About MGRdev

Origin of the program

The IT Manager Development Program, informally known as MGRdev, was designed by Gale Stafford and Jake MacGregor in 2012 to address a need for more local, affordable IT manager training options.  Gale and Jake share a strong interest in developing people, as well as an appreciation for practical and skills-based instruction.  They met over lunch for approximately a year to discuss and create a framework for the program’s curriculum.  The resulting program featured 6 main topics that progressively build upon skills:

  • Self: personal effectiveness and organization (1 session)
  • One-on-One: working with individuals on performance management, coaching, delegation, career development (3 sessions)
  • Team: team development, hiring and onboarding new team members (2 sessions)

Illustration of an arrow to show how MGRdev progressively builds Self, One-on-One, and Team skills, aka the Me to We arrow

Jake and Gale then recruited several other IT managers and directors with strengths in the chosen topic areas, as well as a personal commitment to management as a discipline, to join in turning the MGRdev program concept into a reality.

2013 MGRdev: Pilot

MGRdev launched a pilot cohort of 13 recruited participants.  Sessions were 3.5 hours long with breaks and covered personal effectiveness, performance management, coaching, delegation, career development, team development, and hiring and onboarding.

The facilitator team comprised:

  • Alex Breen, CITES
  • Aaron Walz, AITS
  • Gale Stafford, CITES
  • Jake MacGregor, CITES
  • Jan Waterhouse, UIS Library
  • Jim Hurst, Engineering

The pilot received positive feedback from the pilot participants, including an overall content rating of 4.32 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the top score.

2013 Pilot Cohort portrait

Towards the end of the pilot, Jan moved to another state to work in the private sector and unfortunately had to withdraw from the program team.   A few months later, Aaron left for a position at Purdue University, but was still able to continue his role in MGRdev.

2014 MGRdev: First full cohort

The 2014 cohort had 18 participants selected through an open application process.  Sessions were extended to 6 hours, including breaks and a lunch, based on pilot feedback to include more discussion and networking time.  In addition to the topics included in the pilot, the 2014 program featured two new sections:  “Being a new manager” and “How to Manage Up”.

Program sessions were facilitated by

  • Alex Breen, CITES
  • Aaron Walz, Purdue University
  • Danny Tang, Engineering
  • Gale Stafford, CITES
  • Jake MacGregor, CITES
  • Jim Hurst, Engineering
  • Steph Wilson, CITES

We also expanded the program to include one-on-one coaching between MGRdev sessions.  Several facilitators served as coaches, as well as Josh Henry, a graduate of the pilot cohort.  Coaching was highly rated by the cohort members.

2014 MGRdev cohort portrait

2015 MGRdev

MGRdev’s third program was held May through October, 2015.

The facilitator team was:

  • Alex Breen, CITES
  • Aaron Walz, Purdue University
  • Danny Tang, Engineering
  • Jake MacGregor, CITES
  • Jim Hurst, Engineering
  • Steph Wilson, CITES
  • Tina Olszewski, VetMed

In January, 2015, Gale Stafford left the University to pursue his career dream of starting his own consulting firm. As co-creator and a strong advocate for MGRdev, he plans to continue to support the program by serving as our first official Science Advisor. The Science Advisor is responsible for providing current research on management and organizational development theory to the facilitator team.

2016 MGRdev

MGRdev’s 4th program was held June, 2016 through November, 2016.

The facilitator team was:

  • Aaron Walz, Purdue University
  • Danny Tang, Engineering @ Iowa
  • Stephen Kemp, Technology Services
  • Jake MacGregor, Engineering
  • Jim Hurst, Engineering
  • Steph Wilson, Technology Services
  • Tina Olszewski, VetMed

Gale Stafford continues in his role of science advisor to the program.

dsc_0057-manager-dev-2016-cohort

2017 MGRdev

MGRdev’s 5th program was held May, 2017 through October, 2017.

The facilitator team was:

  • Aaron Walz, Purdue University
  • Danny Tang, Engineering @ Iowa
  • Stephen Kemp, Technology Services
  • Jake MacGregor, Engineering
  • Jim Hurst, Engineering
  • Steph Wilson, Technology Services
  • Tina Olszewski, VetMed

Jamie Hackett, Technology Services, joined the program as a coach.

Gale Stafford continues in his role of science advisor to the program.

2018 MGRdev

MGRdev’s 6th program was held June, 2018 through November, 2018.

The facilitator team was:

  • Aaron Walz, Purdue University
  • Danny Tang, Engineering @ Iowa
  • Stephen Kemp, Technology Services
  • Jake MacGregor, Engineering
  • Jim Hurst, Engineering
  • Steph Wilson, Technology Services
  • Tina Olszewski, VetMed
  • Jamie Hackett, Technology Services

Colleen Miller, AITS, joined the program as a coach.

Todd Bordner, Purdue University, joined the program as a coach

Gale Stafford continues in his role of science advisor to the program.

2019 MGRdev

MGRdev’s 7th program was held June, 2019 through November, 2019.

The MgrDev team was:

  • Aaron Walz, Purdue University
  • Danny Tang, Engineering @ Iowa
  • Stephen Kemp, Technology Services
  • Jake MacGregor, Library
  • Jim Hurst, Engineering
  • Laura Herriott, Engineering
  • Brad Mahaffey, Engineering
  • Tina Olszewski, VetMed
  • Jamie Hackett, Technology Services
  • Colleen Miller, AITS
  • Todd Bordner, Purdue University

Jennifer Sturner, Technology Services, joined the program as a coach.

Ashley Hetrick, Library, joined the program as a guest facilitator.

Gale Stafford continues in his role of science advisor to the program.

Acknowledgements

MGRdev wouldn’t be the program it is today without the following:

  • The MOR Associates‘ IT Leadership Program (ITLP).  Five current or former MGRdev facilitators are graduates of ITLP.
  • The University of Illinois IT Leadership Workshop (ITLW), which paved the way for grassroots training programs designed by and for members of our IT Pro community.  Furthermore, we’d like to thank Chuck Thompson, James Quisenberry, Mike Bohlmann, and (of course) Alex Breen, for offering guidance during our initial set-up based on their ITLW experiences.
  • Manager Tools, a consulting firm that produces free, practical management resources, including a popular weekly podcast.

In addition, we are sincerely grateful for Mark S. Hart’s talents with photography.  Mark donates his time and skills to the program to provide the official cohort portraits.