Year-End Message from Senior VP and CFO Bazzell

From: Office of the Senior Vice President and CFO
Date: Monday, December 19, 2016 at 4:15 PM
To: University of Texas at Austin-VP-PORT-VP_UNIV_OPERATIONS-Official
Subject: Year-End Message from Senior VP and CFO Bazzell

Dear Colleagues,

With the holidays upon us and 2016 drawing to a close, thank you for your hard work, dedication and commitment to carry out our core mission to serve students, faculty, staff and visitors. All of your work is critical to the daily functions of this university, and there are countless reasons to be proud of the vital role you all play in the pursuit of excellence at the University of Texas at Austin.

This has been a year of great change for the Financial Affairs portfolio and University Operations, which will be joining us in the new year. Starting with the dedication of interim CFO Mary Knight and transitioning with my arrival in April as Senior Vice President and CFO and the opening of Dell Medical School in July, the challenges of new leadership and an expanded academic mission have required collaboration, flexibility and hard work from every corner of both portfolios.

With the retirement of Vice President of University Operations Pat Clubb, President Gregory Fenves made an important decision in September to combine University Operations and Financial Affairs. The new portfolio will be known as Financial and Administrative Services, which is comprised of approximately 2,300 staff members. As of Jan. 1, 2017, this dynamic portfolio will officially integrate the two former portfolios’ leadership and business processes unified by a shared vision and identity focused on delivering excellent service daily. The new portfolio will carry on Pat’s important and enduring legacy as we embrace the president’s vision of an excellent, effective and efficient UT.

Much progress has been made in 2016 in all affiliated units within the newly named Financial and Administrative Services. From successfully implementing the new concealed campus-carry law to consolidating emergency preparedness functions and launching a multi-functional emergency text messaging system by Campus Safety and Security (CSAS), to the Student Accounts Receivable team working with the Dell Medical School, Office of Financial Aid, Registrar’s Office, and Financial Information Systems (FIS) to bring on the first class of medical students in a seamless manner, we made important strides to further strengthen UT-Austin as one of the top-tier universities around the world.

And, the essence of first-class teamwork was demonstrated by our Document Management, Policy Coordinator and Vendor ID Section as they redesigned the university’s payment information form (PIF) into a DocuSign format to enable students, faculty and staff to electronically sign documents in a secure and effective manner anytime, anywhere in the world. Accounting and Financial Management perfected collaboration by delivering the always-challenging Annual Financial Report on schedule with no reportable external audit findings.

Together we reached new heights with various milestones to boost efficiency and introduced innovations that will serve as a model of operational excellence in higher education. Efforts such as designating the ITS campus data center as a regional center for other UT System campuses to utilize for back-up and disaster recovery plans, and launching ServiceNow which supports more than 700 staff and faculty in 30 colleges, schools, and units (CSUs) to track, manage and resolve thousands of incident reports in a timely and efficient manner have been strongly appreciated.

Other highlights that made an impact across campus this year include:

  • UT Police Department (UTPD) awarded 10 officers with medals for their life-saving efforts in 2016
  • The HUB/SB Program hosted its fourth Construction and Professional Services Business Matchmaking event facilitating more than 200 one-on-one prime vendor/subcontractor connections
  • Office of Sustainability completed and launched the university’s new Sustainability Master Plan, in conjunction with President Fenves speaking at their Sustainability Forum in September
  • Academic Technology Support (ATS) extended its reach in 2016 and now serves more than 90 CSUs, including academic, research and staff units
  • Purchasing completed the SAO Federal A-133 audit and Office of Naval Research Purchasing System Review with no findings while also processing 1,200 purchase orders to more than 560 suppliers accounting for $115 million of university spend
  • Business & Financial Services (BFS) provided service (Payments, Procurement, Financial Reporting) to Campus Safety and Security Units (UTPD, FPS, EHS, and CSAS AVP Office) which represented an increase in processing workload of 33 percent. Services also began for ITS, ATS, OTS, ISO and the Development Office
  • Utilities, Energy & Facilities Management completed the $87 million Dell Medical District Utility Plant which includes 15,000 tons, 5.5 million gallons TES, and two hot water plants to serve the Dell Medical School and university campus

Of course, these are just a few of the initiatives (including those listed here) that led to meaningful improvements which served and impacted thousands of people campus-wide.

I commend all of you for your dedicated efforts despite numerous challenges along the way. The year ahead will present exciting work as we continue to build the foundation to efficiently support productivity and innovation throughout the university. I trust your commitment and focus and believe we will meet any challenges together with the core mission and purpose to further bolster this outstanding university and serve its community.

Enjoy this time with your friends and loved ones. We could not be more excited about what’s in store for next year, and for the opportunity to work with all of you to make it happen.

Regards,

Darrell Bazzell
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer