Get to Know

Get to Know Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox standing in front of a grass field and forest.

Jeff Fox is the Chief Information Officer for the College of Veterinary Medicine

When did you begin working at the College of Veterinary Medicine?

I started in January 2015, right after the holidays.

Describe your role at the college.

As Chief Information Officer I’m responsible for the strategic and operational IT needs of Vet Med. I oversee a hard-working desktop, AV, programming, and system administration staff which many of you interact with daily. I also manage vendor relationships and liaison with campus information technology teams for campus services.

Around the college, you may also find me working on special projects that may or may not have a strong technology component, as I also assist with process improvement and project management in my role.

Outside of the college, I am chair or participate in several campus advisory, steering, and governance committees. These focus primarily on campus strategic initiatives. Most recently I have become heavily involved in the Operational Excellence initiative.

Have you held any previous titles or responsibilities at the college?

No, I worked in the private sector before I took on my current role.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I really enjoy problem solving, especially if it involves improvement or creating something new. Pretty much every day I learn something new about technology, medicine, or the people I work with. If I’m making something easier, helping eliminate unnecessary steps, or sharing a time saving trick then I’m probably having a good time. I also enjoy that I get to connect people and ideas across the college, wherever they may come from, to help move things forward. It’s challenging but I find it pretty interesting.

Complete this sentence: My most memorable day at work was…

…early on in my time here. I had just started at the university a few weeks earlier and there was a major system-wide IT meeting up at the University of Illinois Chicago with presentations and working sessions. To get up there I took my first-ever train ride and then used this newfangled app called Uber, which seemed weird but convenient (now, what would we do without it?). At the conference, everybody seemed to know each other except me, which was a little overwhelming. However, it ended up being a great day because I got to know my colleagues really well in a short time frame, especially the other attendee from Vet Med. Seven hours on a train lets you have great conversations and ask lots of questions!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’m pretty outdoorsy, and enjoy hiking and biking whenever I can. My wife and I have taken our kids on campouts since the oldest was seven weeks old, and before that we took our dog (who is now 17) with us. We are all hopeless bibliophiles, so indoors or out I probably have a book (or a stack of them) nearby. I also enjoy woodworking, endurance biking, and making bread from scratch. I’m hoping to get my sons interested in doing those things with me as they get older.

What is something your co-workers may be surprised to know about you?

I occasionally participate in a mountain bike race, but bike touring is where I put in the most time in the saddle. My last tour was about 1,000 miles and crossed both the Rockies and the Cascades. I usually average between 75-115 miles per day on these rides, but it’s not a race. I take my time and chat with friends all day. I know this may not sound like fun, but biking really is the perfect speed to really see the world and immerse yourself in the land. Cars are too fast, and walking is a bit too slow. It’s also a wonderful excuse to eat as much pie and ice cream as I want.

What is one thing on your bucket list?

I’d really like to do a multi-day backpacking trip in the Tetons.

Do you have a favorite restaurant or place in the Champaign/Urbana area?

That’s a tough one, but I think Biaggi’s would just beat Rainbow Garden for me.

Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

Hmm, well I don’t care for coffee so that’s a non-issue, but I generally get pretty restless if I can’t exercise or at least go for a walk.

Do you have any pets?

We have one dog, a healer-lab mix, that we adopted from a Cheyenne, Wyoming, shelter 17 years ago! He has the quiet, smart, herding tendencies of a cattle dog, but the affectionate lean-against-your leg traits of a black lab. Jake has hiked many trails in the Rockies, pushed his way through two feet of snow in Minnesota, and has zipped up ladders at Turkey Run (yeah, we didn’t know about those the first time). These days he is still quite affectionate and friendly, but you’ll have to catch him between some serious marathon naps.

Jeff's brown and white healer-lab mix, Jake sitting in a patch of grass in front of flowers.