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LANE: This is A three. So we are here with Jon Hesseldenz on, uh, December 5th, 2007. And Jon, we're just--we're collecting these great memories, and a lot of the details for the archives for KCTCS archives. And then we're, of course, gonna publish our tenth anniversary book, and do an exhibit and all kinds of interesting things. So I knew you were going to be able to fill in a lot of details. I have pages of, of research notes, and I've collected everything I could find on KCTCS but, but the technicalities of what you did, did are very important I think. But what I would like to do first--(clears throat)--is ask you to review your professional history leading to your position at KCTCS. In general, where were you before you came here, and your general background?

HESSELDENZ: Ah, that's, uh, that takes me back, I, uh--

LANE: (laughs) You said your degrees were in English?

HESSELDENZ: I, yeah, uh, I have, uh, degrees in English, and, uh--


LANE: --there's water if you need it--

HESSELDENZ: --a, um, well, actually a, a doctorate in, uh, higher education from UK, uh, plus another one in English from, uh, UK, and I was, uh, uh--started out as an English major and, uh, right out of college worked for, as an editor for a, uh, a computer company.

LANE: Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: It was, uh, it's now Unisys at the time it was Burroughs Corporation.

LANE: So you were editing their manuals and all that?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah and right, and, uh, the, the people across the hall were, uh, making about twice what I was making, and I said I can do that, and so I became a programmer. And, uh, then I worked for RCA when, uh, they were in the computer business for just a couple of 00:02:00years. And then they, uh, went out of the business, so I left and, uh, was working at Glassboro State College as an assistant director of the computing center.

LANE: Where is that?

HESSELDENZ: Glassboro State College is in New Jersey.

LANE: New Jersey?

HESSELDENZ: Is now at Rowan University, but, uh, it, um, and it's grown exponentially, you know, over the years. Um, then, uh, after a couple of years there I decided I wanted to, uh, you know, make a career of higher education, and came to University of Kentucky to get to the EdD in higher education. Which I did in three years. And, uh, they hired me at the computing center so to, to, and I spent most of my career, uh, implementing, uh, projects, uh, same thing I ended up doing for, 00:03:00for KCTCS. But all, uh, all the major, uh, uh, systems the, uh, the student system, the HR system, the financial system at UK until just last year or so were the ones that I had, uh, implemented. So that's, that's, that's what I did there.

LANE: So you actually came to KCTCS from the university?

HESSELDENZ: That's correct.

LANE: Okay. Let's, let's go back just a minute. I want to get to that. But of course you were there, uh, during all this business during the Governor Patton's first administration--all the talk about the community colleges and this, his higher ed reform. When did you first hear of that?

HESSELDENZ: Oh, very early on. I guess it was, uh, you know, probably during the '97 legislative systems. Uh, when, when they were, uh- 00:04:00-not when the fight was, you know, when they first announced it and everybody said, "No, it will never happen they won't--"

LANE: Of course, your president Wethington was in the middle of all it, of course. With, with Governor Patton, um--

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. I really didn't think it would ever happen. I thought that the, the political pu-, uh, you know, pull of the, uh, university would, uh, overcome.

LANE: It had many times before.


LANE: Hadn't it?

HESSELDENZ: Um-hm. So, uh, but at the time I was working on sort of a detached duty with the community college system.

LANE: Were you?

HESSELDENZ: They had, they had, uh, yeah, there was a--I was one of the top executives at, at, in information technology at UK and they, they decided that they were going to loan them out to the--there--at the time there was three different divisions at UK: the Medical Center, the, um, then the college as we know it, plus the community college. Or the university, as we know it, arts and sciences and all that--


LANE: Right, right. And then the community colleges.

HESSELDENZ: So, I was, I was, uh, sort of on a detached duty to the community college system when that was happening so I saw it--

LANE: Interesting? You were in the middle of it then?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. Uh, and--

LANE: All the brouhaha at the schools and Governor Patton's visits to the school, and UK's, uh, marketing or PR campaign against.

HESSELDENZ: Right and his appearance before the board and all that--it was all very interesting. And but it didn't--

LANE: It reads like a novel actually.

HESSELDENZ: But I didn't think it would affect me in any way. And, uh--

LANE: Where were you? Were you at one of the colleges--


LANE: --assisting, or?

HESSELDENZ: I was at the System office.

LANE: Still at the office.

HESSELDENZ: Uh, working with, working with, uh, geez, I can't forget her--I forget my boss's name. (both laugh)

LANE: Oh well.

HESSELDENZ: So, it, it happened--and then I think it was, uh, uh, February, uh, no January, I believe, of 1998, when they moved everybody 00:06:00over there, and I was just going to stay with, uh, uh, UK. But, uh, I was the one most knowledgeable about systems in, in, uh, the, the community college system. I'd been--because I had been working with them for about a year--

LANE: Right.

HESSELDENZ: --on that, and in fact, what, what I was doing mostly was trying to get the Internet into the colleges and, and actually pretty successful in doing that. But, uh, when this, this came along they, uh, I was approached by, by Ron Moore--

LANE: Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: --in, uh, like February or March, and, and was, uh, and when they found out that I'd implemented all the systems at UK, and I had this info-, uh, they wondered if I would, you know, come along and do 00:07:00that, so.

LANE: Now back up and tell us who Ron Moore was, and how he was associated with KCTCS. That's an interesting story.

HESSELDENZ: Very interesting. Yeah. Uh, Ron Moore. I had actually met him before, but he was the vice president for information technology at the University of Louisville. And he, um, they had, uh, and, and his wife, uh--

LANE: Sue?

HESSELDENZ: Sue, yeah.

LANE: Sue Hodges Moore.

HESSELDENZ: Sue Hodges Moore was a, uh, the vice president at the CPE. And, uh, they had both offered their services to the, the fledgling, uh, KCTCS because, uh, uh--Sue as an academic officer and, uh, Ron as an, an interim, uh, vice president for information technology for KCTCS. Uh, I don't--I can't remember which of the, the first, uh, uh, 00:08:00leaders of KCTCS, the interim leaders was in, in, uh, charge at the time when he came on. Um, because I, I wasn't really in--

LANE: You weren't here. Some of those really early, uh, staff members and leaders, of course Jim Ramsey--

HESSELDENZ: --Ramsey was--

LANE: --Nelson Grote was here then. Jeff Hockaday, uh, Tony Newberry was eventually on board here. Uh--

HESSELDENZ: I think it was Jeff Hockaday that was actually, uh, uh, running the place at that time on an interim basis.

LANE: Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: Uh, when I was finally, you know, hired sometime in, in March, or oh, it was Ron Moore and, uh, Jim Ramsey that made the offer.

LANE: Okay. So Ron gave you a call, and what did he say?

HESSELDENZ: He said, "Could you come over to Frankfort and meet with 00:09:00us?" And, um, and I did--went over and, and met with, uh, uh, Ron Moore and, uh, his, his, uh, vice president, uh--(sighs)--

LANE: --I don't know if it, if it--

HESSELDENZ: --he, he's still there. Um--

LANE: --oh, at U of L?

HESSELDENZ: Uh, Tom Sawyer.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, great--

LANE: --well, I'm sorry I don't know that name--

HESSELDENZ: --great name--I can't--

LANE: Yeah--(laughs)--okay--

HESSELDENZ: --having these senior moments here.

LANE: Oh well it's been, it's been a few years, actually.

HESSELDENZ: Well, yeah. Then I told them what my background is, and then they said, "Would you consider, you know, uh, uh, working with us to, to put in, uh, to, you know, putting in the system that we need to have at KCTCS?" They recognized that very early on that, you know, what, what--when they split off, uh, in January of--there, there were two, um, sets of systems that they were running at the time. And one 00:10:00was the UK, uh, uh, HR and financial systems and then the other was, was the state government.

LANE: Right.

HESSELDENZ: And they, you know, they were still issuing, uh, payroll checks and, uh, uh, doing all their procurements through these two post agencies.

