Dorothy Bustamante bids farewell to NCAR

By Brian Bevirt
01/05/2015 - 12:00am
Dorothy Bustamante with CISL Director Al Kellie
CISL Director Al Kellie presents Dorothy Bustamante with a certificate of appreciation for her years of service to CISL and NCAR.

Dorothy Bustamante has supported CISL and its staff through many generations of computing technology. Back in April 2000 when Blackforest was NCAR’s flagship supercomputer, Dorothy started working for CISL after more than 20 years at high technology companies in Boulder County including StorageTek, IBM, and Ball Aerospace. At NCAR she administered CISL’s business systems hardware and software licenses for more than 14 years. She retired at the end of 2014 and is now preparing for the next phase of her life.

When asked for some memories of her time here, Dorothy said, “I was repeatedly impressed by the efficiency that CISL’s staff demonstrated every time they upgraded the machine room to install a new supercomputer. After Blackforest, the Mesa Lab hosted Bluesky, Bluevista, Blueice, and Bluefire – and those were just the flagship machines. Before Bluefire arrived, Operations and Services had to bring in two 15,000-gallon coolant reservoirs and install plumbing under the floor for its chilled-water circuit. They planned each facility upgrade so well that the machine room was always ready and waiting when the next new computer arrived.”

Hired by Aaron Andersen, Dorothy remembers her training by Stan McLaughlin. “He was always so sincere and stern, and I could tell he had a heart of gold. He looked out for me in the best possible way to make sure the computer room equipment was always tagged, operational, and ready to be audited.”

CISL Administrators in 2005
This photo shows all the CISL Administrators in 2005 with Dorothy in the center of the second row and Janice Kauvar standing at left.

Dorothy also acknowledged Janice Kauvar as a mentor and role model: “Janice’s calm, methodical work ethic helped me model my role as the maintenance and property administrator.” Dorothy also fondly remembered working with many of the system administrators: “I could not have done my job without the help of my co-workers in designing the specifications required for purchasing workstations, servers, and software.” Through the years, Dorothy’s work grew in scope and complexity with all the new systems and software she administered.

Dorothy’s job was to create purchase orders for business systems, set up maintenance contracts, and work with the UCAR Property Office for large contracts. She established and refined procedures for handling UCAR property, followed each item’s life cycle from purchasing and maintenance through audits and disposal, all while maintaining good relationships with the many hardware and software vendors involved.

In addition to office systems, Dorothy also managed some of the property in the Mesa Lab and NWSC machine rooms. She remembers the work needed to build the NWSC and prepare for Yellowstone. “That was the biggest project I was involved in, with so many new blanket orders and new kinds of equipment like forklifts, trucks, GSA vehicles, and a crane that all had to be up and running,” she said.

NCAR's April 2000 new hires
This is the April 2000 new-hire photo with Dorothy in the center of other UCAR staff who all started at that time.

Dorothy made time to share her expertise with the community by volunteering at the Boulder County Latina Women’s League, which helps Latina girls and women with educational and career opportunities. In 2003 and 2004 she co-hosted the Latinas Building Bridges in Education conference at UCAR with Teresa Rivas (of NCAR’s ACD and HAO). This conference allowed middle and high school girls to pair up with professional women and preview the working world, and it had additional support from Tim Killeen (then Director of NCAR) and Ofelia Miramontes (Vice Chancellor for Diversity at the University of Colorado). Dorothy said she received excellent feedback from the students and their mentors, and stated, “I’m particularly pleased that the middle-school girls who attended the conference talked about setting their sights on going to college instead of ending their studies to get married and start a family. This is significant because Census Bureau figures indicate that Hispanic girls have the highest dropout rate among female students of any ethnic group.”

Currently Dorothy is serving on the Community Action Program advisory board. She was honored by receiving two awards at the Multicultural Award Banquet for her work in the community. Further, Dorothy serves on the board for the American Association of the University of Women (AAUW) in keeping middle school students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Dorothy feels that middle school girls are at a crossroads in their lives just before they enter high school, so this is where she tries to make a difference for them.

When asked what she remembers from her career here at NCAR, Dorothy beamed her smile and said, “It’s working together with friends, peers, and co-workers who have made my job so rewarding. It has been my pleasure to be part of this organization and make friends with so many people here.” And her colleagues at NCAR feel the same way about her.

Bluefire decommissioning ceremony
At the Bluefire decommissioning ceremony on 1 May 2013, Dorothy (center) stands with some of her colleagues outside the Mesa Lab computer room.