For the last 20 years, countless faculty, guest lecturers, staff and residents have relied heavily on Keith Bullis, the media services manager for Eastman Institute for Oral Health. While the technology has changed significantly over that time, Keith’s extraordinary commitment has not.
“In addition to performing his job at an exemplary level, Ketih takes it upon himself to provide remarkable support in technical, adminsitrative, and audiovisual services,” said Dr. Hans Malmstrom, professor and chair, Department of General Dentistry. “Keith is a true champion for higher education with a tireless commitment to serving our organization.”
“His work has a profound impact on numerous stakeholders across the organization,” said Holly Barone, EIOH Chief Operations Officer. “He takes great pride in his work and consistently strives for excellence.”
These are just a few reasons why he was presented a 2023 University of Rochester Medical Center Board Excellence Award this week.
Keith is an expert in all matters related to EIOH’s audio/visual needs for teaching and institutional events. It doesn’t matter what time the training, the lecture, or the event is being held. Keith is on site early mornings, late evenings and weekends, ensuring everything is working smoothly. He’s there when technology crashes, calmly troubleshooting and quickly getting everything working again. Even when he’s off site or off duty, Keith responds right away to calls for technical help.
“He is one of those special ‘behind the scenes’ individuals without whom the quality of all presentations and other similar activities would be significantly diminished,” said Dr. David Levy, associate director, EIOH Institution Projects.
Keith joined Eastman Institute in 2003 as a part-time employee, mainly to assist with Educational Video Conferencing.
“Back then, video conferencing was very complicated and required a huge amount of technical support,” Keith explained. “Over the first six months I demonstrated my other skills in photography, video and graphics, and as a result, a full time media position was created.”
“I have known Keith to be an exceptional co-worker, always cheerful and exceptional in everything he does,” added Dr. Malmstrom. “His quick wit, attention to detail and loyalty to the university have endeared him to his colleagues.”
From producing videos of lectures, accommodating guest speakers’ audio/visual needs, coordinating all the AV for EIOH and CE events, no two days are the same for Keith. In addition, he often performs above and beyond and recently offered his expertise in training all staff on the proper use of AV equipment while also providing graphics support for staff, faculty and resident presentations.
A major aspect of Keith’s job is working and interacting with the residents and students, who travel from all over the world for advanced training at EIOH.
“They are a very diverse group of folks who really appreciate the assistance that I provide to them in the photography and educational part of their Eastman experience,” Keith said. “Hearing back from graduates about what they are doing and how their career is going is very rewarding to me.”
“I’m very thankful to Keith for being so kind, knowledgeable, helpful, and supportive during all my residency time,” said Qirong Huang (GenDen ’22, ’23). “He has helped me with so many things, including ordering my first camera, helping with zoom lectures and my many photography questions. He definitely deserves this award!”
“Residents rarely see what happens behind the scenes,” added Nojood Elbaage, an AEGD resident. “We’re thankful to Keith for all his contributions in helping us become the best version of ourselves!”
Keith was especially helpful during the COVID19 restrictions. His years of experience proved essential in providing support when shifting quickly to remote learning classes and grand rounds. He also provides seminars for residents in intraoral photography, hardware selection, lighting and composition of images.
While most of his work is done on his own, some of his projects are done in collaboration with public relations, advancement, registrar, and senior leadership.
One of the most rewarding projects of Keith’s career was Painting with Light, a project that took a concept originally developed by Rochester Institute of Technology and applied it to make a photograph of the Eastman Dental Building at night. It took coordinating a few hundred people to “paint” the outside of the building at night to produce a dramatic photograph.
“This, and other Centennial projects required a lot of planning and coordination with not only Eastman departments, but departments across the Medical Center,” Keith said about the events held from 2015-2017. “The successful outcome of the Painting with Light project and the rest of the Centennial events are still being talked about years later.”
“Keith brings so much talent and a broad range of skills to Eastman Institute,” said Karen Black, director, EIOH Public Relations. “He has produced dozens of videos and award-winning photography for our magazine Momentum, in addition to many creative projects—that have all helped bring awareness about how Eastman uniquely serves our region.”
“It’s quite fitting that many have nicknamed him ‘The Mayor,’” added Holly. “He knows everyone and is liked and
well-respected by all. I am thrilled to see Keith recognized for his achievements and to have the opportunity to be in front of the camera for this occasion.”
While Keith enjoys the many aspects of his job, he especially likes that it’s always evolving.
“When I started in 1980 at a local hospital, I was shooting on film, producing video on ¾ U-matic tape, using slide projectors and recoding sound on ¼ reel to reel recorders,” he said. “I am now using all digital media and equipment with computers being an integral part of my daily work.”
Due to his skills, knowledge, willingness to help others and dedication to the University and the community, Keith’s services are often requested by others, including University Communications Department, Office of Advancement, University Provost office, Office of Strong Commitment, Susan B. Anthony Center, Center for Experiential Learning, University Athletics Dept., Urology, Eastman School of Music, Political Science, School of BioMedical Engineering, in addition to helping with various department graduations each year.