LANE: Right. The technical schools with state government and the community colleges with the UK system.

HESSELDENZ: That's correct. And so even after the split-off they--UK was providing those services.

LANE: Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: But, you know, with, with no great enthusiasm and certainly they weren't about to change anything to meet our new, new--the KCTCS procedures and, uh, policies.

LANE: And of course, you knew that system intimately then.

HESSELDENZ: I did--yeah. So that, that was one of the reasons that, the--there was a lot more whole--great more of the population was with 00:11:00the community colleges system than it was with--

LANE: --right--

HESSELDENZ: --I think it, the head count in, uh, the technical college system was only around eight thousand at that time.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And it was, uh, with the exception of, uh, Lexington Community College, at the time there was probably about oh, thirty- eight thousand.

LANE: Really--with the community college system.

HESSELDENZ: With the community college system.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And since the--Lex-, L-, LCC had gotten cut out of, at that time--

LANE: --right, and didn't join you until 2004--


LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: So at any rate, they, um, it was determined that would be a very top priority to get systems in there, uh, for, uh, uh, financials and HR. Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to, you know, run our own place.


LANE: Right. And the board made that, made that commitment early on?

HESSELDENZ: They made it very early on. Yeah, before, uh, and I think, uh, partly at, you know, uh, Ron Moore's urging. He said, "You know, it's going to be an impossible situation to run a system without." So they made that a, a top priority and that's, you know, when they, uh, approached me, because. Um, now as things at the technical colleges were extremely primitive. They, they had, uh, no, no real Internet access. They had one, one line to the, the administrative offices at each of the colleges, each of the fifteen colleges. And, it, it was, uh, and, and had no infrastructure whatsoever, and just maybe one person there that sometimes part-time running the, the student systems. That was--

LANE: Had Governor Patton instituted his technology push yet in state 00:13:00government? Remember that--

HESSELDENZ: Well he, he might have done that, but it hadn't filtered down--

LANE: --it hadn't really taken effect--okay. Okay, because it, it really exploded during those eight years at some point, but I'm not sure which point. Okay.

HESSELDENZ: So, uh, what, uh, and the, another, uh, little sidelight to this. Each of the twenty-seven colleges were regard-, were running their own student systems.

LANE: --oh, uh, oh wow--

HESSELDENZ: And they, and they were not compatible.

LANE: --oh, wow--

HESSELDENZ: I mean there was, there was no, uh, uh--we had--I think they had, we counted nine different vendors--

LANE: --oh my gosh--

HESSELDENZ: --for all these, you know, there was some that were the same. But every implementation was different and--

LANE: So you hadn't really had an opportunity when you were at UK to get all--to even study all of that and get it coordinated or--

HESSELDENZ: Well, we, yeah, we started--

LANE: It's a huge project right?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. We--so that we started, uh, almost immediately. Say 00:14:00all right, we've gotta choose a system--

LANE: Really.


LANE: That hadn't been done when you came on board?

HESSELDENZ: It had not been done.

LANE: Now when did you come? They called you in March of '98 correct? Was it '98 or '99?

HESSELDENZ: Actually, I don't think I became like a real KCTCS employee at--as the, uh, Ron offered me a vice presidency.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: I think it was the only one in KCTCS for, for years. An assistant vice presidency, I'm sorry.

LANE: Assistant, okay.

HESSELDENZ: And so I, you know, I, I think it was sometime, sometime in like May or June. I can't, I don't remember the exact--I remember, uh, Jim Ramsey had an office in the Capitol Building. And I got--was called over there--and Ron, and they made the offer. And I didn't 00:15:00accept immediately, but it wasn't too long. And then I think I really became a, uh, KCTCS employee in, in, at, uh, in July of 1998.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: You know, in, in that position. I was nominally so, because, part of the--

LANE: Sure. So you were an assistant vice president?


LANE: Right? Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And then in charge of the implementation. Then we, we spent--after the initial, uh, I had agreed to help 'em way back in February and--

LANE: Sure. Sure.

HESSELDENZ: --so, we--that's when we started looking at the, uh, the various vendors that were out there. Now, uh, we chose PeopleSoft, and I have the exact date when we signed the contract--it was June the 24th, 1998.


LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: Uh, it was pretty intense time because we saw a lot of, uh, vendors, and we involved--

LANE: --I'm sure you did--

HESSELDENZ: --a lot of people in the community college system and, and a few from the technical college system.

LANE: What--did they, did the PeopleSoft package stand out, or was it pretty close? Were there others that you really liked or? How did that go?

HESSELDENZ: Uh, it, it's, at the time we thought it was probably the, uh, best, and I--in fact, I still think it's a very good system, and probably, uh, superior to anything else. It, it was the only one with the new technology.

LANE: Uh--and you knew that--

HESSELDENZ: It was client-server at the time, but, uh, you know, that, uh, the rest of them were, were, uh, really old style, uh, systems that were--and we wanted to go with the new one. The one that was 00:17:00developing in the path that, uh, and, uh, U of L just made that decision, uh, a little earlier.

LANE: Great.

HESSELDENZ: In fact six months earlier and they were starting the implementation at the time.

LANE: That's good.

HESSELDENZ: So they knew a lot about 'em and then, uh--

LANE: Would you, Jon, would you stop and for the uninformed--define PeopleSoft like the 101. What would it do for you? The components and that sort of thing--or weren't there two or three major packages?

HESSELDENZ: There were, uh, three major, um, pieces to it. There was the student system which is--was the, uh, far and away the most important, uh.

LANE: Which would? What would it do?

HESSELDENZ: Well it, that, that's, that's an interesting question--

LANE: Not an easy question I thought would be, it's not, huh?

HESSELDENZ: No. Because we wanted to do something that was, uh, really unheard of, which was to, to have one system for an entire, uh, for 00:18:00every one of the colleges.

LANE: Um-hm. Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: And, uh, that, that in itself was a, a, a big controversy, because none of the colleges wanted that--they had--

LANE: --they wanted their own--

HESSELDENZ: --they wanted their own. They wanted to keep their own so they, they were not on board and, uh--

LANE: Hmm. Interesting.

HESSELDENZ: And, uh, that was going to--shaping up to be a very big fight until, uh, uh, well Jim Ramsey was for it, but he was, uh, a, on, on his way out about that time.

LANE: Right.

HESSELDENZ: And, and it wasn't until Dr. McCall came on, uh, and he said, "Absolutely we want one record for every student in the system, and we want to have every student be able to, uh, take courses at any other college and have one, uh, financial record for them." And it's 00:19:00not a system unless you--if you have to coax, uh, at the time twenty- seven different colleges to give you, and you, you won't know if there's duplicates until later, you know, and it turned out that you know, there was a large number of people attending more than one college at any, at, at any time there and, you know, they didn't know it, you know. So and, you know, who gets to count the student and things like that--

LANE: --really--

HESSELDENZ: --it was all--

LANE: --so Dr. McCall said this is the way--

HESSELDENZ: --this is the way we're going to go.

LANE: All right.

HESSELDENZ: And what that's what, you know, the plans were, but until he came in and put his ----------(??) on it. He just said, "This is the way it's going to be." So then it was smooth sailing after that--but it would have been a huge fight.

LANE: Oh, you're right. Coaxing and--

HESSELDENZ: They said, "Okay, it's all right if we have one system, but we want to implement it at each of the colleges." You know, and that just doesn't work.

LANE: Oh, boy, oh, boy.

