John Lindstrom has worked for the North Dakota University System/Core Technology Services for nearly 40 years. In all that time, a lot has changed, except for his role.
According to his team mates, the steadiness he brings to the job helps serve as a great foundation on which to build a team.
John, a programmer analyst with the CTS’ Financial and HRM Systems team, has been an application developer for his entire career, starting back in 1978 when he was hired to develop the software for an integrated legacy HR, Finance and Student system for all campuses.
“My responsibilities over the years have been basically developing and troubleshooting the software that automates the business processes for the campuses,” John said. “In our legacy system I worked on both the finance and HRMS applications. With the ERP [put in place in 2004] I now work exclusively on the HRMS module.”
While things can change regularly in higher education and in tech-related fields, John’s particular role – and the skills and experience he brings to it – haven’t gone out of style. While the 2004 transition from a legacy system to the ERP offered less need for programming, all systems retain a high need for troubleshooters like John and the Financial and HRMS Systems team, who continues to develop new functionality within the system.
While these types of technical details may be out-of-sight for most end-users, the functionality that they bring allows university system employees to maintain a proper level of interaction with their administrative needs. Most recently, that included the implementation of the Time Labor/Absence Management module in PeopleSoft, utilized by all the campuses.
Being part of any system for four decades can offer insight into change over time. John is certainly no different in that regard.
There have been many changes as you can imagine over nearly 40 years,” he said. “When I started all of the campuses had their own computer systems for doing their business and there wasn’t even a formal North Dakota University System, which was formed in approximately 1990. In the mid-1980s, three new campuses were brought under the umbrella of N.D. higher ed with Bismarck State, Lake Region and Williston State being added. Campuses were basically their own entity since – there was no technology available to help with the collaboration between them
According to John, the information technology-related changes have been dramatic
“When I started working for N.D. higher ed, personal computers were in their infancy and were not used for any administrative computing, and there was no internet, online processing or cell phones,” he noted. “Our legacy system went into production in 1978 and connected online to a mainframe computer used the old green screen terminals for data entry. That was a huge step forward from the punch cards and magnetic tape that was heavily used prior to the legacy system. The changes since that legacy system have been just as dramatic with the advent of the internet. Now we can do our work and students can take classes online from anywhere.”
John noted that he kept upbeat after 40 years on the job because he worked with “talented, dedicated co-workers, and it is fun to come to work every day.
“My job is still challenging and not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new,” he added. “Our teams work with the campus administrative users, and it is rewarding helping them solve issues that they have with our ERP software.
“I have been very fortunate to work with the people that I have over the years and have a job that was both rewarding and challenging,” John concluded. “I even met my wife Marie at work (we started the same day in 1978) and have worked in the same organization ever since. She just retired in December.”
“John is an amazing team member, friend and person,” noted supervisor Cory Schanzenbach. “He is the most humble, kind, hard-working individual I have met. John has an incredible amount of knowledge, which his team-members rely on for help every day.”
In addition to his long track record with NDUS/CTS, John finds time to serve as he treasurer of his church and his church foundation. I also help out in NDSU Athletics. During the football season he works on the game statistic crew and during the basketball season helps the multimedia crew with displaying game content on the videoboards in the SHAC. He is a longtime blood donor for United Blood Services, and was inducted into the N.D. Softball Hall of Fame in 1993 after playing for 31 years. These days, he’s traded in fast pitch softball for golfing and bowling, recording two 300 games and an 800 series.