or unexpected item in your home work space or your office?

I have a ceramic Dr. Who Tardis mug. I keep change in it. It has a square opening, which is a poor shape for drinking anything, even more so after the second Irish coffee.

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