Published July 30, 2021
As one of our longest-tenured colleagues retires, we reflect on the power and positive impact of a career’s worth of insight and institutional knowledge.
Sue Huston has served UB for over 40 years, most recently as director of UBIT’s Enterprise Application Services. Her influence and many contributions cannot be overstated. When Sue began working at UB, administrative systems were run using tape-based storage; since then, her leadership has informed every step we’ve taken toward the robust and mature technology systems we offer today.
I hope you’ll join me in wishing Sue a happy and prosperous retirement. It is well deserved.
Sue’s retirement gives us occasion to reflect on the power of institutional knowledge. Institutional knowledge—the collective knowledge and experience of a group of people working together—is famously difficult to define and capture. But its value becomes plain when someone like Sue, with a wealth of it, leaves.
In my seven and a half years at UB, I’ve called on Sue countless times for insight into how our efforts in IT might affect the broader university. Sue has never once failed to provide ready scenarios, identifying key constituents and the various ways our strategic choices might impact them.
Sue’s contributions have also been an important part of our efforts to address “technical debt” at UB, the pending cost of maintaining and updating out-of-date technology. Sue is awesome in her ability to define technical debt and its relative cost, and identify opportunities to address it.
Sue’s gift for strategic thinking is even more impressive when you consider the incredible complexity of UB’s technology systems, which are designed to meet the diverse and overlapping needs of our many faculty, staff and students. Despite this, Sue understands how to build and maintain systems without disrupting the important work happening at UB.
Institutional knowledge is, in its most raw form, the ability to quickly make judgments, resolve problems, seize opportunities. These skills are invaluable, and can only be honed through years of working within an organization and with its people. They are all areas in which Sue is acutely, uniquely talented.
Sue’s absence is tempered only by the lasting impact her mentorship has had on new professionals throughout her career, countless professionals who continue to put Sue’s knowledge and values to good use here at UB and elsewhere.
In many ways, both obvious and yet-to-be seen, Sue will be missed. Of her many contributions to the university, we are fortunate that she has worked hard to foster a talented leadership team I’m confident will guide us faithfully going forward.
With that confidence—among other, mixed emotions—we wish Sue well in her new ventures in life and retirement.
J. Brice Bible is the Vice President and Chief Information Officer (VPCIO) for UB. UBIT is a service division at UB that provides enterprise technology leadership and guidance.