Greg Burris is the Vice President for Administrative and Information Services at Missouri State University. His job at Missouri State, combined with his extensive volunteer work in the community, keeps Burris very busy. Mike Smith has this conversation with and profile of Greg Burris:
Greg Burris was born in Glendora, California on Halloween night in 1961. His family moved to Springfield, Missouri when he was three years old. He graduated third in his class at Nixa High School in 1979. While growing up, Greg's parents instilled in him a strong work ethic, a drive to succeed, and the importance of caring for others, mostly by serving as role models for these characteristics.
After receiving academic scholarships to both Missouri State University (then Southwest Missouri State University) and Drury College, Greg chose and attended Missouri State University because it would be more affordable in subsequent years. Greg never regretted that decision. He worked summers at American National Property & Casualty (ANPAC) and on construction crews in Nixa and Bella Vista, Arkansas to earn money for college. He worked evenings at ANPAC and Christian County National Bank to pay for his college expenses. Greg was graduated from Missouri State University with a comprehensive Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Information Systems, attaining a 3.7 GPA.
One semester before Greg was to graduate in 1983, the Coordinator of Management Information Systems wrote and ran a computer program to produce a list of students who would be qualified for a Junior Programmer vacancy. Working within the University appealed to him, and he accepted the offer in 1983.
While working his way up through the Computer Services department from Junior Programmer to Programmer/Analyst to Systems Analyst over a period of years, Greg earned a Masters of Business Administration with a 4.0 GPA. In 1993, he was selected to serve as the Coordinator of Management Information Systems within the department, supervising and leading all systems analysts and programmers.
In 1996, Greg was selected to serve as the University's Chief Information Officer and Associate Vice President for Administrative Services. In this capacity, he was responsible for all computing and networking (data, voice, and video) infrastructure for all three University campuses and the KSMU radio station.
At that time, Greg was not involved within the Springfield community in any capacity beyond the University. However, something inside pushed him to get involved in some way. Greg applied for, and was accepted into, the Leadership Springfield program in 2000, and is a proud member of Class XVI. That experience changed Greg's life by opening up myriad opportunities for community involvement. However, unable to say "no," Greg found himself on four boards within three months of graduating from Leadership Springfield and became the poster child for over-commitment.
Greg has chaired a number of strategic planning committees and has facilitated strategic planning and team building retreats for a number of non-profit organizations in Springfield. He also teaches the Strategic Use of Information Technology and Business Process Reengineering course within the Management Development Institute's Mini-MBA program.
In 2002, Greg was selected to serve the University as Vice President for Administrative & Information Services, a position he still holds today. In that capacity, Greg has direct line responsibility for 350 employees, more than $33 million in annual budgets, and leads Human Resources, Employee Training & Professional Development, Safety & Transportation (including Parking and the BearLine shuttle service), Facilities Management (including Design & Construction, Mechanical Maintenance, Grounds, Custodial Services, and Work Management), Environmental Management, Space Management, Computer Services, Telecommunication Services, Postal Services, Printing Services, and Web Services. Greg feels that working in higher education is a noble endeavor, and loves the fact that every work day is a unique learning opportunity.
Greg Burris is proud to have served a small part in helping to get the University's name change, including chairing the Name Change Transition Team.
However, despite working on a number of high-profile projects, Greg feels his greatest achievement while working at Missouri State University has been developing the University Staff Ambassadors (USA) program, a professional development program focused on providing staff an opportunity to learn about the University and promote a better understanding and appreciation for the role staff serve within the organization.
In 1999, Burris was assigned to lead Missouri State University's first-ever process improvement initiative. This initiative, named Change@MissouriState, resulted in the development of a structure and support system whereby the University's fundamental processes are examined, improved, and, when appropriate, eliminated or radically changed for the 21st Century. Greg chaired this coordinating committee for seven years.
Greg Burris coordinated the development of Missouri State University's first Strategic Information Technology Plan, and formed and served as the first chair of the Chief Information Officers Committee for all four-year, public higher education institutions in Missouri.
Greg Burris is Vice President of the Leadership Springfield Board of Directors, Past Chair of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Board of Directors, and Past Chair of the Downtown Springfield Community Improvement District (CID) Board of Directors. At one point in 2003, Burris simultaneously served as chair of the CASA, CID and Missouri Education & Research Consortium (MERC) boards of directors. Once Greg emerged from that fog, he began leading long-range, strategic planning initiatives for a number of local non-profit organizations. Greg believes Springfield, Missouri can have the most effective and efficient non-profit organizations in the world!
A student of leadership, Greg invests a considerable amount of time studying leadership and promoting the development of leadership programs. He currently serves on the University's Leadership Project Oversight Committee that recently produced the Greater Ozarks Leadership Development (GOLD) Program and GO LEAD, a leadership development program targeting non-profit organizations.
Greg Burris was recently named to the Jordan Valley Advisory Committee.
Greg Burris has also served as program coordinator for two large, federal Title III grants that have provided technology funding to the University.
In 2005, Greg was selected as "Executive of the Year" by the Hawthorn Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
In 2006, Greg was assigned to chair the JQH Arena Design Committee, which continues to develop the plans for this new facility slated to open in the fall of 2008.