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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dr. Rosio Alvarez Will Be Information Technology Division Director

The state of Massachusetts' loss is Berkeley Lab's gain. One of the northeast's most prominent information technology experts decided to return "home" - Rosio Alvarez was born in Los Angeles - to accept the dual position of Information Technology Division Director and Chief Information Officer at Berkeley Lab. Her tenure will begin on Jan. 1, when prior IT Director Sandy Merola takes over full-time duties as Deputy Chief Operations Officer.

During a visit to the Lab yesterday, Alvarez addressed an all-hands meeting of the 130-member IT Division and expressed her excitement at getting to support an institution with "big research." "The Lab is a perfect fit (for me)," she told the audience in Building 50. "I continue to do research on the organizational landscape in the use of technology - how people's relationships change in organizations (via technology). Now I'll be working in my own lab."

She will also live and work, for the first time in 18 years, in her native state. Most of those years were spent learning (B.S., M.B.A, Ph.D) and managing (Executive Director, Office of Information Technologies; Associate Chancellor; Assistant to the Deputy Chancellor) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She also served as UMass's Manager of Financial Systems and network analyst.

Her reputation in the field broadened when she was among the founders of the Northeast Research and Educational Network, an advanced optical network serving the major research institutions in the region.

Her early career path, she told the staff, was as a faculty member, starting in business administration at the University of Washington. But the Umass-Amherst chancellor called her and offered her the position of IT Division Director. What she agreed to do temporarily soon became permanent "when I discovered I fell in love with the work," Alvarez recalled.

Berkeley Lab Director Steve Chu, in introducing Alvarez yesterday, said the Lab was fortunate to win the competition for her services with an unnamed UC campus. He noted, "Rosio is an outstanding person to lead what I consider to be the best division on the operations side of the Lab." And he added with a laugh, "It's certainly head and shoulders above Stanford, in terms of quality of service and the professionalism you (IT staff) show every day." He said Berkeley Lab's IT program is considered the "model" among Office of Science laboratories, the place where others come for help when they're in trouble.

"We are very fortunate to have her," Merola said. "In an extremely well qualified candidate pool, she impressed us with her strategic perspectives on the utility of IT to a scientific organization."

Merola and Chu both complimented Tammy Welcome, who has been administering the IT Division program since Merola moved over to the Operations office. "Thanks for all that you've done and will continue to do," Chu told her. "It's good you stepped up to the plate when we needed you, and I know we will continue to appreciate your work."

Alvarez' degrees are in engineering, business administration, and management. Her research examines the socio-cultural implications of technology use in organizations. Published in leading journals in her field, her research deploys linguistic theories to understand the interplay of organizational structure and institutional identities in IT environments.

As part of her work as Director for the IT Division at UMass-Amherst, she managed a PeopleSoft implementation that serves the administrative needs of over 30,000 customers. She continues to serve as an advisory board member for several educational and commercial technology organizations.


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