May 2008 - Alumni Spotlight - Leah Friar

This alumni spotlight was originally shown in the May 2008 IEM Newsletter.

May's featured IEM alumnus is Leah Friar, Senior Project Manager Network Technical Engineering with AT&T. Leah has been with the Bell system since 1981, serving in seven different roles over her distinguished career. She took a four year hiatus during the dot com boom to work with a startup, Bear Creek Technologies. Returning to Bellsouth in 2001 she has been instrumental in bringing broadband technologies to the southern region.

In addition to her work responsibilities, Leah also plays a key role with the National Joint Utility Notification System (NJUNS). Not only does she sit on the board of directors, she also is the Treasurer of the 2008 Executive Committee.

Over the years Leah has invested heavily in her education. She received her undergraduate in Engineering from UAB back in 1981. Returning to school in 1999 she earned a MBA from Samford University. Finally in 2006 she became a graduate of the IEM program.

Leah has been married for twenty five plus years to her husband Rob, a Civil Engineering Graduate of Auburn University. She has two children; a daughter Pam, a senior attending Auburn University studying Health Care Admin, and a son Robby, an Eagle Scout and junior at Spain Park HS.

Leah’s interests include family, travel, reading, and knitting (a skill that she picked up at a young age). Leah grew up within a military family and attended a staggering eighteen schools before graduating high school. In addition she helped pioneer equal rights for women in Birmingham by becoming the first female usher at Legion Field (even if only a little bit).

Join Leah on LinkedIn.

March 2008 - Alumni Spotlight - Todd Collier

This alumni spotlight was originally shown in the March 2008 IEM Newsletter.

March's featured IEM alumnus is Todd Collier, senior system analyst with the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In his role as a senior system analyst he is responsible for a number of medical record applications that put UAB's hospital system into the digital age. One thing that you might not realize about Todd's role is that most of his development work is done in COBOL. With the trend today away from mainframes, Todd has staked a claim to an untapped niche for recent graduates.

Todd completed his undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Auburn University back in May of 2001. During his tenure at Auburn he maintained an impressively high GPA which gained him entry into the prestigious Upsilon Pi Epsilon, Computer Science Honor society. Todd entered the IEM program with the class of 2007 and again graduated at the top of his class.

Todd stays busy by helping out with various local user groups and community events. This year he is serving as the logistics chair for the upcoming TechMixer University event. Yes, if you want to get to know him better he is actively searching for committee members. In addition Todd is a founding member of a Lawson User group for the states of Alabama and Georgia.

In his free time, Todd enjoys spending time with his family; including his wife Rebecca, son Ashton, and their newly adopted dog, Camilla. Todd is a huge Auburn fan and loves to go to the games. When he isn’t being a spectator Todd is busy coaching football, basketball, and baseball for his son's teams.

February 2008 - Alumni Spotlight - Mike Wells

This alumni spotlight was originally shown in the February 2008 IEM Newsletter.

February's featured IEM alumnus is Mike Wells, Software Architect with DST Health Solutions. Mike has been with DST for two years and has the privilege of working out of his home. In addition to his day job, Mike has a healthy software consulting business, Dream Storm Creative.

Mike graduated from the IEM program with the class of 2006. Prior to attending UAB, Mike attended the University of Alabama (UAT) where he received a BS in Computer Science.

Mike lives with his wife Kelly and their two dogs on the 280 Coridor. Kelly, being a budding entrepreunuer, started her own social services consulting business. Lately Mike is devoting time to helping Kelly get her business off the ground. Mike knows how to have a good time and oftentimes can be found hanging with his friends at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Mike has many hobbies including golfing, hunting, running, and traveling. He often sneaks away, back to his home town of Andalusia, to visit his family's hunting camp. When he is in town, he often runs in 5k races and has helped many a friend get into running.

Join Mike on LinkedIn.

January 2008 - Alumni Spotlight - Rusty Hyde

This alumni spotlight was originally shown in the January 2008 IEM Newsletter.

January’s featured IEM alumnus is Rusty Hyde, vice president and chief engineer for Hyde Engineering. Hyde Engineering is an engineering and consulting company based here in Birmingham, Alabama. They specialize in designing electrical and mechanical systems for construction projects. While Hyde Engineering may be small in size, their list of clients is not, working with local giants such as UAB.

Rusty graduated from UAB with a BS in Electrical Engineering back in the eighties. Since then he has received his PE designation and graduated from the IEM program. This past semester he co-taught EE 606 Technical Project Management. Rusty is a life-long leaner and inventor; he actually hold a US patent for an Aircraft-Based Topographical Data Collection and Processing System.

Rusty served for a number of years in the United States Air Force (USAF) as a rated navigator and electronic warfare officer. Rusty holds a number of designations from the USAF and taught for them in a number of capacities. Rusty is extremely interesting speaker, as anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing his command and control lecture knows. After leaving the USAF Rusty spent a number of years founding and then selling several small businesses.

Rusty lives with his wife Liz in Mountain Brook. They have two daughters, the eldest attends Auburn University. One of Rusty’s greatest challenges these days is finding ways around Auburn’s no WIFI policy in their dorms. Rusty has many hobbies, including finding new ways to be green and snow skiing across the US.