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April 2016 | Issue #42

Current Releases: SM 8.0.037 (3/28) | AW 3.5.028 (3/23)
Upcoming Webinars:  Modules with the Mostest (4/14 1:30 Central)
ACEware Systems Newsletter - Information to Run Your Program
ACEware Employee Spotlight: Matthew Olson
Over the past year, we've put together spotlights on each of the employees at ACEware. We wrap up the series with Matthew Olson.
Matthew started working for ACEware Systems as a Technician nearly eight years ago. About six years ago, Chuck was ready to throttle back a bit on  programming and asked Matthew if he was ready to start developing. Matthew took over as the lead, and nearly solo, developer on Student Manager and Chuck has been frustrating him ever since. He continues to supports five customers and is the editor in chief of the newsletter.

Prior to working for ACEware, Matthew obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science. While going to school, he worked for a call center and was doing Gateway Technical support. The call center switched to doing Cingular Wireless customer support, so Matthew was forced to switch as well. AT&T Wireless bought Cingular and Matthew continued to support callers through the transition. He began getting promotions into management, quality assurance, and reporting before Chuck snatched him up.

Matthew has a wife, Gena, and three kids:  Jynx, a Siamese; Milo, a Jack Russell Terrier; and Zailey, a Blue Heeler. The dogs are in the picture above (the cat is too finicky to pose with the dogs). In his spare time, Matthew enjoys writing, collecting coins, playing games, hiking with his wife and dogs, golfing, fishing, and hunting pheasant and quail.

Outside of ACEware, Matthew is also a part time coin dealer. He has had booths at shows in Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri.

Matthew's biggest news is that he is a published author. He currently has two collections of short stories available in ebook format exclusively at Amazon. Print versions of his books are found at most online book retailers. If you come to conference, he'll be more than happy to give you an autograph!

Matthew is currently working on getting two novels edited to be published with his eye on a summer release for one of them. He is currently writing two more novels and another collection of short stories. With all of his jobs and hobbies, he is never bored.

Contributed by  Matthew Olson
Interview with a Veteran Conference Attendee
We are so excited to have our customers in Manhattan next month for conference. Yes, that's right - next month! You've heard a lot from us about conference (the amazing featured presenter, the great selection of sessions, the many networking opportunities, our open house, etc.).

Enough from us! Let's hear from a customer who will be attending her 15th Users' Conference this year!  Barb Gustafson from Billings Adult & Community Education attends because, " conference offers great opportunities to learn new aspects of the software program we use in Community Education, to maintain records, and to network with other educational institutions representatives. I have met many wonderful people over the years and I enjoy seeing them at the conferences. In the past we have shared photos upon our return to our homes. When you have built these new relationships you feel comfortable to reach out to them for ideas and how to use a feature of the software."

Barb enjoys learning about the new features in Student Manager that makes the task of maintaining records easier. She comments that, "ACEware staff is wonderful to work with and [at conference] you can have one-on-one time to ask questions in order to resolve any problems you might have."

When asked how she continues to get permission to attend conference in this challenging fiscal climate, Barb replied: "attending an ACEware conference is an opportunity to network and gain new ideas of how to make your program better and more efficient- which can affect your bottom line. Having your department representative attending the conference is always a positive investment. Upon returning from conference, I am always happy to share new ideas and new ways to use our software program with our Director and staff." Obviously, their department sees the Return On Investment (ROI), since they continue to send Barb to conference year after year!

If you are new to Student Manager or conference, never fear. Barb says to come, "prepared to learn a lot about ACEware and bring your questions. You will have a great experience and learn valuable skills. If you are travelling alone, the staff and participants will not let you feel alone. You will want to continue going to conferences."

Barb shares that, in addition to conference, she stays current with Student Manager by accessing the ACEware website to look through the tutorials and the help guides. To keep up with continuing education industry trends, she reviews websites and is on LinkedIn to stay connected to new data and information.

To meet Barb, other software users, and ACEware staff, register today.  We can't wait to see you!

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire
Software Best Practice - Spotlight on Tri-County Technical College
In March, ACEware representatives were asked to join Tri-County Technical College (TCTC) for their monthly Student Manager Team Meeting. Say what? A meeting solely dedicated to all things Student Manager? We were impressed, intrigued, and hungry for more information. Set a year in advance, these meetings are a priority for this busy Continuing Education operation! When we asked if they'd share a bit more about this practice with our customers, Teresa Young, Operations Manager and leader of these monthly gatherings, agreed to donate her valuable time and share this best practice with our readers.

At TCTC, the Keeper of the Flame status is shared by three staff, and these three are on the Student Manager Team. The team is made up of TCTC's Operations Manager (oversees financials and steers the ship), Customer Service/Registrar Manager (works closely with college financial office), a Program Director, a Training Coordinator (sets up courses, monitors registration, cancels classes when needed), and an Administrative/Program Manager (newer to their team so a fresh set of eyes).

ACEware: What prompted you to begin Student Manager Team Meetings?
Teresa: Our staff is so limited, that the only way we can make progress is by culling out parts of a project, making assignments, and grinding until it is done. It also means that no one person is making strategic decisions that negatively affects the other users.

ACEware: How is the meeting agenda determined?
Teresa: Priorities drive it. I currently prepare the agenda, but, all team members are equal and have input.
ACEware: Can you share some action items have you had as a result of your meetings?
Teresa: SM procedures updated, reviewed, and published. This is a continuous action item, it seems.

Review of different modules. See if implementing them will minimize our time spent on paperwork, data/customer tracking.

Redesign of all certificates, and assigning the publication of the certificates to the Customer Service/Registrar staff. This was a "lean" initiative, so that there are not 15 different staff having to print certificates. And, the redesign incorporated an embossed seal, to eliminate the chance of fraudulent certificates being published.

