Jul 23, 2018 / Spotlight

Get to Know our SRH Staff: Desmond Blair, IT Project Manager

Meet Desmond - a project manager for our IT Department who has been working at our hospital for five years. Since birth, Desmond has been a patient with a bi-lateral hand absence condition. Born without fingers, Desmond was determined that his limb difference was not going to stop him from any challenge in life.​ Due to his tenacity and determination, he has not let his difference define him. Desmond, an inspiring 2D and 3D artist, is one of the featured artist in our 10th annual Summer Colors Art Auction on Thursday, July 26. Learn more about Desmond in our #SRH Staff Spotlight below.

How did you find out about the hospital? 
I’ve been a patient at the hospital since I was a baby. I’ve always had an attachment to the hospital and its mission. Now, I consider myself fortunate to be able to contribute to that mission and help kids like myself. ​

Who was your doctor?
Dr. Herring

What was it like to growing up as a patient of Scottish Rite Hospital? 
Desmond, age 11, visiting artist and animators at Nickelodeon Studios.
The hospital was always one of my favorite places to come. It was the only place I would come to, up until I was about six or seven, that I wouldn’t hide my hands. I remember spending a lot of time in the Prosthetics department and working with Don Cummings and Bill Pierce outside of my visits with Dr. Herring. I also remember Dr. Ezaki and Dr. Carter. 
 
My mom and I were also members of the PALS group that met in the evenings. I always thought those were cool because I had the chance to meet other kids like me. So while the kids hung out, the parents and a staff member would meet to discuss challenges and solutions. I think my mom got a lot out of those meetings by interacting with the other parents and having an opportunity to ask questions that I think helped us both out long-term.

I always loved coming to the hospital because it never felt like a hospital. There were always the games, toys, trains, popcorn and the park outside that made it a place like any other. Not to mention the staff. They never saw my “disability.” They were just trying to help me be a kid and do all the things kids do.     

What’s your favorite part of your job? 
My favorite part of my job is working with different staff here at the hospital. I get to understand their needs and work with various teams to provide helpful solutions. 
 
What’s your favorite thing about the hospital? 
I have two. The first, is seeing the patients. The second, is working with the staff at the hospital. Seeing the dedication and effort the staff put into making sure that the patients receive the care they need as well as helping them to overcome challenges inspires me daily.   
 
Describe a typical day. 
A typical day for me involves working with the IT infrastructure team to implement new technologies and also planning/preparing the technology that will go into the Frisco campus. I work with various departments and hospital stakeholders to determine their needs, find solutions and implement the technologies needed to achieve their goals.   
  
What made you want to work here?
I wanted to work somewhere where I felt like it “meant something”. I believe in the hospital's mission. Being able to see the patients each and every day really makes you feel like you’re a part of something bigger.  
 
What skills do you need for your job? Skills needed for my job? 
Strong problem solving and organizational skills. Strong active listening skills as well as a love for communicating with people. Having a really good memory helps as well. (You have to remember the details.)
 
I am a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), so I do employ those practices in my role at the hospital. My background has quite a bit of computer science mixed in as well so that has helped a ton. I also have a laundry list of software I’m pretty proficient in. (I’ve always enjoyed learning new things.)       
 
What was your first job? What path did you take to get here?
My first job after college was at The University of Texas at Dallas. I was both an Adjunct Professor and a Project Supervisor for the simulation development lab in the Arts and Technology department. Most of the projects I worked on at UTD was for the US Army.   
 
What is your favorite...
  • Hospital event: Summer Colors
  • Food in the cafeteria: Chips and guacamole
  • Place in the hospital: The bridge on the 4thfloor between the A and B buildings. It’s a really good thinking spot.
 What’s your favorite…
  • Place to travel: Austin
  • Type of food: Street tacos
  • TV show: My Hero Academia - I still love superheroes
 
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Super strength and speed so I could protect people.  
 
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An animator. I’ve always had a love for animation and comics.
 
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
I’ve driven a speedboat. 
 
What’s the last book you read?
Imagine: How Creativity Works, By Jonah Lehrer
 
What kind of animal would you be?
Siberian tiger
 
How long is your commute? What do you do on the drive?
My commute is about 20 minutes and I typically listen to sports news on the way to work. 
 
What is something people don’t know about you?
I’m actually a really good dancer. I used to be a part of a crew when I was in college. 
 
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Tearin’ Up My Heart by N*Sync

Join us and check out Desmond's artwork, as well as other local Dallas artists who have donated their artwork, at our 10th annual Summer Colors Art Auction on Thursday, July 26. All proceeds made during this event benefits the hospital and our patients. Learn more about the event.  
 

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