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Swarts to retire from Office of Continuous Improvement, celebration Dec. 13

Willie Swarts
Willie Swarts, Allison Corona photo.

The Office of Continuous Improvement invites the campus community to celebrate the retirement of Willie Swarts from 1-3 p.m. on Dec. 13 in the Student Union Building’s Simplot Ballroom.

Swarts began his career at Boise State in 2001 as a financial system analyst in the Controller’s Office immediately after the university upgraded to PeopleSoft 7.51. He was later promoted to associate director in the Controller’s Office. He moved into his current position as director in the Office of Continuous Improvement in 2018.

“Due to the vision of the Office of Information Technology and Finance and Operations regarding our enterprise systems, we have continually been in a mode of evolving,” Swarts said. “Not much remains static as technology is forever changing. I have loved the opportunity to grow my level of understanding regarding these systems.”

Swarts contributed to many large university initiatives during his career. He was part of the effort to implement Oracle Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (Financials, Procurement, Project Portfolio Management) in 2016. Boise State was one of the first higher education institutions to move to the platform and other institutions looked to Swarts for guidance on their own software transitions. He was also part of the team leading stabilization efforts for the Oracle Human Capital Management initiative.

“Collaborating with Willie was a dynamic exchange of ideas, where we mutually enriched our knowledge and expertise – most notably during the PeopleSoft Renovation and OFC projects,” said Brian Bolt, assistant vice president and deputy chief information officer in the Office of Information Technology. “Beyond that, Willie graciously guided me through the complexities of university financial transactions. His unwavering support has made him my trusted advisor whenever I needed to unravel a complicated knot of transactions. I appreciate our history of camaraderie and extend my best wishes to him on his next roadmap.”

Retirement will see Swarts tackle home improvement projects, a camper restoration and embracing the role of new grandfather. He will also us the time to further explore his interests and continue his journey of lifelong learning.

“I’m a big believer in continual learning,” he said. “The area I work in has always presented an opportunity to learn new strategies, technology, and so on, but, besides the actual work I do, I have really enjoyed the growth that has come to this university. Seeing all the improvements on campus and also the direction in the academic areas has made me proud to be part of this higher-ed family.”

More from Swarts’ colleagues

“I wish I could have worked with Willie longer, but I am thankful to have worked with him for the four and a half years that I did. I enjoyed working with Willie and appreciate his dedication and persistence in finding a solution to whatever wicked problem came his way. He was instrumental in finding a delivered solution for fringe during HCM stabilization. Willie always had a story for why something was done a certain way, which helped with improvements to processes. His system knowledge, experience and mentorship will be missed. Wishing you the very best in this next chapter of life. Congratulations Willie!” – Gorane Stormoen, executive director of the Office of Continuous Improvement

“I have really enjoyed working with Willie! Whether it was presenting together at the Alliance conference, resolving GL conversion issues or being on very long conference calls with Oracle. Even though I am a technical person, Willie has taught me a few accounting skills. ‘Lenka, the Debits MUST match the Credits’ he said to me a few times. I will miss working with Willie and his undeniable dedication to his job. His analytical skills, system knowledge and his persistence will be sorely missed. Willie, I hope you like Saturdays, because everyday is about to become a Saturday for you! Cheers to your retirement!” – Lenka McDougall, programmer analyst, Business Intelligence Reporting Services

“Willie has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the systems and accounting processes at Boise State. He’s a critical and unsung hero behind the scenes of many situations. His tenacity, creativity and ‘dog with a bone’ work ethic has solved complex problems for 20 years. On top of that, Willie is one of the most patient, kindest and supportive co-workers anyone could ever ask for. We all wish him the happiest of retirements – he’s earned it for sure, and will miss him tremendously. I know that ‘What would Willie do?’ will become a standard saying everyone will use in complex and difficult situations for a long time. Thanks for everything!” – Jo Ellen DiNucci, Senior Associate Vice President, Finance and Operations

“I started working with Willie when OCI (known as Systems and Process Improvement (SPI) back then) was created. He has always been our calm navigator and leader with the implementation of Oracle Finance and now HCM. Willie has been the one to tackle those awful wicked tickets that are complex and hit multiple areas. Willie’s departure is going to leave a huge hole on our team because he’s just great and we will all miss him. I wish Willie all the best as he moves on to a new chapter in life.” – Maria Trejo, director of production support, Office of Continuous Improvement