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The People Behind the ERA Project

Last year, we published a blog post about the full-time positions we planned to hire to sufficiently support the ERA Project. And we couldn’t be more pleased to now report that the positions have been filled and those who filled them have been working hard and exceeding expectations from the start.

We’re excited to introduce them to you all, but before we do, we’ll quickly recap each position’s role and responsibilities.

What They’ll Be Doing

ERA Development Manager

As ERA development manager, Rusty Earl is responsible for managing the day-to-day technical operations of each module team. While Gwen Hazlehurst, assistant vice chancellor for Enterprise Application Services, and Senior Applications Directors Jack Foster and Ron Reed provide high-level leadership and oversight, Earl plays the key role of serving as the primary technical point-of-contact. He is ultimately the one responsible for ensuring the end-users’ requirements are properly incorporated into the ERA system. To do this, Earl will work with both NC State subject matter experts and InfoEd representatives — making perfect use of his combination of technical expertise and knowledge of NC State research administration business processes.

Technical Business Analysts

Technical Business Analysts Angie Fullington and Natalie Boone, together with Earl, make up the technical unit for each module team.

Fullington and Boone will primarily be responsible for helping inform decisions about things such as system configuration (i.e., how to best set up the layout of a page or form) and data migration (i.e., how to best transfer old data needed for reporting etc. into the ERA system). They’ve already established strong working relationships with vendor representatives so that changes that need to be made by InfoEd can be facilitated as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Their job also entails working in tandem with the functional business analysts (functional leads) throughout the entire module development process to turn the functional requirements of the system into the tools that will be needed to satisfy those requirements.

Fullington and Boone may also be referred to as “module team leads,” as they will be the people primarily responsible for “keeping the trains running,” says Project Manager Rick Liston — meaning they’ll be making sure the module team is completing tasks on schedule or adjusting the schedule accordingly. Fullington will be the module team lead on Sponsored Programs — which will begin with the implementation of submodules Proposal Tracking and Award Tracking — while Boone has taken the lead on Animal Care and Use and will take the lead on Conflict of Interest.

Functional Business Analysts

Lauren Horne and Lakshmi Ramanathan are responsible for serving as the functional leads on their respective modules. Horne will take the lead on Sponsored Programs, while Ramanathan will take the lead on all compliance modules. Both Horne and Ramanathan will lead efforts such as eliciting system requirements and designing user acceptance testing sessions.

They will need to have an expert understanding of the system’s technical aspects, but as functional business analysts, their focus will be on refining business processes and making them more efficient. This means their primary goal is to ensure users’ needs are heard — and then met — by the ERA system, which not only involves seeking users’ perspectives but sometimes also requires them to find new, innovative solutions to inefficiencies and other longstanding issues.

All the business analysts, both functional and technical, will help yield innovative solutions that will be pivotal throughout the course of implementation. Additionally, all business analysts will assist in varying technical support capacities throughout module go-live periods and they will also help ensure training and communication throughout the ERA Project are timely and effective.

ERA Training Manager

ERA Training Manager Lynley Wentzel is responsible for leading the development and delivery of campus training for the ERA system. Wentzel will tailor her training plans to meet the unique needs of each module’s implementation process and the users who will be affected.

She’ll solicit input from numerous subject matter experts to plan and develop content, while also working closely with the functional analysts to identify major procedural changes and any aspects of the system that may potentially impede users’ abilities to learn new processes.

These six individuals will play key roles across every module — but there are many other hard-working contributors who have been and will continue to be essential to the project’s success. Without soliciting the support and input of many different perspectives from early on, successfully completing our project mission would not be possible.

To see a complete record of everyone who’s been involved with the project to this point, visit the Project Teams page.

Who They Are

Rusty Earl, ERA Development Managerpicture of Rusty Earl, ERA development manager

Rusty Earl was hired as the ERA development manager in summer 2018, but he’s been on campus for quite a while longer. Earl became an NC State employee in 2005, a few years after earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the university’s College of Engineering to make a career change from archaeology.

For about three of those 14 years, Earl worked directly with former Director of Research Administration IT Peter Schledorn — who designed and built RADAR and PINS. Prior to being hired as ERA development manager, Earl served as the interim director of research administration IT after Schledorn’s retirement in 2017.


