A sad day at UW Tech


Today was the hardest day I’ve had in the fourteen years I’ve worked at the University of Washington. Today I dismantled the Emerging Technology organization that I spent the last two years building, and laid off five of the nine eTech staff.

As many people already know, UW Technology is dealing with serious budget problems (here’s a Seattle Times story on it). I don’t claim to understand all of the factors that led to this crisis, but I do know that as a result we are forced to drastically cut our spending. Ron Johnson, our VP, has had to make difficult decisions about priorities – I don’t pretend to know whether I would make all of the same priority decisions, but I do know that I don’t envy him that task. I can understand that in a time of budgetary troubles these difficult decisions have to be made.

I don’t have to pretend to be happy about the result.

I am extremely proud of the eTech staff, the work we accomplished over the last eighteen months, and the relationships we built with a wide set of colleagues and partners across the institution. As a team we forged a unique and special working style, and I will miss it. The eTech staff are a supremely talented and knowledgeable group, and our organization will be the poorer without them.

To my laid off friends and colleagues – I’m sorry it’s come to this. It hurts. I wish you all success and better times ahead.

To the rest of the University and our partners and friends – I’m sorry we won’t have all the anticipated opportunities for forging new work together. We’ll see what capacity remains and where the priorities for our work lie as we regroup and try to move forward.

2 thoughts on “A sad day at UW Tech”

  1. I understand that it’s all about abruptly scarce resources, but it does seem from where I sit that if you get lost in the jungle you probably value the people walking out in front with the machetes all the more.

    Sorry for your troubles.


  2. Wow. Simply… wow. 15% of the UW Technology workforce. I know how loathed lay offs are in the higher ed environment.

    And the story behind it – that the financial people weren’t on top of things as they should have been – is equally disturbing.

    Good luck, Oren.


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