When Leslie Knowles, lead business intelligence developer in information services, answered a want ad in the Akron Beacon Journal classifieds 21 years ago, she had no idea the adventures that were in store for her at Akron Children’ Hospital. From the evolution of her department, which used to be housed in the basement of the Locust building (including all the department’s employees and computers!), to surviving the computer room flood in 2008, Leslie shares some of her favorite memories and plans for retirement—which begins April 30.
What brought you to Children’s?
I had been a consultant for a number of years and wanted to find a job to keep me closer to home more. My son and daughter were grown, and my husband and I were empty nesters.
Have you always worked in the same department and role?
I have worked in the same department, but my job has changed through the years. I started here on the IBM AS/400 computer as a programmer analyst, using RPGII coding language for the clinical team which included ClinAcc. It was fun to see how the physicians and nurses worked together and how the computer was used to track everything. When we transitioned to Epic, I was on the interface team, then the Clarity reporting team and finally, team lead. I truly appreciate Akron Children’s for providing the training to help me continue to learn and grow in my career.
In what ways has Akron Children’s changed since you started here?
The information services department was small enough that all the employees were located in the basement of the Locust building (many with their own offices) with all the computers. Now, the department has employees working organization wide as well as remotely.
What gave you the most satisfaction at work?
Being part of an organization that values women and does many things to help the community.
What’s your most memorable moment at Akron Children’s?
Working through the computer room flood that happened in 2008. A water main broke on the corner of Exchange and Bowery and made its way down the basement hallway into the computer room in the Considine building. The entire building was evacuated, and the power was shut off for 2 days. Everyone in the hospital went to documenting on paper. Our team worked around-the-clock to get things up and running. We had to restore from back-ups and then figure out which applications needed restored and which things we had to manually update while the system was down. It was fun seeing what problems you would get and how long it would take to resolve them. The first couple days, I worked 36 hours straight and several others worked more than I did. I was so proud to be part of such a talented team that gave so much of their time.
What do you look forward to the most in retirement?
It will be nice to hang with my hubby, Ken, and our 12-year-old granddaughter, Chloe. During our 47 years of marriage, we have been separated a lot with him being in the military and me later as a consultant.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
To just go with the flow and see what adventures are presented to you.
Do you have any hobbies you are looking forward to pursuing in retirement?
I love to travel. I look forward to visiting Disney World again and planning more trips. I’m also looking forward to being able to stay up late and watch the Oscars.
Do you have any advice for people just starting at Children’s?
You spend lots of time at work. Work on making it fun and enjoying it. Go the extra mile for our patients, their families and each other.
What’s the last book your read?
I’m almost finished reading “Rise Up” by Reverend Al Sharpton. Someone suggested to me that if you want to help make the United States stand up “for justice for all,” you must work on understanding the issues for those other than yourself. I highly recommend the book.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I enjoy cooking international cuisine. Other hobbies include yoga, biking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, running, hiking and just about anything that involves being outside.