Lilly Haas-Feuerhelm Behind the Screens: A peek into the IT Team that keeps the University afloat

Behind the many administrative functions the University System keeps up with every day, there are teams of IT individuals at every scene, putting out whatever IT fires appear in order to keep the University System running smoothly on the daily. 

Lilly Haas-Feuerhelm is one Lead IT Specialist that does just that. Since joining her current team at Tech Services in 2018, and transitioning to Lead IT Specialist in 2023, she has been helping others see IT as a positive tool and not as a block; she’s been contributing to the positive atmosphere she loves among the people she works with (even baking cookies—in bulk!); and she’s been training new IT employees and helping answer questions when somebody doesn’t know the answer. In short, Lilly’s day-to-day helps keep the University System running smoothly. 

What’s your role like at Tech Services?

My team provides desktop support for System Office units in Urbana and Springfield. These are units that serve all three campuses such as AITS, Payroll and Benefits, and System Purchasing. We also support the Grad College on the Urbana campus. As the team lead, I also train new employees and help answer teammates’ questions. 

My role and my team are really just here to make sure that Technology is working for our clients and not causing issues for them. We strive to ensure that the administrative functions of the University System can move forward smoothly with the help of excellent IT services and hardware. 

What’s the best thing about your current role?

The best thing about my role is the people. Both the team I work with and the clients we support are fabulous to work with. I get to engage with all kinds of different folks doing all kinds of different roles that keep the gears of the institution turning. 

What’s a typical day look like for you? 

I don’t think there is such a thing as a typical day for me in this role. Some days are full of project planning and documentation, and other days someone’s desktop computer starts billowing smoke and that’s the project of the moment. Each day has new challenges and projects to tackle. 

What do you feel like has been one of your biggest accomplishments in this role? 

One of my biggest accomplishments in this role is to help achieve a level of trust with the clients that I support so that they aren’t “afraid” of IT, and they find it more of a tool to help them than a big scary thing that they have to fight against. 

I am an expert in…. 

Baking! I love to bake all kinds of fun cakes, pies and cookies. One of my favorite memories of IT and Baking coming together is the year that I made 144 chocolate chip cookies for the Help Desk’s fall orientation. 

What did you study in college or what was your favorite subject in school and why? 

I studied English literature in college. I absolutely love to read, and I thought it would be fun. It turns out that the communication skills that I learned in my English Lit program have really served me well in my IT career. 

If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be and why? 

If I could instantly become an expert in something, I would want to learn a new language, maybe German or Japanese. I’d want to learn so that I could travel to places where the language is spoken and have an immersive experience. 

Lilly and niece Aurora
Lilly and niece Aurora
Lilly and husband Neil in Germany
Lilly and husband Neil in Germany