HESSELDENZ: And in fact, this, as far as I know, we are the only one 00:20:00that has done it this way, and we--for years and years we've been getting, uh, how in the heck did you do that. You know, 'cause we tried to do it--well it was a combination of circumstances. We were a brand new organization, we had the top, uh, level support and, and so that's, uh, and, and it was very unusual--

LANE: You just willed it to be done. (laughs) And you had chosen a good product--

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. Yeah. It was brand new. I mean it was just coming out then, so, uh, but it was the new technology, and even though it was, uh, some of the other, uh, systems that we looked at were more, were more, uh, feature-rich. You know, they, because they were old and they'd been around for a long--

LANE: --developed more features, yeah--

HESSELDENZ: And it just kept adding these, you know, and layering them on without any, uh, but this was, uh, from scratch. You know, they, and it turned, I think, a very fine system. And, and, uh--the 00:21:00whole, you know, Big Ten is using it and most--it's still the most, predominant system in large, uh, systems in universities. But there was, uh, a, it was also had, uh, to get back to your original question. It had two other components.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And that was the financial system.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And the, the HR, the, uh, human resources piece. That we needed, you know, that human resources which includes--

LANE: --oh, sure--

HESSELDENZ: --payroll which is, uh--

LANE: --for every faculty, staff, and System office, the whole nine yards, and students I guess, in some cases, who are employees? I don't know.

HESSELDENZ: That's correct. Yeah.

LANE: Okay. So the three components.

HESSELDENZ: And shortly after we started, uh, the, well, let me step back and say that we, we, uh, had at the time when we started, this, 00:22:00uh, the IT department had exactly one employee--that was me.

LANE: Okay, good. I'm glad you brought that up.


LANE: I was going to ask you about the team.

HESSELDENZ: The team right--so--

LANE: So Ron--had Ron been, been kind of working a little bit from U of L with his team or?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. And he was, he was still, uh, very much involved with it. And I, uh, I said, "Uh, there is one person I'd like to, uh, if I can get him I would like, uh, to get, uh, Rick Chlopan from UK," who was, uh, the director of the computing center at that time.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And as it turned out Rick was fed up with UK and.

LANE: So he was ready for the move huh?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. He said--I, I said, "Would you like to come, to KCTCS, um, as an assistant vice president and, and would be, you know, equal persons," and he said, "Yes." (both laugh). Just, just like 00:23:00that. And so, you know, we talked to Ron, to Jim Ramsey, and so he, he was on as of January or July 1st, 1998.

LANE: I didn't realize he was one of the very earliest--great.

HESSELDENZ: He, he was the second and then, uh, um, then we had to choose an implementation partner, because with, with no staff whatsoever, you know, they--that, you, you, you, so, um, we put out an RFP for that, for an implementation. And it ended up, uh, two or three months later choosing, uh, computer, uh, Cambridge Associates-- Cambridge Technology, uh, Associates.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And, uh, started working with them for an implementation, and in the meantime we actually started on, uh, working on that in, uh, 00:24:00December of 1998.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And that's when, uh, we spent about a month scoping out the whole, whole thing, and then in, uh, January of 1999 started the implementation. By that time we'd, uh, identified, uh, three persons from the community college system and one from the technical college system that, uh, we, we hired as part of the, uh, programming and, uh, uh, developers staff. And, uh, they were the, uh, three to six-- (laughs)--and, uh, at--needed a DBA and we needed somebody involved with networking, and so by the time we got stated in, in, uh, January of 00:25:001999 we had a staff of about, I think ten people--

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: --at the time.

LANE: And who were some of the first?

HESSELDENZ: Some of the first, um--well there was, um, well there, uh, one more, uh, uh, Jim Phillips probably was, was the first, because he was with the community college system, and he was their technical person for the System office.

LANE: Oh, okay.

HESSELDENZ: So Jim was what I, I guess was probably even before, uh, Rick--

LANE: Was he?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. But he, he was just because he was, uh--

LANE: Sure. In that system anyway--yeah--

HESSELDENZ: --there yeah. And, uh, also his assistant at the time, Charlene Austin, who came along, so we had, had, uh, those, uh, but our new hires were, uh, and all, all but one is still with us. Well not, not quite true, but they, they were Chun Cummings in Elizabethtown--


LANE: Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: --Paul Adams from, uh, Southeast.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: Bill Scates from, uh--

LANE: Phil--is it Phil Scates or Bill?


LANE: Bill.

HESSELDENZ: Bill Scates. He was, uh, from, um, uh, the technical college in Bowling Green.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And, uh, Tim Worley, W-o-r-l-e-y. I don't have the first name right, but I'll get it for you--

LANE: It's all right.

HESSELDENZ: --because, he didn't stay long. He stayed maybe just for a year.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: So we lost track--but he was at Somerset.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: All very good people and, uh, we needed the core of the people that knew--

LANE: --yes--

HESSELDENZ: --the, the systems. So they were the--and then we needed, uh, a DBA staff which is, uh, database administrators. Uh, and, uh, 00:27:00there was two of them, uh, they're both still with us. Uh, uh, Debbie Adams from UK.

LANE: Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: And Tom Burgess who we hired from, uh, away from, uh, a, uh, commercial place. It was Snap-on Tools as it turned out. And, uh, let's see then, then we, uh, got--but they were, that was the core. Oh, one more--Phil Duvall. Who was our, the head of our net-, he worked for U of L before, uh, and Ron suggested we hire him as our, our 00:28:00network guy.

LANE: Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: And there, there was one more--yeah, Charles Bynaker, who was at UK, and he was also a, a network, uh, person. And worked with, uh, helping, uh, with me, helping set up the, the community colleges for, uh, Internet access. So that was it and then we, we got more as, as we--

LANE: --sure--

HESSELDENZ: --as we came along. Uh, we needed, as it turned out we needed, uh, specialists in, uh, financials and that--

LANE: --um-hm--

HESSELDENZ: --and, and we hired--

LANE: Each of the three areas.


LANE: How big is that team today Jon?

HESSELDENZ: It, it, it's about thirty-five people is all, and, uh, we take some great pride in keeping it small like that, because, uh, comparable departments at UK and U of L are, uh, two hundred fifty and 00:29:00three hundred people.

LANE: Wow. Wow. Amazing.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah it, it was but, uh, you can imagine we had to have a really good people in order to do this and--

LANE: Yes, that's pretty evident.

HESSELDENZ: So at, at the time, I think the, the cheapest any of these came was about sixty thousand dollars, and we offered over a hundred thousand dollars for the DBA staff.

LANE: Yeah.

HESSELDENZ: So, you know--

LANE: --naturally they did--

HESSELDENZ: --you have to have, uh, good people--we, we can--and there was, uh, and very little HR oversight. They hadn't--(laughs)--

LANE: --right--

HESSELDENZ: --so we could just--here, get these people, put them on the, and, and--so that became an issue later on because, you know, all, when, when KCTCS started--I mean these were without a doubt the highest 00:30:00paid people in the whole, whole system.

LANE: Right, right.

HESSELDENZ: And there was some jealousy about it.

LANE: I'm sure. I'm sure. That, that--I found that when I worked in state government there, you know, the tech people were paid basically what the market would--

HESSELDENZ: --yeah--

LANE: --command and, and compared to state government salaries, you know, they were much higher.

HESSELDENZ: So we had to have people who just could hit the road running--

LANE: Oh, yeah. I can understand that. You, because you didn't have long--what was your looming deadline Jon?

HESSELDENZ: Well we had to have, uh, the, the financial and HR up by July 1 of 1999. That was six months.

LANE: Yeah.

HESSELDENZ: And we did it.

LANE: Wow. (laughs)

HESSELDENZ: With, with the help of, uh, Cambridge, uh, Technology--

LANE: --technologies, yeah--

HESSELDENZ: --Associates and, and--but they--and they were very good and helpful on, on the financial and HR systems. But, uh, essentially the 00:31:00student system which is the most complicated--

LANE: --complex--

HESSELDENZ: --is, was pretty much us.

LANE: Really?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. They, they had some consultants, but they had--nobody had any real experience with, uh, PeopleSoft and everybody was learning as they went so.

LANE: Now what was the deadline for that Jon?

HESSELDENZ: That, that was, uh, it, we finally, uh, it took seventeen months to get the student system fully up. We got it up in little pieces, you know, admissions--

LANE: --sure--

HESSELDENZ: --and like that. It was fully up in, uh, July 1, uh, I'm sorry--June, uh, uh, June 1st, 2000.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: Seventeen months.

