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Staff Spotlight: Jack Lee, MBA

Monday, December 18, 2017

Our final Spotlight interview of 2017 shines on grants and contracts administrator Jack Lee, MBA. Lee talks to us about his work managing grants and grant budgets, what ultimately brought him from Ohio back to his home of North Carolina, and his hobbies of the guitar, writing novels and screenplays, and hiking in his spare time.

What are your responsibilities within the Neurology Department? What does your average work day look like?
I have a lot of responsibilities, including developing budgets and budget justifications, managing grant budgets and projects and making sure that grants and budgets are compliant, and making sure that individuals get appropriate compensation for awards. It usually is a mix of pre-award and post-award duties such as grant submissions, closeouts of projects ending, financial reports, and I also do FAM validations once a month. There are usually a meeting or two with the Principal Investigators either to talk about Grant submissions that they are planning or to go over financial reports of the currently awarded grants and funds.

What were you doing before you came to the Neurology Department? How did you decide to come to Duke?

My wife and I had moved from North Carolina back to Ohio for a position that would be considered a promotion. It was the position of Sponsored Projects Officer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I was an authorized official and was the actual reviewer and submitter of the grant submissions. I covered 10-12 centers and 150 principal investigators. The job wasn’t bad, but only covered the surface of the research administration. I really wanted to work more closely with the principal investigators, and we also missed North Carolina.

What do you enjoy most about your work? I like that every day is different. I worked in a job for five years doing the same thing every day and it was very mundane and not challenging. This job I am currently in involves critical thinking and that I find gratifying.

Where did you get your MBA? What's the most useful or memorable lesson you learned from this education in your daily life?
I got my MBA from Franklin University. I learned a lot about creating business proposals, fine tuning my skill with research papers, and that “awareness is power.”  Once you are aware of something, you can always improve that area.

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
I write on the side so I would say a job that involves analytical and creative skills with the tools/skills of writing. My dream job has been to write novels or screenplays for movies.

What passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Department?
I don’t currently have my guitar down here but I write, record, and play a lot of music in my free time. I also write short stories and have three novels that I need to finish. I also enjoy going on hikes and also visiting historic sites with my wife.

Elf Craft
Lee poses with a handmade "elf craft" decoration for the holidays.