Natalie Boone, Technical Business Analyst


Boone was hired as a technical business analyst in summer 2018; however, she’s actually been an integral part of the project since its inception. Prior to being hired as a technical analyst, Boone served as an administrative support specialist for the ERA Project — the only full-time position that was 100 percent dedicated to the project throughout the entire RFP phase. Working closely with Gwen Hazlehurst, Jack Foster and others — plus being present for every focus group, vendor demonstration, etc. — Boone was able to gain a thorough understanding of not only what campus needed in its new ERA system, but also the vendor-provided options’ capabilities.

Boone graduated from NC State in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in English.


picture of Angie Fullington, technical business analystAngie Fullington, Technical Business Analyst

Angie Fullington was hired for the ERA Project in fall 2018 but has been an employee of NC State for over 25 years. Fullington, who for the last 12 years led a multidisciplinary team as the web services manager in the NC State University Libraries’ User Experience department, has performed the duties of a business analyst on many software implementation projects for the libraries.

Fullington has spent her entire career working in the information technology field — from managing a help desk and a team of network administrators to spending a number of years doing IT training full-time. Her passion, though, is user experience design.

Fullington earned a master’s degree in information and library science from UNC-Chapel Hill after earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Appalachian State University. She says her undergraduate psychology degree has actually served her well in the field of user experience design, because of how heavily users’ perceptions of a system influence their interactions with it.

Fullington says she’s excited to put her background in user experience design to good use, as there will be many opportunities for iterative improvements to our highly configurable system throughout its lifetime.


Lauren Horne, Functional Business Analyst (Sponsored Programs)picture of Lauren Horne, functional business analyst

Lauren Horne was hired in January 2019, having spent the last 11 years working for Duke University in various technical capacities — first, in a high-level technical support role and most recently as a business analyst on a research management software project that involved the simultaneous implementation of two major, enterprise-level systems for the School of Medicine.

Her role on that project involved both technical (e.g., system configuration) and functional (e.g., developing requirements) responsibilities, and because she was internally recruited for the project as a subject matter expert on the old system, she was involved with every step of the project and even helped write the RFP. Horne was the lead business analyst dedicated to the implementation of a new Clinical Research Management system (CRMS), working closely with other team members to develop an interface between the new CRMS and the new Institutional Review Board (Human Subjects Research) system.

Horne, a Michigan native, earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Alma University in 2007.

picture of Lakshmi Ramanathan, functional business analyst

Lakshmi Ramanathan, Functional Business Analyst (Regulatory Compliance)

Lakshmi Ramanathan was hired in January 2019, having spent the last five years as a senior business analyst for Duke University. During her time at Duke, Ramanathan ran the gamut on implementations, working with Horne to implement the new CRMS, as well as on the implementations of the IRB system and a new Animal Management system, for which she developed the RFP. Her roles on these projects also involved both technical and functional responsibilities. Prior to Duke, Lakshmi worked at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC as a business analyst, helping implement a system for healthcare provider information management.

A native of southern India, Ramanathan earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering with a specialization in information technology from Annamalai University. She moved to the United States in 2008 and North Carolina in 2014.

Lynley Wentzel, ERA Training Manager picture of Lynley Wentzel, ERA training manager


Lynley Wentzel was hired in fall 2018, bringing abundant, wide-ranging skills she’s gained from nearly two decades of experience in the training and human resource development field. Wentzel spent much of her career working for various healthcare organizations, but her most recent role revolved around a large-scale software implementation project for a major banking organization.

Wentzel holds a master’s degree in leadership and organizational development, and she is pursuing a doctorate in human resource development and training in NC State’s College of Education, which she anticipates completing this fall. Having also earned an undergraduate degree in anthropology, Wentzel brings an uncommon, added perspective of someone who understands the cultural reasons behind human behavior and learning.

What’s Next

As the April launch date for the Animal Care and Use module approaches, you can expect to hear important information such as who to contact for various technical support needs and when the module will officially go live.

We’ll also soon begin talking about the Sponsored Programs and Conflict of Interest modules in the coming weeks. So stay tuned to your email inbox and this blog!