Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Lethbridge and participated in the French Immersion program in Grades 1-12, graduating from Lethbridge Collegiate Institute. I have been married for 18 years and my wife teaches elementary music in Lethbridge. It’s wild to have both of our kids studying in French Immersion in my old stomping grounds at École Agnes Davidson. I was interested in computers and technology early on, and this led to my enrolment at ULethbridge in Computer Science. I did some part-time work in the Registrar’s Office while working through my studies and, after a one-year co-op term in Calgary, I was hired for a summer job in the Registrar’s Office, which turned into a longer role and the rest is history.
How long have you been at ULethbridge and what do you do here?
I have been with the University for 20 years this year, starting in the Registrar’s Office, then moving to IT Services and taking on several progressively senior roles since then. I was the Chief Technology Officer from 2016 – 2022, and was responsible for the day-to-day delivery of the IT Services program including the network, systems, client services, web, and applications teams. As of March 1, I have taken on a one-year interim role as the Associate Vice-President, Information Technology.
What's the best part of your job?
The people – the University is fortunate to have so many talented and dedicated staff and faculty, and it’s wonderful to be able to work alongside them as we further the institution’s mission related to teaching and research, and work to improve the student experience.
If you had a crystal ball, what would you say will be the next big information technology development(s)?
I see tremendous promise in the area of artificial intelligence (AI)-driven experiences intersecting with nudge theory. Social media companies have already built multi-billion dollar revenue streams by using algorithms to focus people’s attention in ways that generate profits for them. Separately, research in behavioural economics has shown that drawing people’s attention to choices that are good for them can make it much more likely they will choose those options. So, I think there will be increasing opportunity for technology to know things about us (like our phones and our watches already do) and to use AI to encourage us toward choices that benefit us. We see simple examples of this already when our phones or watches encourage us to get a little more exercise in before the end of the day, but I see a lot of opportunities for this to be extended to benefit health, personal finances, and even democracy. Of course, this all has to be tempered with careful attention to privacy, and to ensuring the algorithms are doing what we want and expect them to be doing, which isn’t a given when using AI and machine learning.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
As a family, we enjoy the outdoors and often hike in Waterton and camp in the Kananaskis and B.C. I love music and, after a 15-year hiatus, have picked up the guitar again and been taking lessons for the past year. I have also been playing a lot of chess with my son, and am looking forward to the day (which may be coming soon) when he can beat me consistently.