By K. Richard Douglas
In Portland, Oregon and surrounding areas, veterans of the United States Armed Forces are served by the VA Portland Health Care System and the medical center there. The health care system serves 95,000 veterans in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The first structure on the campus of the present day hospital was dedicated in 1929. The current medical center was opened in 1988. There is another campus in Vancouver, Washington and 10 outpatient centers.
One of the facility’s imaging professionals is Adam Byrd. He also serves as treasurer of the Oregon Biomedical Association. Byrd has worked at the VA medical center as a biomed for 10 years and has spent the last five years as an imaging specialist.
“While working in the hospital in 2005 I met a person who worked in biomed and I went down to the biomed shop and was immediately interested in the field. There was an opportunity to get hired on as an imaging technician after years of interning, I had the good fortune of being hired,” Byrd remembers.
Like many in the industry, Byrd’s initial training came by way of the military.
“I was an electro-optics ordnance repairman in the Marine Corps for five years,” he says. “I also attended Portland Community College in the EET program and attended three imaging service training courses at DITEC as well as vendor-specific radiographic and ultrasound training.”
He also earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Since entering the field, Byrd has been a biomed intern, medical equipment repairman and a biomedical equipment support specialist-imaging.
Applying Soft Skills
In the challenges and projects department, Byrd says that a PACS upgrade and juggling several balls at once can challenge even the most experienced imaging specialist.
“As the field evolves to encompass more high-level networking, I have had to adapt and develop my skill set to accommodate. I have been managing a few major facility and regional projects, one of which involves adding new servers as part of an upgrade to our current cardiology PACS system. I have been handling the documentation, the installation, the IT integration and implementation including port configurations, ACL design, core switch connection, HL7 assembly, etcetera,” he explains.
Byrd says that it has been a challenge to learn new processes and complete all of the tasks while being responsible for all other areas, including imaging equipment repairs, networking, PACS administration, server maintenance and PMs.
“Part of being good is being able to multitask and prioritize work; which can be very difficult at times especially in imaging, where everything is an emergency,” Byrd adds.
Byrd was elected as the treasurer of the Oregon Biomedical Association in April as part of a two-year voluntary appointment. This gives him a chance to connect with the local imaging and biomedical community and “offer my experience and energy to increase awareness of our field, emphasis and improve accreditation, and educate them on new or existing equipment,” he says.
When asked what ICE readers should know about him, Byrd points out his focus on the importance of “soft skills.”
“I try my best to connect with my customers and really cultivate a positive relationship with all the people I can in the areas I support. It is all about helping people and communicating effectively. In my opinion, technical skills can be acquired easily, but the intangibles are hard to come by,” he says.
“I pride myself on being a good communicator and being able to adapt to any situation regardless of the stress level or urgency. I have been involved with the local biomed community for years, recently becoming the treasurer of the Oregon Biomedical Association. I truly love talking to my fellow biomeds about their careers, the equipment they work on, and the direction this field is going,” Byrd adds.
“I find biomedical engineering fascinating and I want to share my passion and inquisitive nature with like-minded people. All biomeds share a common bond, as my mentor Keith Momberg used to say; ‘Them boys ain’t right.’ ”
Byrd still lives relatively close to his family. His two sisters, mother and father all live in the northwest. In his off time, he enjoys snowboarding, basketball, playing music, hiking and fishing.
Byrd is bringing his commitment to the field to the Portland area imaging community in an effort to connect with colleagues as well as customers.