Meet Greg Fink

Earlier this year, the Office of the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Information Services & Technology) received a record-breaking number of nominations for the 2020 IT Awards. We are excited to recognize the individuals who were nominated and the important contributions they make everyday at the University of Alberta.

Greg Fink works as a Client Support Analyst in Information Services & Technology and assists in maintaining computer systems for faculty and administration across the UofA. Alongside solving the mysteries of computer upgrades, he is pursuing a Master's of Arts in Native Studies that he hopes to finish in the next six months.

We spoke with Greg to learn more about his role and what motivates him.

What does a day in the life look like in your position?

I spend the day assisting the administrative and professorial staff of the university in maintaining and operating their computer systems. So a typical day is never very typical. Some days are spent building new computers. Other days can be involved in solving the mysteries of the latest Peoplesoft upgrade and why it hates the Firefox browser update. I often solve the problem by first fixing the user, getting them calm enough to work on the situation. You cannot fix anything if someone is frustrated by a system failure; the gentle and earnest approach works best I find.

What’s one thing you’re working on now, and why is it important?

I am working on the new macOS Big Sur. It is a game changer for our Mac users making the desktop and laptop much more like an iPad. This includes all the limitations as well as the benefits of the mobile ios. I'm also trying to survive COVID-19, but aren't we all?

What have you worked on since joining the university that you are most proud of?

My time at business assisting with the Bloomberg lab, a state of the art business forecasting and research software, was memorable. For IST, I was involved in trying hard to make the ITIL process stick. I did this by running the Service Operation Center for two years until we realized that the university was headed in another direction with support and that ITIL was not really a good fit here.

Why did you pursue a career in IT?

For me computing was always a hobby. When I first started if you wanted a computer at home with any sort of usability you had to basically build it yourself. I did a lot of self learning and found I got to know quite a lot. I found work with IBM doing rudimentary onsite support for very basic server systems. As more companies adopted computers I drifted into working for a local computer manufacturer building and installing machines. Nearly 30 years later I realize that this has been in many ways a very accidental career.

If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be? 

I enjoy music but theory is lost on me; I just get lost in the slog of it all. If I could have instant knowledge of anything that would be it. 

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick? 

Twitter, as I am a political junkie and no better way to keep up with it all than tweets. Sudoku, that I muck with constantly. I can do expert level puzzles in about 5 to 10 minutes. My online dictionaries for First Nations languages. I’m lost without those sometimes. 

Anything else you'd like to share?

Being associated with an institution like the University of Alberta has been one of the best things that I have ever experienced. To help shape the education of the next generation, to assist in the very small way that I do with ongoing research, and to be somewhere where people understand the bigger picture is more important than little day-to-day concerns. I have been very lucky to be here as long as I have and look forward to hopefully another 20 years to see what happens next.


Greg Fink was nominated for an IT Award earlier this year for the high quality of service and exemplary IT support he provides, initiative in identifying and resolving IT issues, and his professionalism.