LANE: Wow. Now--

HESSELDENZ: --as far as we, I know, I just want to crow a little bit--

LANE: Well you should--I think you need to.

HESSELDENZ: We had, at, in--it is the fastest, and, uh, maybe one of the best in the implementations ever done.


LANE: Really?

HESSELDENZ: Because it was--in that short of time we got three major systems up and running flawlessly. I mean they, I mean they--students- -I mean colleges won't say it was flawlessly, 'cause they--

LANE: Right. (laughs)

HESSELDENZ: --you know, they hated it. Um--

LANE: Um-hm. Yeah, you weren't--

HESSELDENZ: And they still--there's still a lot of push-back, but we couldn't have done it with any, you know, we had to just shove it through.

LANE: Just do it.

HESSELDENZ: Just do it.

LANE: Kind of like KERA--just get it done.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. We had, uh, people from all the colleges at--on, uh, committees and advising and things like that, but.

LANE: Well that's what I wanted to ask you about--describe your team. Uh, you had your core team here at the System office.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, the technical team--yeah.

LANE: And did you, did you put together a team from the other entities-- did they meet here regularly? How did that work?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. We, we had, uh, we put together teams of, uh, for the financial and, the, uh, you know, in the meantime, we were, uh, they were hiring people to, you know, accountants and, and, and people like 00:33:00that and payroll manager. And, you know, so they, they were all coming from, uh, everywhere.

LANE: Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: Some from state governments. Some from, uh, we hired away several people from UK and from, uh, other--

LANE: Where were you by the way? Where were your offices? Frankfort or?

HESSELDENZ: Oh. Yeah, it was in Frankfort--yeah.

LANE: Frankfort--okay.

HESSELDENZ: There is, uh--

LANE: So were you ever at Spindletop?

HESSELDENZ: Uh, actually no. I was, uh, we were always, uh, we were in two or three different locations before, and, and it was not until we came here that we got the whole group together.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: We were at, uh, at Frankfort for about, uh, probably two and a half, three years.

LANE: Um-hm. Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And then we moved to, uh, Lexington on, uh--(pause)--I'm 00:34:00having such trouble with, uh--(laughs)--names, uh--

LANE: That's not a big deal.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, but anyhow it was about five miles from, uh, uh, the System office--

LANE: Is that right?

HESSELDENZ: --at the time.

LANE: So you were in Lexington, part of you--were all of you?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, our whole group moved--

LANE: --okay--

HESSELDENZ: --moved together. Yeah.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: Newtown Circle--

LANE: --okay--

HESSELDENZ: --that's where it was.

LANE: Great. Well, you know, I think you should crow. I, I pulled out some quotes that I'm, I'm going to read for the record, because evidently this, this certainly is ahead of its, was ahead of its time. Um, and who said that this, this is a certainly a model program. I know Richard Bean who was, who is now the board of regents' chair, uh, 00:35:00commented in one of his, um, interviews that he, he said that he thinks that PeopleSoft worked so well because it didn't allow proprietary programs. Let's see if you agree with this. "We dealt with PeopleSoft so many times, you bastardize a program so much that when an update comes at you, you can't install it. This is the system we're using--we said learn to use it. That's the best thing we ever did. If you must recreate, do so within the system."

HESSELDENZ: That's true. We put it in plain vanilla just exactly as it came out of the box, and that caused a lot of heartbreak within-- because everybody wanted their little bells and whistles.

LANE: Sure.

HESSELDENZ: And same thing that--

LANE: --sure--

HESSELDENZ: --uh, you know, essentially, they said, uh, we want exactly what we had before--(laughs)--

LANE: In essence--so don't mess with us.


LANE: Well, it seems you, you did a really good job of educating your board for Richard to, to know that much about it. Now during those early days Jon, um, did you meet right away with Dr. McCall, you were 00:36:00a part of his cabinet?



HESSELDENZ: Not immediately.

LANE: No, not immediately, okay. That was 2000?

HESSELDENZ: No. Ron Moore was still there.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: Uh, and, uh, but he started fading out just, you know, probably after, uh, uh, July of 1999, you know. And, uh, at some point I started attending the cabinet meetings. Not as a regular member just, you know, as sort of interim kind of person to.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And probably around in the, uh, little after July 1, '99, 1999--

LANE: Um-hm. Dr. McCall had been here about six months.

HESSELDENZ: Six months, yeah. And he was, uh, you know--he started out with a much larger, uh, cabinet than, than he ended up with and, uh, when, finally I--we had--I didn't want the, the job. I didn't want--I 00:37:00was perfectly happy being--

LANE: Indulging your passion if you will and dealing with the details right?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. So, uh, right exactly and, and getting the thing up and running--

LANE: --right--

HESSELDENZ: --oh, another really big thing that was happening at that time was, uh, the network that we needed to, uh--

LANE: --yes, definitely--

HESSELDENZ: --get, get this and it was so--the community colleges were in fairly good shape, uh, because we had been working on getting, uh, those on. But they didn't have a great deal of capacity even then, and, uh, we knew with this kind of system we needed big, big pipes to--

LANE: --yeah, you did, you did--

HESSELDENZ: --Ron Moore was, uh, probably--that was the best thing that he did. You know, that, he was--he started that and, uh, he cobbled together their, uh, it wasn't perfect, but he worked with CPE and, uh, and to their, um, uh, great, uh, uh--well my admiration for them in 00:38:00that. They really stepped up, and they, uh, actually ended up funding the whole thing.

LANE: Wow.

HESSELDENZ: The whole network.

LANE: Which was no small task, was it?

HESSELDENZ: And they're still doing it.

LANE: Is that right?


LANE: Wow.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, that's, that's, that's a real service.

LANE: You know, that's the first time I've heard that.


LANE: Huh. Fascinating. So Jon that would involve, for those again, who might be reading this record years from now. Um, the network is actually as you say the pipes. Now we're, we're wireless to a degree, but you still have to have your major network, correct?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, you gotta have, you gotta get the Internet into the, the places and that's--they are not doing that wireless yet.

LANE: No, no, no.

HESSELDENZ: Big pipes are still, you know, well it's--

LANE: So, that infrastructure is major.

HESSELDENZ: --fiber, probably, yeah, fiber optics for the most part.

LANE: Okay. Wow.

HESSELDENZ: But anyhow that was, uh, and there's an interesting little 00:39:00history there, too. We needed a network. What we developed, what we and, uh, and, uh, Ron Moore, and I'll give him, you know, uh, pretty much full credit for, uh, putting that together. Uh, that became what, what is now the statewide network for everything.

LANE: Really?


LANE: Really?

HESSELDENZ: It--at some point it was called a, a KPEN which was, uh, Kentucky Post-, uh, Postsecondary Education Network--KPEN. It stayed that for a while, it's got a new name now. They've changed it a couple of times. But really it is the statewide, uh, network. And it's a good one.

LANE: For all post-secondary education institutions?

HESSELDENZ: Uh, post-secondary, uh, secondary and, uh, it's, it's, uh, KET, uh, uh, most of state government.


LANE: Really. Oh wow, that is major.

HESSELDENZ: County offices--it's, it's, it's, it is the Kentucky network, I think.

LANE: It is, isn't it?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. So that's--that evolved into something very, very nice.

LANE: Major.


LANE: Right--wow.

HESSELDENZ: Because we had to be in just about--we had, uh, some sixty locations, we had to be everywhere in the state. And we wanted it to be, uh, well they, they call it like postal rates, you know. No matter, uh, it's a whole lot more costly to put something in a little place in Eastern Kentucky than it is in, in Lexington or Louisville.

LANE: Right.

HESSELDENZ: So we wanted it and so we put together a, a, an idea--look we want it to cost no more to--for, at, at, you know, Hopkinsville than it does at, at Louisville. Even though--

LANE: Okay.


