Myers helps the world see the wonders of UAB

jeff myersJeff Myers is everywhere anything is happening, yet his face is not necessarily one you'd recognize. But in part due to his work — in the sun or cold or rain, in early mornings and late nights, in Birmingham or throughout the Southeast — the faces of UAB faculty, staff and students and their accomplishments are known to the world.

Myers, a veteran news and sports photographer, joined UAB in 2011 as its chief videographer. “Each day Jeff helps tell the UAB story through his camera lens, overseeing daily video shoots, editing stories and handling the operations of UAB's News Studio,” said his supervisor Andrea Reiber, director for Visual Content. “His fingerprints are on hundreds of videos produced by University Relations.”

Colleagues say he’s generally cheerful, helpful and, most important, places a great deal of emphasis on producing a high-quality product to ensure it reflects well on UAB. For these and other reasons he was nominated and selected UAB’s Employee of the Month.

Myers said he left his longtime post at a local TV station for UAB because it seemed like a good fit and he relished “the challenge to help build a strong video production unit from the ground up.” He also was drawn to the opportunity “to be part of an institution that wants to be a leader in all things.”

Reiber said Myers was just the person for the job: “Jeff strives for perfection every day and with every project, and his work ethic and professionalism are second to none.”

“He is the one that makes everyone at UAB look fabulous,” said Kevin Storr, director of communications for the School of Public Health. “Great looking interview? Jeff. Great looking action shots? Jeff. Great looking elevator? Jeff. That’s right — he even knows how to make an elevator look appealing (and funny).”

Storr is referring to a series of videos shorts featuring Blaze that promoted freshman Move-in Day, Homecoming’s Gurney Derby and pedestrian safety with the Pocket and Walk It campaign. But he is quick to point out Myers work is “more than just fun and games. He covers life-altering procedures and life-saving discoveries.”

Media Relations Manager Tyler Greer is among those who rely on Myers to help him tell the story of UAB. “Jeff’s engaging photography has made a tremendous impact on numerous stories,” he said.

“Whether it’s work highlighting the UAB Baseball team’s special relationship with an 11-year-old boy, his unique look at the danger of fireworks, the care he takes in telling a UAB nurse’s war story, showcasing the new UAB Hill Student Center, or beautifully telling the story of a UAB Kidney Chain donor’s decision to donate despite losing her mother, Jeff is prepared and works hard to find the right visuals to bring out the best in his subjects.”

Myers describes his role as “helping people who want to change the future tell their story,” and as a bonus he gets to “be part of history-in-the-making.”

Colleagues say he’s generally cheerful, helpful and, most important, places a great deal of emphasis on producing a high-quality product to ensure it reflects well on UAB. For these and other reasons he was nominated and selected UAB’s Employee of the Month.

Finding the right way to tell the story is one of his greatest challenges. “I want to tell the story so that the viewer sees the personal side — the way we change peoples' lives and the future,” Myers said. “And it’s not always just doctor and patients. It’s new football helmets and crash dummies and the student who suffers great loss and graduates anyway.”

A story he found particularly moving is the one about UAB Men’s Basketball and their mismatched shoes. While some people thought the choice of footwear was a fashion statement, Myers, who lost his father to cancer, was deeply moved by the whole truth: How a toddler who had struggled with brain cancer became a part of the Blazer family and inspired the players to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer.

“It was important to show how those young men and that team took that family in to their hearts and lives, how they were changed, and let everyone see that through their eyes,” Myers said.

Among his best experiences he includes traveling with the transplant team to pick up a pair of lungs for a young man and then shooting the surgery and recovery. “Then I see him walking down the street six weeks later, like nothing’s wrong, with a smile on his face,” Myers said. “That is cool.”

Occasionally, the job also comes with a reminder that you don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps.

When the campus scattered as a F5 tornado was bearing down on the city April 27, 2011, the newly hired Myers and Reiber remained to finish wiring the new studio for live shots. The damage and injuries that had been sustained throughout the state meant two things: A great many patients would be headed to UAB, and national networks would want live interviews with the ER and trauma doctors.

In the early hours of April 28, UAB’s chief of trauma surgery went live with CNN to talk about caring for more than 130 patients that were brought to UAB Hospital, the state’s only Level I trauma center. “We had less than 24 hours, and had no time to test it,” Myers said. “But Loring Rue went live with the networks from the UAB News Studio.”