Laura Means, ’98 MS ’01, senior project manager and enterprise systems analyst, has devoted 40 years of her professional life to Ball State University, carving out an esteemed career in the Information Technology Services (ITS) department. She has even remained in the same building—the Robert Bell Building—the entire time.

“I’ve walked these same floors for a long time,” said Mrs. Means.

Ms. Means’ current role in the Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) is to provide project management for University initiatives that require IT services, from enterprise-level software implementations to department-level process improvements. Acting as a liaison between departments and the ITS team, she facilitates clear communication and delivers solutions that improve efficiency and streamline operations across the University.

Reflecting on the long list of technologies adopted by the University over the years, Ms. Means appreciates the ever-changing nature of her work. From her start as a control clerk managing paper reports with a workday starting at 4 a.m. to her current work with advanced software projects, her journey has been marked by a willingness to adapt and learn.

“When I started at the University, we didn’t have electronic communication, no email or internet,” said Ms. Means. “There was a lot of paper being printed. Large reports would print overnight. It was boxes and boxes of paper, and my job was to get all of those separated, attach labels, and sent out across campus. Course listings, for example, had to be delivered to the registrar’s office by 8 a.m. And many reports had to be updated every day.” – Laura Means

Reflecting on her 40 years, Ms. Means appreciates the University as a fantastic workplace with ample professional and personal growth opportunities. While working full-time and raising her son in Delaware County, she completed her bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in information and communication sciences from Ball State.

“Ball State is one of the best employers around—especially for someone with my skills. I grew up here and was never really interested in being anywhere else. After all these years, it’s still a wonderful place to be.”

She recalls her favorite memories at Ball State, other than meeting her husband Brian here, were the times she spent studying as a student, enjoying her English and Honors College classes. Those experiences enriched her life, providing her with lasting memories and a strong foundation.

Ms. Means acknowledges that her career path—staying with one employer for her entire professional journey—is rare these days. Nonetheless, her long tenure has allowed her to work on a variety of projects and meet people from different areas on campus.

“I’ll get a call from a campus partner about a system or process that isn’t working for them, and then I get to dig in, see how it works, and figure out ways to improve it,” said Ms. Means. “It’s a lot of fun and keeps things interesting.”

And that is the key to longevity, she says. She advises others to choose a career path that interests them and keeps them engaged.

“There’s a popular saying: ‘Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life,’” Ms. Means said. “That may be overstating it a bit, but you’ve got to be engaged in your work. An eight-hour day can seem like a month if you’re not interested in what you’re doing. If you enjoy the work and have the chance to learn, as I do in my role —learning new technologies, processes, and people—you’ll get along well.”

Though the thought of retirement has crossed her mind, Ms. Means has no immediate plans to leave her position or the University. Her enduring commitment to Ball State and her ability to evolve with the changing landscape of IT has solidified her place as a respected member of the University community. And as long as she continues to enjoy it and is able to contribute, she sees no reason to stop doing that.

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