HESSELDENZ: --and so, the, uh, they were, they were very cooperative the, the big carriers at the time and uh--

LANE: Cool. That, that whole philosophy seems to permeate whatever has happened. No one should suffer because this new system has been implemented. Your paycheck or your, uh, your, you know, your title or anything of the sort. Everybody should, should, um, nobody should suffer, like you say--the small entity shouldn't have to pay more because they're farther away.

HESSELDENZ: Right. Yeah.

LANE: That sort of thing. So it seems to carry out. And Dr. McCall's emphasis that this be a seamless--one system unit.

HESSELDENZ: It's gonna--he said, "We will be a system." You know--

LANE: We will be. (laughs)

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. And, and that's exactly what happened. Now, it, at, people at the colleges were used to having, uh, the financial and HR systems being run from outside, so there was no big, uh, thing about 00:42:00that, but when the student systems had to be all part of the same thing--and oh there, yeah, so there's some stories there that, you know, registrars that just could not, you know, that had actually quit because they could not, you know, be a part of this, you know, and--

LANE: Wow.

HESSELDENZ: --they're--each of those, uh, little colleges, you know, were just islands and they would not accept transfer from other colleges in the system and things--

LANE: Seems phenomenal now, doesn't it?

HESSELDENZ: And that's what the president said, "You will accept, you know, this is, this is a system." Every, uh, you're not going to look through the transcripts of people and check--toss out courses that were tossed--taken at Ashland because you're at Henderson. You know--

LANE: That was happening--wasn't it?

HESSELDENZ: It was happening. They were, they were, you know, and it was, and Dr. McCall said, "You know, we're--you're going to honor 00:43:00every course taken at any of these colleges including the,"--oh and the technical colleges. They would not, oh my goodness.

LANE: They were so different weren't they?

HESSELDENZ: That was--yeah, uh, and no, they didn't even have credit hours. I mean that was--

LANE: --no--no--

HESSELDENZ: --it was just--

LANE: --two worlds actually.

HESSELDENZ: Oh yeah--that was, that was something, but, uh, they were brought along. But it was a big cultural thing for everybody.

LANE: It was, wasn't it?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. But then we got, uh, as part of the big network we got, we got, uh, all sorts of money from the state to be able to, uh, get the infrastructure in at every one of the technical colleges. And that, that worked, uh, real well, too. Oh, that reminds me. There is one other person that I--Derrel Cone. That, uh, was part of--

LANE: Early, early?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah--early he was the, the--one of the very few technical persons from--network, uh, persons from the technical college and he 00:44:00was, uh, he worked for state government really. But--and he came along and we still have him, too. So--

LANE: Great. Great. Well now let's go back--you were saying you really didn't want to be vice president. Is that right?

HESSELDENZ: That's correct.

LANE: Is that what you meant? They offered you that position as part of the president's cabinet, and you were assistant vice president at that time.

HESSELDENZ: I was an assistant vice president, me--along with, uh, Rick Chlopan, we were just pretty much, um, working, you know, just attached at the hip as people say.

LANE: Right, right.

HESSELDENZ: And, uh, so I, I got invited to the, uh, Rick was much more technical than I was--and he, but I, I was the project director and--

LANE: Right. Right. Right.

HESSELDENZ: --uh, you know, kept, kept everything moving--

LANE: Going, yeah.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. So, uh, I was the one, that when they asked, you 00:45:00know, for somebody to--from technology to sit in on the cabinet meetings when Ron Moore wasn't there--

LANE: Right or the board or whatever?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. He's, uh, so anyhow I started going--I went to one or two under Jim Ramsey, and then, uh, at--then there was somebody else doing that, uh, Ann Cline I think, you know.

LANE: Oh yeah, yeah. I know her name.

HESSELDENZ: She was being--she was, she came to work for, um, IT for a little while, uh, and she--very good actually. I always liked Ann. But she was, uh, one of the, the, the two kind of interim, uh, chief academic officers for the, uh, so she started rep-, she knew everybody on the cabinet. She started representing us there.

LANE: Did she?


HESSELDENZ: For a little while. And then she went on to, you know, other things, and so I started going just, you know, and, and, uh, we actually had a search for, uh, uh, a vice president for IT. Because I remember Ann was, was part of that, that process. Uh, never found anybody that we, we liked.

LANE: Yeah. And you had a, you had a working team pulled together?


LANE: Somebody new comes in you have to--it's good that you have knowledge to be able to judge whether that person would fit the team or not.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. Then somebody asked me would, would you, you know, be 00:47:00a candidate and I--no, no, I don't, then finally they sort of talked me into it. And, uh, so it just sort of happened, you know.

LANE: Yeah.

HESSELDENZ: Not part of any formal process--I became an interim, uh, vice president.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And then probably a year or so later, a full vice president.

LANE: That was about 2000 maybe? You think?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, around 2000 somewhere in there. I, I don't have the exact--I probably--

LANE: I have you down as June of 2000, but that's actually when you became vice president. You were here much longer than that. So I'm glad to get that straightened out.

HESSELDENZ: From the very beginning really.

LANE: Yeah, you were. And then, um, so you started going to those cabinet meetings as well?


LANE: And what was your impression of the team? How would you characterize that cabinet at the time?

HESSELDENZ: Probably some of the most capable people I've ever met 00:48:00in my life. It was a really, really good--I mean I thought, um, Dr. McCall was, uh, spectacularly good, you know. And, uh, I--Dr. Bird is probably one of the smartest people I've ever met in my life, uh, probably him and Rick Chlopan whose--

LANE: I've had one meeting with Rick--I could tell.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. He's super bright. And, uh, there--let's see--Tim was not on the, uh, at that time, uh, there, the financial person was, uh, oh, what was her name?

LANE: Was that Sandy Gubser?

HESSELDENZ: Sandy Gubser, yeah at the time--

LANE: She was here for a while. Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: And I think it was before that time at--when Ron Moore was 00:49:00going to all the board meetings which there were an awful lot of at the time. And whenever he couldn't go, I'd go and do the IT report.

LANE: Right.

HESSELDENZ: That was part, part of it, too. I, you know, I started knowing the board members and like that, and, um--it just sort of evolved and, without any, uh, formal process.

LANE: Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: Even though there was a search, you know, and, uh--

LANE: And that may have helped convince you when, when you realized who might come in and, uh--

HESSELDENZ: --right--

LANE: --and that could have been a problem, actually. If it weren't, if it wasn't the right person.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, and we had a vision for the place, you know, to, to keep it, uh, small and agile and, uh, outsource a lot of things which we've, we've done--

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: --a great deal of--that's what, that's how you can keep a 00:50:00small, small staff and--

LANE: That's interesting, but that really gives a good perspective Jon, when you say other units of this size might have a staff of two hundred, two hundred fifty?


LANE: And yours is thirty-five. But the vision was to keep it small and agile, and outsource the projects so that you didn't have full-time employees.

HESSELDENZ: And we didn't want a glass box, you know, one of those rooms, computer rooms. We didn't want to have to take care of hardware and things like that. That's, that's routine stuff, you know, so. Um, what we, uh, we wanted to, to be able to have a staff that could, uh, change things and implement policy and, and do things. The important things, but not, uh, spend a lot of our time running, you know, computers and things like that. So we, we, uh, we don't own a computer now. We--

LANE: Things leased?

HESSELDENZ: What--no, we don't lease, I mean, we don't even--what we 00:51:00did was contract with, uh, um, a, uh, a group, uh, Crestone, they're called in Atlanta. All our computers are there, our backups are in, uh, Pittsburg--

LANE: --um-hm--

HESSELDENZ: --you know, it, uh, so--we had 'em, computers up till then- -in fact it came when one of the big, first big decisions was, you know, we need bigger--as the system started growing we need bigger computers and we were looking at a million dollars to, for, and so, uh, we went to the president and said, "We'd like to, to outsource the running, you know, of our system." We don't, you know--and he said, "That's a brilliant idea." And we went ahead and did it--we hired, uh, Crestone and we were paying--it's still absurdly less than anybody else is paying for these services. And we, in fact at Crestone, which just had 00:52:00a couple small customers when we went with them, is now the biggest in the nation.

