Eddie Younger

Nancy Heckler recently arrived at her Cedar Sinai Park office at 6:30 a.m. only to realize that she had forgotten her computer password. “I knew I had changed my password, but I thought I had written it down,” she said, shaking her head with a laugh. “I couldn’t get into my computer, and it was really early so no one was around yet to help!”Enter longtime Information Technology Manager Eddie Younger. Nancy texted Eddie and within five minutes, they were on a call with Eddie talking Nancy through how to access her files. “Eddie immediately responded from home . . . and with no judgment!” said Nancy. “He reset my password and saved the day. I’ve known Eddie for many years and he’s always been supportive and a team player. He deserves every accolade!”

Eddie joined Cedar Sinai Park as a dining room server in the summer of 2008 while studying architecture at Portland State University and, later, engineering at Portland Community College. After four years of serving—and school—he became a receptionist at Rose Schnitzer Manor.

“While at the front desk, I had been helping residents informally with their tech and doing little tech projects at home,” said Eddie. “It was difficult for my predecessor to make progress in creating systems since he was on his own. The administrator saw a need to give him some help and knew that I was good at tech and interested in tech, so I started out in the information technology office one day a week. And my tech time progressed from there.

It all happened at a very good time in my life, because I had done four years of school, but knew I was done with school. This career happened at an opportune time.

Eddie became information technology manager in 2018. He provides full support to team members at Rose Schnitzer Manor, Sinai In-Home Care, Adult Day Services, Kehillah, Robison Jewish Health Center, and Harold Schnitzer Center for Living—about 245 employees—and light support to residents. During the pandemic, with people using technology so much more, Eddie’s outside-of-the-normal-workday responsibilities increased.

“Because of Eddie’s heart, expertise, and rapid response, residents and families were connected really quickly at the beginning of the pandemic, and many 1:1 life enrichment programs for residents during the pandemic were provided through technology when we were in quarantine. Eddie’s creativity, quick, concise thinking, and dedication made it happen,” said Cedar Sinai Park Chief Executive Officer Kimberly Fuson. “And with many of our employees suddenly working remotely due to Covid-19 health guidelines, Eddie had to help our team members with reliable access to technology from their own homes. I know that Eddie was working around the clock to provide support whenever it was needed, especially in 2020.”

Eddie worked at home for two weeks at the start of the pandemic but missed the activity on campus and the ability to work closely with the staff and residents so moved back to campus early on. A typical day has him making 20 trips back and forth along Boundary Street between buildings. “It was more efficient to help people troubleshoot their computers with me on campus,” he said. “So, I went back to the office.”

My favorite thing is to find inefficiencies in people’s workflow and create solutions to make their day.

Eddie is continually assisting residents—from setting up Kindles to phones to computers. He rebuilt the computer lab that is available to residents in Rose Schnitzer Manor so there is always working technology accessible to our seniors.

Eddie has also helped the human resources team with their technology needs, said Human Resources Director Geneva Dougal. “Eddie understands the challenges and viewpoints of the different departments and role of the entire organization in a way that few people on campus can do. He uses his understanding to work well with each department and create win-win solutions. Plus, he is just a nice guy.”

A snowstorm in late December 2021 left many caregivers who lived in the hills struggling to get to work. Eddie set up a call system to make it easier than previous years for both dispatchers and caregivers to connect for rides. Eddie’s system relied upon an auto transfer to the relevant people, so caregivers only had to call one phone number, which greatly improved efforts behind dispatching rides to get them to Cedar Sinai Park. And Eddie didn’t just manage the technology. Once the dozens of calls from caregivers began coming in, he hopped in the Cedar Sinai van to pick people up, delivering them to work, and then taking them home at the end of their shift.

Gaming as a small boy growing up in Portland pushed Eddie towards tech, but it was the motivation to customize his Android phone that really ignited his passion. While at Beaverton High School, Eddie’s parents said he couldn’t have a phone until he was able to pay for it himself.

“So, I started working at Cedar Sinai Park,” said Eddie. “And I learned how to hack my phone so I could do tricks with it, and then I wanted to do that with other stuff. My interest cascaded from there.

“My favorite thing is to find inefficiencies in people’s workflow and create solutions to make their day,” said Eddie. “If I can find a solution to make their everyday better, they’re happier, and then we can provide better service to our residents. Whether it’s a small task like creating an Excel spreadsheet to auto-calculate, or a big one like automating entire workflows, I like to help people be happier.”

Recently, Eddie has taken on several projects of his own accord just because he knows what it’s like to walk in others’ shoes and he wants to boost efficiencies. One success includes creating a computer application that allows the front desk upstairs in Rose Schnitzer Manor to better communicate with the kitchen downstairs regarding “to go” orders received from residents. And Eddie is in the process of building, from scratch, a kiosk for servers to send food orders directly to the kitchen so they can stay in the dining room and attend to residents’ needs while the food is prepared.

I believe in our mission of helping the community, and I feel like I can make positive changes here.

“We have two kitchens at Rose Schnitzer Manor because we are kosher and they are both huge,” said Eddie. “Anything we can do to reduce those steps for servers can only be a good thing.” Having been a server, Eddie knows exactly what he is talking about and hopes to improve the dining experience for residents, and the work environment for servers.

Eddie also recently immersed himself into the process of hiring new employees. He worked with our human resources team to examine the long onboarding checklist required when we are bringing people into the fold as employees and determined that some of the requirements could be done online. Eddie worked directly with our representatives at Paylocity to learn how their program could work better for Cedar Sinai Park. He created systems so that much of the new hire paperwork could be tackled by DocuSign. And he initiated a project management system online that breaks down, into key steps, what new hires need to do to come on board and be part of the Cedar Sinai Park team.

“I often hear, “you just walked up and pushed a button, and that’s so frustrating for me!”,” said Eddie. “My reply is that people are offloading their information technology knowledge to me, just like I am offloading my knowledge [about their areas of expertise] to them. That’s generally how I view the way we all serve one another.”

A big outdoorsman—try to catch Eddie with a coat on!— he loves camping, fishing, disc golf, and overlanding in his truck.

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