Q&A with Special Program Administrator Brian Faddis

photo of Brian Faddis and resident Carla Valenzuela in simulation lab
Brian Faddis, PhD, left, and Carla Valenzuela discuss equipment needs for a surgical dissection. Photo: Matt Miller/Washington University School of Medicine

This month, in a Q&A takeover, a group of administrative staff turned the tables on the man who usually asks the questions, Brian Faddis, PhD.

What is your current role in the department and of all your varied responsibilities what do you like most?

I am called a special program administrator, which I think means I do a little bit of everything. I enjoy managing the surgical simulation lab because I get to interact with residents and faculty from three different departments. Photography and writing for the newsletter and website are great creative outlets for me. I also do a lot of teaching in the PACS program and assist with various tech and AV issues as needed. One of my favorite responsibilities is getting to meet and photograph every new member of our ENT family.

According to Faddis, gardening is all about creating an oasis that you wouldn’t mind retiring to.

What is the most important thing you learned working with Dr. Chole so many years?

I started working in Dr. Chole’s lab as an undergraduate at UC Davis, so our relationship has now spanned four decades. It was actually his leadership style that made the first and most significant impact on me – you can be an effective leader by instilling a sense of purpose; trust that people will do what’s right; give them the creative freedom to do their best work; and you can give them a second chance if they need it.

California is so different than St. Louis.  Do you like living in St. Louis?

Well, it’s hard to beat living 90 minutes from the Pacific Ocean in one direction and 90 minutes from Lake Tahoe in the other direction. St. Louis has been a wonderful place to raise a family, but we do miss our extended family in California.

From the way-back machine: Faddis and wife Dana attend a baby shower for Ruth Gill in the Ogura Learning Center.

How did you become interested in baking, and what did you make for dinner last night?

Baking is another one of those things I learned because it makes people happy. And, my own style of baking was the direct result of trying to bake things the way my wife Dana liked them. I’ve almost got it down. Dinner last night was Chicken Marsala with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts. Don’t think that happens every night – the previous night it was Costco hot dogs.

What do you like to do when you aren’t at work?

When I’m not here, you can find me teaching at the community college, playing with the grandkids, gardening, or working on some home improvement project. We’re currently refinishing the basement. DIY is the only way to do things around our house. I’m sometimes surprised at how well things turn out, but then again, I do have the world’s best supervisor.

What do you like best, teaching or coaching?

photo of grandkids in the garden
Faddis finds time for his hobbies by combining several passions into one setting – here by planting grandchildren Austin and Cameron in the garden for a photo shoot.

Not to sound like a teacher, but that’s a great question! I was a gymnast in high school and college and actually worked my way through college and beyond as a gymnastics coach. And, I now coach a local summer springboard diving team. Coaching forces you to deal with athletes one-to-one and appreciate their individual learning styles. That experience provided me with a great foundation for teaching at any level, even college. I think if you do it right, teaching and coaching are one in the same.