LANE: Is that right?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. For--they're taking on major universities all the time, doing exactly the same thing that we did.

LANE: Which you did here. Wow, and you helped them build that.


LANE: Wow.

HESSELDENZ: No--and they're extremely grateful.

LANE: I'm sure. (laughs). So, so when you--your team then was based in Lexington at the time, and you would call your committee groups in--similar to what, what Dr. McCall has with this--


LANE: --spider web graphic of team players and grant teams and--

HESSELDENZ: --exactly--

LANE: --it's kind of an amazing model actually.

HESSELDENZ: Right well we had, uh, a group of, uh, uh, registrars and a group of, you know, um, oh, and just about every, you know, the physical plant people, you know, for it, because we--that was part of it too.

LANE: Right.

HESSELDENZ: --uh, financial people, HR people, all advising and helping 00:53:00to, you know, design how, how we were actually going to implement the system.

LANE: And then taking the word back to their respective units, too.


LANE: Connecting everybody.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, they, they got pretty, uh--the ones that were actually in contact with us and the system, um, became pretty much advocates. But it didn't help a whole lot because--

LANE: (laughs) It was just a, a huge deal really.

HESSELDENZ: The people that we didn't--and probably if I had it to do all over again, uh, we didn't involve the very much the, the IT people at the colleges. And that--the reason was that and they were all, uh--but you really just can't have part-time help in, in that. You had to have some people--because you're making dozens of decisions every day about it. And, and but I think we probably would have, uh, taken 00:54:00a couple key ones, you know. And, and maybe had a little, uh, more cooperation from the colleges. But that, that--

LANE: --yeah, that's water over the dam--(laughs)--

HESSELDENZ: --water over the dam and we had to get it going and we saw them mostly as obstructionists, people that didn't, wanted to do it in a different way--

LANE: Who were operating their individual systems?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, right.

LANE: Yeah.

HESSELDENZ: And were still lobbying to have it, uh, and, and, you know, everything, their advice was all pointed towards, uh--

LANE: Well. I assume from what you said that you never had any doubt about whether or not this new system from '97 would work. Were you pretty much convinced that it was just gonna, gonna go?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, I, I--it--to me it was just a technical problem, and technical problems have technical answers. And the, the system was des-, uh, designed in such a way--PeopleSoft to be able to do that, so I didn't think--the problems were all people problems--

LANE: Gotcha.


HESSELDENZ: --about doing it.

LANE: How about the big KCTCS itself? Did you ever have any doubts that, that that whole new world would work?

HESSELDENZ: Not since, not since, uh, Dr. McCall came on. He was just dynamo. (laughs) I, I really admire the man.

LANE: Yeah, yeah. Yeah that's pretty universal, it really is. Um, okay Jon, we've got to--

HESSELDENZ: And he was so supportive--

LANE: --excuse me--

HESSELDENZ: --although there's this little story I'm gonna tell--

LANE: --tell me stories I love stories--I'm fine as long as you have time, I have time.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, I, and you might not want, uh, to put this in--because it's really a, uh,--

LANE: If you want me to, anytime you want me to--

HESSELDENZ: --the first time--

[Pause in recording.]

LANE: --got to be good friends and, and--

HESSELDENZ: --yeah--

LANE: --and, uh, certainly have a lot of respect for him.

HESSELDENZ: And he invited to--yeah--so anyhow that was, that was the story.

LANE: Okay. Um, then let's talk about the Versailles connection. How much did you have to do--I'd say quite a bit with getting this place up and running and wired and?

HESSELDENZ: That was an interesting, uh, story, too. We, we--yeah we 00:56:00had to have the place, uh, wired and, uh, we'd, uh, been instrumental in, in helping, uh, Cisco Corporation. Um--

LANE: --um-hm--a very, very early partner?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. They were a very early partner. Uh, we--in fact we pretty much--since all the colleges, uh, uh, had Cisco equipment, uh, and we insisted on, on being, um, consistent in all the places.

LANE: Right. Right.

HESSELDENZ: You have to be.

LANE: Sure you do--of course you do.

HESSELDENZ: So, um--but the, the, the state--the, the company that got the state contract didn't use Cisco and we just had big, you know, drag out about--

LANE: --sure--

HESSELDENZ: --about that. And we, and we made them--pretty much made them use Cisco equipment routing, and other equipment though out their- 00:57:00-the network. And the state government was, at the time, was still involved in it and they did, did not use, uh, uh, Cisco equipment. And they weren't real happy either, but we, we prevailed and, uh, Cisco was very grateful. And their, uh, chairman of the board, uh, John Morgridge--

LANE: --um-hm--

HESSELDENZ: --uh, was, was, you know, he was very hap-, and he made, uh, a personal gift of a hundred thousand dollars worth of, uh, Cisco equipment and, and expertise to--for this building to, to be wired.

LANE: Wow.

HESSELDENZ: So we decided to do it, uh, completely wireless.

LANE: Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: You know, it's wired, but--

LANE: --sure--

HESSELDENZ: --have wireless capability throughout. And so that's, that's because of Cisco.

LANE: I'm, I'm sure that was, that was quite an exciting project for you though, at that time. Uh, thinking about everybody being able to be under one roof, and you had the opportunity to help design the systems 00:58:00like you wanted them.


LANE: Um, the working, your working arrangement seems to be efficient. What did you think about the cubicles? Or was that an issue for IT people?

HESSELDENZ: It was not an issue, for we decided that everybody--there would be no priority, uh, uh, of sizes or anything like that. That, that everybody, with the exception of the vice president who got a private office, everybody else had a cubicle all the same size.

LANE: Yeah.

HESSELDENZ: And, and, uh, we, we insisted on that and--

LANE: --worked fine--

HESSELDENZ: --and it worked fine. And so, you know--

LANE: And when you say we, was that a cabinet decision, or?

HESSELDENZ: It was--that was an internal system, uh, Rick and I kind of decided that that was the best way to go.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: And instead of having a bigger one for, uh, you know, the director and things like that--

LANE: Yeah--sure, sure, sure. Okay.

HESSELDENZ: Because when, when we started it--(laughs)--everybody was 00:59:00thrown together when we, uh, started it in Frankfort.

LANE: Um-hm.

HESSELDENZ: And there was no, uh, um--it was all open plan. We got used to it.

LANE: It worked fine.

HESSELDENZ: So it worked fine. So--

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, and--

LANE: That's the, the whole System office is designed like that now.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. Another really big thing that we, we did is that, we decided to, uh--that communications was a--extreme importance and, uh, we wanted one telephone system for the whole--

LANE: --yes--

HESSELDENZ: --system and, and we got it. And we also that was, uh-- Cincinnati Bell was the, the company that, that did it and is doing it now. And, uh, so we were--I think the first very large system to have, uh, a single telephone system where, you know, everybody--and it saved 01:00:00money because, uh, you know, with each of the colleges having their own system they all had, uh, their own, uh, long distance vendors--

LANE: --exactly--

HESSELDENZ: --and things like that.

LANE: Exactly.

HESSELDENZ: And since about 50 percent of the calls were within the system--

LANE: --within the system--

HESSELDENZ: And they're almost all long distance calls, we cut out that entirely.

LANE: You sure did--amazing. Now I, I noticed there's, uh--

HESSELDENZ: And they didn't like that either.

LANE: They didn't--(laughs)--okay. Well now, I'm sure, I'm sure there were some local connections for some of them.

HESSELDENZ: Sure. There certainly were. Yeah, right.

LANE: And that sort of thing and that's--now is that another time when Dr. McCall had to say we will do this?


LANE: You may have said that on behalf of the whole group.

HESSELDENZ: We're, you know, uh, we did it incrementally, you know, a college at a time.

