Unsung hero Lester Lim always saves the day

It's a bird.. it's a plane.. it's Lester Lim? That's right-systems analyst extraordinaire Lester Lim is the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine's official unsung her

20 April 2010

It's a bird.. it's a plane.. it's Lester Lim? That's right-systems analyst extraordinaire Lester Lim is the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine's official unsung hero. Crowned by the University of Alberta Information Technology Awards Committee, Lim will be presented the Information Technology Unsung Hero Award at the Technocon 2010 Conference in May. The award recognizes IT professionals who go beyond the call of duty when it comes to providing exceptional IT service at the U of A.

"When I got the e-mail notification, I thought, 'Wait, what's going on here? Maybe they're just giving awards out to all the IT people on campus,'" Lim says with a smile.

Lim has been with the Rehabilitation Medicine Technology Group since 2004, working under the leadership of IT manager David Polvere, who he can't stop singing praises for.

"Everything I know I learned from Dave. He sets the bar high for customer service," Lim says.

Polvere says a week doesn't go by without a faculty member, admin staff or graduate student stopping him in the hallway to say something great about Lim.

"There is no one else I'd rather have on the frontlines of technical support in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine," says Polvere. "Lester manages an endless task list along with frequent, urgent and last-minute help requests-and he does this gracefully and without question."

Martin Ferguson-Pell, dean of Rehabilitation Medicine, agrees. "Lester recognizes that IT extends beyond the walls of Corbett Hall. Some faculty members work from home, in another country or somewhere else on campus. Lester provides the best service no matter where you are."

Lim was nominated by the entire Faculty for the award. For many faculty, staff and students, he has come to the rescue too many times to count. For example, he will go down right away to speech language pathology's newly renovated teaching lab during hands-on demonstrations and fix problems even before he has had the chance to take his coat off-or drop off his son at the day care centre nearby.

Staff say Lim will take the time to learn the names of people's computers. Whether they're regular names like Dell and Apple, or Star Wars-themed names like Darth Vader and Yoda, he will thoughtfully refer to staff's computers by name. His sense of humour and calm demeanour make people warm up to him quickly.

"Lester is also a talented musician," Ferguson-Pell adds. "He plays the piano for our Faculty's Christmas luncheon. He shares all of his talents freely, even the musical ones!"

"Lester is always there even when it's not an IT issue," Polvere says. "We often find Lester moving tables, setting up chairs, putting up posters and moving heavy equipment. He will go out of his way to help you no matter what."

For Lim who doesn't usually like the limelight, the Faculty's appreciation for him has been more than enough.

"When I walk through the halls, the people will say thank you. They're always showing their appreciation, and that's enough reward for me," Lim grins. "It's the small acknowledgements that really make your day."

The Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine will have a celebration for Lim after the Technocon Conference. More details to follow.

Top: Dave Polvere (L) and Lester Lim (R); Middle: Lim and Polvere using Rehab Med's new high def synchronized teaching technology; Bottom: Lim says everything he knows he learned from Polvere.

Photos by Laurie Wang

About the University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
As the only free standing faculty of rehabilitation in Canada, the University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine balances its activities among learning, discovery and citizenship (including clinical practice). A research leader in musculoskeletal health, spinal cord injuries and common spinal disorders (back pain), the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine aims to improve the quality of life of citizens in our community. The three departments, Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT) and Speech Pathology and Audiology (SPA) offer professional entry programs. The Faculty offers thesis-based MSc and PhD programs in Rehabilitation Science, attracting students from a variety of disciplines including OT, PT, SLP, psychology, physical education, medicine and engineering.