'Unsung Hero' Hums Jimmy Buffett Tunes as He Forestalls Crises

June 1, 2010 — A long and varied career – including a 20-year stint at IBM and a job with a car dealership – has given J.D. Smith the right combination of skills to be a trusted clinical systems analyst for the University of Virginia Medical Center's Medical Laboratories. But it is his laid-back, sunny disposition that makes him easy to work with.

Smith maintains hundreds of computers and displays the creativity to solve difficult problems. All the while, he often hums Jimmy Buffett tunes, wrote one of his colleagues, nominating him for a Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award.

"He often deals with stressful situations when equipment is not functioning as expected, but his work ethic, skills and 'can-do' attitude repeatedly produce solutions that prevent any sort of crisis," wrote one of his nominators.

His calm approach to his ever-growing workload may be attributed to the Buffett tunes he loves, or the parrot that hangs above his cubicle. His skill, however, could only be attributed to experience.

"His work may not be directly with patient care, but behind the scenes he is one of the many unsung heroes," wrote a nominator.