LANE: Did you?

HESSELDENZ: But--and it took, uh, probably over two and a half years to 01:01:00get everybody on, but, uh, and I think they'll tell you know that it, it was a good thing.

LANE: Yeah. Well everybody--as you save money there you can use it someplace else.

HESSELDENZ: And there's turnover, and, and in fact, that, you know, that a lot of the registrars, when, when they started are no longer here. And the new people come on and it's a perfectly fine system.

LANE: It's a system, a system they've all worked with.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, that's right. And now if we ever were to change you would see such a--

LANE: Yeah.

HESSELDENZ: It always happens.

LANE: I think you would. I think you would.

HESSELDENZ: People the--the system we have now is the best thing, you know, since, uh, sliced bread and, you know, it's, you know, fear of the unknown and things like that.

LANE: (laughs) Well that's true--change.

HESSELDENZ: I always believed you gotta, you have to move, if you're gonna, uh, you have to move with the technology. Whatever it, it, uh, it has out there generally you need to be right on the, uh, educational institutions should be the first.


LANE: --um-hm, um-hm--

HESSELDENZ: And have modern systems, you know, so that when people graduate and get out of there they're already, uh--

LANE: They are accustomed to that.

HESSELDENZ: They are already accustomed to having all the things so.

LANE: Well, that seems to be the philosophy here. Um, just if it's new and it's, and it's pr-, it's proven. I don't want to say that just anything that's new we'll go for, but, you know, we, we like to be ahead of the pack.

HESSELDENZ: Pretty much--(laughs)--yeah.

LANE: Well, no really, and I know you study it.


LANE: And know if it's a practical thing or--you kind of have to look ahead with technology don't you? And say, what's coming down the pike?

HESSELDENZ: And I think we've been very selective about our partners, who they are going to be--I mean Cisco and Cincinnati Bell and, uh, CedarCrestone, they're the, uh, and, um, you know--there's others. Uh, Tandberg for, uh, video, and, and--oh and, uh, we got a real nice 01:03:00working relationship with, uh, with, uh, Center for Rural Development.

LANE: --rural development--I read about that as well, Jon.

HESSELDENZ: And, uh, we--

LANE: What do you do with them?

HESSELDENZ: Uh, they actually, uh, uh, provide our, our video network for the, you know, all the, the ability to, uh, have classes--

LANE: --all over--

HESSELDENZ: --yeah. All over and, uh, oh, I don't--I've lost track since I'm out of it, but how many video, uh, facilities we have in the colleges now is--it's up in the hundreds.

LANE: That's great.

HESSELDENZ: So, and, and, uh, the administrative offices use it probably as much as the--

LANE: I'd say so.

HESSELDENZ: --so, since we put that in there's been an awful lot more, uh, less travel in, in the system. And people just, you know, dial up--it's so easy to do.

LANE: Systems and your video systems--yeah. Yeah, that's, that's amazing. But that's housed or provided--that network is provided by 01:04:00the Center for Rural Development?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. All our, all our routing and scheduling is done out of, uh, Somerset.

LANE: Wow--and they--I have visited there during the past few months, and they mentioned that as, with a, with a sense of pride that they are affiliated with you.

HESSELDENZ: Oh, and not only that--

LANE: And that you helped to support them.

HESSELDENZ: --yeah--not only that, but the UK and U of L, that had their own, uh, little video networks, are now part of that, too.

LANE: Is that right?


LANE: --as well as UK and U of L? Fascinating.

HESSELDENZ: And, and Western--and I'd think there's a couple hold-outs still, but, uh--

LANE: Well, so that's, that's really a little more consolidation or centralization, if you will.

HESSELDENZ: So, I--we were the first big, uh, uh, telephone system. And now we're the first really big, and statewide, uh--

LANE: --video-conferencing--

HESSELDENZ: --video-conferencing, so.

LANE: Fascinating. Lots of firsts--

HESSELDENZ: We, we have, yeah, we have--

LANE: --lots of first Jon.

HESSELDENZ: They, you know, they always point at, uh, UK and U of L but 01:05:00we're, we're really way ahead of them.

LANE: And you should know--you've been involved there.

HESSELDENZ: And they will acknowledge that too. You know, that, but--

LANE: Wow. Well I know that, uh, that everyone here was sorry to see you retire. They, they certainly felt you probably deserve to do whatever you wanted, but I know in the board's resolution honoring you in June of 2006 they talked about your guidance and, um, your team building skills. Which I thought was very nice.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah we got--

LANE: --and you've expressed your, your mission and your vision for the team and to kind of keep it small and agile, which I think, I think is a fascinating, uh, philosophy. And it seems to have worked very well here.

HESSELDENZ: It, it, uh--yeah. We have more, better stuff for, uh, so much less than, than any other institutions we know of, you know, that, 01:06:00uh, but, uh, there are a lot of big, uh, systems have now, have, uh, University of Arizona just came on, you know, and, and like, they have decided to do it the way we're, we're doing it.

LANE: The way you're doing it. And, and you've helped some of those companies who helped you in the beginning and have grown exponentially.

HESSELDENZ: And we, we never sort of blew our own horn so a lot of this is, you know, we didn't, you know, get it written up and--but the word of mouth goes around, you know, and it always they say, uh, they say, you know, "How in the world did you do this?" And, and nobody's been able to replicate it. It was because of that, uh, you know, combination of circumstances of having to get stuff up, you know, and, uh--

LANE: Because UK early on said as of July 1 we no longer support your 01:07:00systems, right?


LANE: Right--so have you spoken around the country on this or done papers, have your people?

HESSELDENZ: No. Actually I've spoken a couple of times and, you know, mostly at the behest of the people that, um, uh, we worked with like Cincinnati Bell, uh--

LANE: --your vendors, sure, sure--

HESSELDENZ: --Crestone and things like that--and did a couple of, uh, videos about them. But, uh, no.

LANE: Did you ever have any team members--how do you handle that? When you have team members who don't quite fit with the team? Keeping it small and agile is one thing, but that also means that if you've got a, somebody whose philosophy doesn't mesh, you also have a bigger problem than you would with maybe two hundred and fifty staff. How would--how did you handle that or has that happened?

HESSELDENZ: It really hasn't happened. We--everybody pretty much bought into the--


LANE: Well, and you knew so many of them.

HESSELDENZ: We--they were handpicked.

LANE: Yeah, that's right. That's right.

HESSELDENZ: That was--

LANE: Fascinating.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah we were able to put, uh, an organization without any, uh, legacy employees and, and there were a few like Jim and, uh, uh, Derrel and, oh, Steve Davis. I forgot about him. Steve Davis is another one of the--he was, uh--I forgot about him. He was, he was pretty key in the--

LANE: Okay. When did Debbie and Dana come on board? Was that a little later?

HESSELDENZ: They had, uh, they were, uh, became a part of it, but they were never--they were always at the System office. And they were, uh, support for the System office--it was not quite the same thing.

LANE: Gotcha.

HESSELDENZ: And then when we sort of incorporated as, as a department, 01:09:00uh, they, they became part of it.

LANE: Okay.

HESSELDENZ: When--especially when we were all together, but we, uh, Debbie and Dana, uh, Dana was, uh, Sandy Gubser's secretary when, when she came on--boy she came a long way. She, she is great. And Debbie Tichenor is, you know.

LANE: Yeah, yeah. Um, well you've listed quite a few firsts. And this--you've really invented many systems here Jon. Truly did, um, and I wanted to be sure and get that on the record. I think that's very important.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. We're really proud of what--

LANE: Should be.

HESSELDENZ: --we've done and, you know, what they are continuing to do.

LANE: Um-hm. What do you see as the challenges for the next ten years?

