SHEU staff on the move
An unusual event occurred in July as we said goodbye to two long serving staff members.
Di Bish retired and Dan Hawkins moved on. They are pictured with SHEU founder John Balding.
"Di Bish came to work with us in 1985 and has been a damned nuisance ever since... but we're very sorry to see her go. Her keen eye and energy let no-one get away with sloppy work or lazy thinking, and the quality of all SHEU's recent studies owes a great deal to her efforts.
Di first worked for us as a 'coder'. Nearly all SHEU's projects are based around the work of the 'engine room', the data processing team who take in scripts, assign numbers to pupils answers ('coding') and type the numbers into computer files ('punching'). While Di was coding from home her repeated calls to Beryl became something of a daily routine! Her attention to detail and insistence that our guidelines be sharpened up were both a challenge and a treat. We immediately saw something special in her and invited her to join us in the office in 1986, where she became a key member of the team and took over Beryl's role as Data Processing Manager in 2000. We soon learned to use her in every project we took on -- even if she did acquire a wholly deserved reputation for getting all our early thoughts thrown out ('Start-Again Di', we muttered...).
All that makes Di sound like a tyrant, but she is also one of the warmest and good-humoured of colleagues. She has always cared about the welfare of her team as much as the quality of our services, and she has been an absolute pleasure to know and work with.
Jim Podbery and Anna MacConachie have taken on the various roles Di performed in the Unit, and David tells me they mean to be just as rigorous as Di ever was. A document sent to the engine room for checking always comes back bearing dozens of fluttering yellow notes, like the tail end of an exotic bird...
Dan Hawkins has worked with us on and off for much of the last ten years, coming in to help us with punching one summer and being brought in again the following year. We kept finding uses for him, recognising his talents, and when our able administrator Michelle left us a few years ago he took over, bringing his organisational skills and genial manner to the position.
He lifted our game in many respects, with meticulous logging and record-keeping; his booming chuckle also became known to anyone who rang the Unit. Last year he took up the reins of Project Coordinator when Tam took up a teaching post, and ably coached our new Administrator, Charleigh, before he left. He too has left a large pair of shoes to fill and we will miss his cheery company."