Data cleanup standards. We discuss prior to clean up and get clarification on data qualifiers so we are all coding things properly.

Voucher/billing decisions are made in these meetings.

Communication on testing of new updates prior to implementing the update in Production.

ACEware: Please share how these meetings have strengthened your Student Manager team.
Teresa: We still struggle with making real fast progress against the team's goals, because we really need more personnel/hours capacity to do it totally, but if it were not for the team meetings, nothing would be accomplished.

Between regular meetings, the team tends to ask each other questions ad hoc as things arise, and work cooperatively to fix things that happen. It reduces angst because there is a decision not made by one person, to trickle down, but by a cross-functional team.

ACEware: In addition to your meetings, what else does your Student Manager team do to stay current with software and industry (continuing education/workforce development) knowledge?
Teresa: I truly wish I could say that our staff reaches out to the ListServ and the many ACEware solutions and support - but - they often do not have time to do this. We hope to get to the point where we have a "tech minute" at the end of each of our staff meetings, where we show other staff a "shortcut", "did you know", tips, etc.

Those on the SM team use the ListServ and Support Menus on the ACEware website. When financially viable, we attend the conferences (multiple staff), and we have brought ACEware staff to our campus for training, twice, for week-long, cross-functional training. This has been great.

ACEware: What advice would you give to a new Student Manager Customer?
Teresa: Have ACEware come to train your staff. Establish that cross-functional "SM Team", because you need to have the knowledge spread to multiple staff, and have input from different perspectives.
You can all thank TCTC for the warning message you receive before your pack and reindex function! That was a wishlist submitted by their team. They have plenty of innovative ideas so stay tuned for more developments!

We thank TCTC for sharing how they collaborate and use Student Manager to improve their work processes. How about you? How does your team cross-train, work consistently, and streamline work? We'd like to hear from you!

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire
Virginia Commonwealth University Hosts ACEware Training
The Office of Continuing and Professional Education at Virginia Commonwealth University recently hosted a three-day training. Matthew covered topics on emailing, the Report Wizard, ACEweb, financials in Student Manager, and data cleanup. Some of the sessions were attended by a couple of folks from James Madison University. Pictured from left to right along the back: Liz, Crixell, Ed, Matthew, and Harold; middle: Styphenia, Ashley, Aim ée, Kathleen, and Christina; front: Kaitlin, Becky, Nancy, and Lynn.

Matthew would like to thank everyone who attended the training. The Office of Continuing and Professional Education were great hosts. Several ah-ha moments were made.

If you are interested in hosting a private onsite training, please contact your technician or Sharon, An investment now can provide the key to unlock doors for the years ahead.

Contributed by Matthew Olson
New to the ACEware Family
Jennifer Engel, Steve Lander, Patricia (Pat) Szczepanski
ACEware welcomes Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), University of Pittsburgh, to the Student Manager/ACEweb user family.

Jennifer Engel, OLLI director, heard about ACEware at an OLLI National Conference. In networking discussions, she learned that ACEware was a software vendor that could support OLLI programs. She also visited with many vendors at the 2015 UPCEA conference in Washington, DC - including ACEware.

When asked what influenced their decision to select ACEware as their software partner, Jennifer shared that "There were a few factors. Obviously, it was a great solution and had every feature that we identified as a "need" and most of the features that were our "wants." Just as important for us though was the responsiveness and honesty of Sharon, the thoroughness of the demo, and the ongoing, positive communication as we went through the RFP process. Since we made it official, the service has continued to be top notch with Chuck and Lindsey."

They are excited about the membership features and the broad range of reports available from Student Manager, and they look forward to learning more about the catalog developer in the system.

"Pat and Steve have been working since our training a few weeks ago to get everything ready to launch for summer registration on April 12. They are wonderful in all that they do and this system will help them dramatically. We are very excited!" -  Jennifer Engel, Director

Jennifer's team of four has been diligent about learning to use Student Manager. They have attended webinars and enjoyed two days of on-site private training from Lindsey, their assigned technician. "I'm so impressed with how quickly they've taken ownership of their system," comments Lindsey.  "They are eager to implement things we discussed in training."
Two of their staff will attend conference this May and they plan to send at least one to conference each year.

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire
Webinar Archive - Search for a Webinar
Last month we shared the new organization of archived webinars! This month, we bring you another way to quickly locate any webinar!   You can now easily  search for any webinar we have posted. Chuck is so excited he wanted to make sure that everyone knew about this right away!

To search the Webinar Archive for a webinar:
  1. Select the new Show All tab.
  2. Press the Ctrl+F (Command+F if using a Mac) shortcut to open your browser's Search box.
  3. Enter your search keyword in the browser's Search box. 
  4. Most browsers will start searching as you type, and highlight the first match.  You can press the Enter key to find the next match. 


Contributed by Cheryl Scott
2016 Users' Conference by the Numbers
690: minutes of scheduled learning activities
405: minutes of informal networking opportunities
 47:  days until conference - Register now!
14: days until the hotel group rate expires
10: ACEware staff to welcome you to The Little Apple
  3: Organized networking events
  5:Customer Spotlight Presentations
   1: Mobile conference site ready: 
Visit a with your favorite mobile device.

Don't miss this outstanding learning and networking event.    Register today!
Contact to see what scholarship funds you have available from your paid Support Agreement.

Contributed by Sharon Brookshire

Here's to your continued success!

Your ACEware team,

- Chuck, Sharon, AJ, Cheryl, Jason, Lauri, Lindsey, Matthew, Mike, and Stein

 Aceware Systems
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