HESSELDENZ: Oh, well. It's the, the online, yeah, the, uh, virtual, uh, uh, classroom that, yeah, anywhere, anytime, that's, that's--

LANE: Twenty-four seven.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. It, it can, uh, I think there will be a lot more, 01:10:00uh, you know, degrees awarded through, uh, strictly through, uh, online attendance and like that. I think we will get away from the, the semester systems and, just, you know, uh, have a lot of classes on demand. That's, that's the big. And, uh, technology training--keeping it all together. I mean the video is part of it--the Blackboard system, you know. I don't know if they--

LANE: No. Why don't you give us the 101 on Blackboard? I've heard about that and I'd like to know what it is.

HESSELDENZ: Well it's, it's, uh, it's a system that that allows, uh, uh, instructors and students to, to communicate, uh, electronically. They, uh, they, uh, put all their course materials on there and it, it administers tests and it, it does, it's--

LANE: --fascinating--


HESSELDENZ: Yeah and, uh, Blackboard is the name of the company that-- there's several of them that are--that's what we chose and we partnered with, uh, Rural Development for that, too. They use it as well for their, uh, a lot of their outreach and, uh, you know, first responder and other stuff so. So we went--and, and they, uh, in fact it's housed there, at their, uh--

LANE: Somerset?

HESSELDENZ: --Somerset, yeah. Uh, that, that's an important part, you have to have the electronic links to keep, keep together, uh, uh, classroom management and--

LANE: --right--

HESSELDENZ: --all that--

LANE: Right. Right.

HESSELDENZ: --that business and--

LANE: So that's the thing the big piece that's really going to expand and--

HESSELDENZ: Right, and I think to do that, uh, you know--and I don't know how the thinking is going now in the cabinet offices, but, the, uh, there was even talk of having, uh, uh, a seventeenth college that 01:12:00was, uh, that would draw from all of these, these sources for, for people. But it would take--it takes a lot of people to, to, to do that, because you can't load it all on the instructors. It has to be--there has to be a big support staff that are dealing with, uh, the, you know, problems that people run into with, you know, connectivity and, uh, whatever, you know. Uh, the administrative pieces of it and I--and, uh, that's part of the big, you know, plan to, to move ahead. But I don't think they're, uh, uh, very far with it.

LANE: It's going to take a while.

HESSELDENZ: It's going to take a while. It's going to take a lot of, uh, resources that we don't have as yet.

LANE: Hmm. Of course, this, uh--we've just added the KBEMS team to, to 01:13:00your family here at the system headquarters. Um, fire commission, all those folks.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. We support them, too.

LANE: Support all of them. Are there other things on your list there of significant dates that we didn't discuss Jon?

HESSELDENZ: Oh, my retirement--(laughs)--

LANE: Well, you know, I had that written down in, uh, June of what, '06?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. I think we did a lot of things and they're continuing to do it. And there's, uh, and I'm glad, they were, you know, sorry to see me go.

LANE: I'm sure--well you're still around. Now what are you going to do when you, when you ----------(??)?

HESSELDENZ: I don't know--

LANE: Is this your last month?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. It's my last month, and unless they decide to extend it, you know, I wouldn't mind staying on, you know, a couple of days a week.

LANE: Yeah.

HESSELDENZ: What it ended up, I was supposed, uh--the decision support system which they're just now putting in--that's why, that's why I was, 01:14:00uh, you know, stay around, so I could help, but it was, um, it came to a snag and, you know, decided that they wanted to go out and get a commercial system rather than build it up.

LANE: Oh, okay.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. That was after I was gone. So anyhow they, they changed direction there and, but, I was--so I started it, uh, working with Christina, uh, Whitfield, on, in institutional research which I'd done years and years ago.

LANE: Oh great, great.


LANE: Well I'm going to have to--

HESSELDENZ: --so, I'd been doing a couple--

LANE: --for this ten year book--I'm really gonna have to key in on some of that.

HESSELDENZ: Yeah, and, and so I've been working with her and doing a couple studies, um, one's, uh, one's a survival study and another one, time-to-degree, you know, what are the factors that, uh, uh--

LANE: That's interesting.

HESSELDENZ: --determine how long it takes somebody to get to an associate degree and, uh, it--it's very interesting stuff. And this 01:15:00survival study is just taking a cohort of people 2001--

LANE: --um-hm--

HESSELDENZ: --uh, fall of 2001 carrying them forward, you know, what happens to them, you know--

LANE: --fascinating--

HESSELDENZ: --what are the, what are the things that, uh, determine academic success and degree--

LANE: Oh, good, that should be valuable. That information should be very valuable.

HESSELDENZ: And I don't know if I'll be able to finish it the rest of this month, but, uh, that's what I'd like to keep on and do. I'd like, you know, just be able to finish that so.

LANE: Terrific. Well it's, uh--

HESSELDENZ: And it's kind of fun, you know, to do that, and I don't have any other responsibility--

LANE: Right. And you can concentrate on the people maybe some students which is kind of, probably neat.

HESSELDENZ: Right. Yeah.

LANE: So if you wanted to just, just give me a statement about your experience with KCTCS, um, how would you wrap it up?

HESSELDENZ: Oh gosh, it was the, uh, best professional experience, I, 01:16:00you know, I had my whole life, then I was in, you know, this kind of business at, uh, you know, a small state college and a large state university and, uh, a large and this is by far the best experience. Just love most all the people that I've worked with, you know. I won't qualify that at all.

LANE: No, no, but, that's, that's really amazing in today's world, isn't it?

HESSELDENZ: Yeah. The, the cabinet at, at, for--I don't--I'm not sure about now, you know, after I left, but it was changing as I was leaving, but before, it was the most cohesive group that, uh, you know, that probably again the smartest people I've ever worked with, you know, capable, you know, things get, people could, uh, do things right, top to the bottom. And, and working with this group of people, too, 01:17:00was just a dream. You know, and--

LANE: It's fun to be able to put the team together, and--get what you needed and--

HESSELDENZ: Sure, they're, they're mine, you know, I mean--

LANE: That's right. That's right. It's your child, your brain-child. Well, you certainly accomplished an awful lot in a short amount of time actually, Jon. For heaven's sake it was--

HESSELDENZ: Oh, and one thing I should tell you is--that, you know, the initial, uh, budget for this or that whole implementation was, was going to be eighteen million dollars--

LANE: Come on--the initial--for the whole PeopleSoft?

HESSELDENZ: PeopleSoft plus the network.

LANE: Oh my gosh.

HESSELDENZ: Was eighteen million dollars.

LANE: Okay. All right. Well how did you come out?

HESSELDENZ: Thirteen million.

LANE: Come on.

HESSELDENZ: Well the--

LANE: --under budget--

HESSELDENZ: --a big part of that--yeah, we were under budget--

LANE: --oh, my gosh--

HESSELDENZ: --and, and--yeah ahead, ahead of schedule and under budget 01:18:00for the whole thing.

LANE: That's pretty good.

HESSELDENZ: And it's, it is by far the least expensive implementation and most I think the most successful of any PeopleSoft implementation. As, uh, it, it cost, uh, about over forty million at U of L, and they're infinitely smaller, and they can say there more, uh, complex, but they're not. I mean nothing is more complex than a student system for, that, integrated like ours is.

LANE: All over the state.

HESSELDENZ: Uh, the big part of why it wasn't eighteen million is because CPE picked up the cost of, uh--

LANE: Okay, yeah. But still that was part of getting the project done that somebody convinced them to do that.

HESSELDENZ: Absolutely.

LANE: --oh gosh--

HESSELDENZ: They were, I mean--

LANE: Wow. Is that what runs for them in their budget? I mean that was 01:19:00a five million dollar difference?

HESSELDENZ: Well. There was a lot of start-up costs in that, that--the, the running cost for the network is probably somewhere about two and a half million a year.

LANE: Okay. okay. But that's, that's substantial for them to pick up for--okay.

HESSELDENZ: They picked up a lot of the, uh, initial cost and then the operating costs for--

LANE: Wow. Well it's been enjoyable for me. Is there anything else you would like to talk about if not--

[End of interview.]