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This series introduces us to a different employee every week. Find out what they most enjoy about their job and learn things you might not know about them yet. This week: Thomas Gales, Data Steward at UvA Economics and Business.

What do you like most about your job?

What I like most about my job isn’t 1 specific thing. It’s more a combination of a few different aspects of my work. Like a lot of people, I had never heard of a Data Steward. Every time I tell someone about my job, they picture someone in a vest explaining how to put on an oxygen mask (your own mask first, and then help the children). In reality it’s a many-sided job with a lot of different features and a good combination of strategic, operational and advisory task. I really enjoy working at the university and being in contact every now and then with both students and researchers helps me maintain the illusion that I’m still young. The free coffee is also appreciated.

Is there a project from this past year you are particularly proud of?

I don’t feel like I’ve worked here long enough to make any claim to something I could consider ‘mine’ so far. So maybe ‘proud’ isn’t quite the right word. But right now we’re working on setting up an UvA-wide system for researchers. In principle, it should relieve some of the administrative burden when they set up a project. The system is called Research Management Services (RSM). EB and the Amsterdam Law School are the first to start using this system. A lot of my time is spent on this project and it’s rewarding to see the impact of my work. That’s something I often miss when working for a large organisation.

What don’t most colleagues know about you?

I have a special ability that allows me to exert a strong force of attraction on television camera. This phenomenon goes really well with my extreme stage fright, and this has resulted in countless embarrassing televised incidents. The last time this happened was during a clip from the talk show de Vooravond when I was asked if I knew who Harry Mulisch was. When I tried to answer my fear and panic made me stammer. But I recovered and was able to come up with the word ‘Aanslag’, followed by a brilliant discourse about Harry. But of course, the only part that was broadcast on national television was my sweaty forehead and the words ‘uh…de Aanval?’.