Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, just across the river from Chattanooga, David attended UTK and received a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, he moved to New Orleans, Louisiana and started working in the Computer Science Department at the University of New Orleans. David later moved to St. Louis, Missouri and took a job as a network engineer. In 2006 he moved back to his hometown and began working for UTC in 2008. In December of 2012, David took a job with the University of Tennessee System Administration Information Security Office as the Senior Security Analyst at the UTC campus. As of August 2014 David has returned to UTC as the Senior Information Security Analyst reporting to Michael Dinkins.
We recently spoke with David about his experiences here at the university and his opinions about what's currently in the works:
UTC Web: So, David...can I call you David?
David: Please do. I mean, if you called me Sally, that'd just be strange.
UTC Web: Sure enough. Can you tell us what brought you back to the Chattanooga valley after all those years away?
David: Yep. I missed the south. I never really felt comfortable anywhere else. And my wife and I really wanted to get closer to family. Her family isn't in a place where the job market fits our skill sets, so here we are.
UTC Web: Do you mind if I ask what your wife does?
David: Nope. She teaches chemistry at Chattanooga State Technical Community College. After she got her PhD from the University of New Orleans, she went to work at Xavier University down there. We kinda followed her job market when we decided to move around. It's tougher for her to find a job with it having to be a very specific sort of thing....teaching that subject at that level, etc.
UTC Web: That seems logical. So why UTC?
David: Well, like I said, the timing of my wife finding something, then there being an opening for me near by is tricky. When she saw the Chatt State opening, we had to do a little shuffling. I talked my old boss into letting me work out of their Huntsville office so that she could take the job here and I could move too. It included a telecommute and a real commute for me for a while. After a couple of years of that, there was a networking position open up at UTC and I jumped at it.
UTC Web: But that's not where you ended up, right?
David: No. That job ended up going to someone else.
UTC Web: You didn't get that job, but you were given another one at UTC.
David: Sorta. I interviewed for another position and was offered the job of IT Team Lead.
UTC Web: How was that experience?
David: It's tough going from a corporate environment to an educational institution. I had a few adjustments to make. But, overall, I had a great time with it. And I'm not just saying this...the people I worked with were/are some really good folks. They know their stuff and have a huge amount of institutional knowledge. I just hope that I added a little bit to the melting pot over the last few years.
UTC Web: After 4 years of that, you took a different position, but you were still here at the UTC campus. How weird was that?
David: It wasn't three headed dog weird, but it was different. I liked the fact that I still got to see and work with the people I'd been working with since '08, but the job duties definitely changed.
UTC Web: How so?
David: I saw my role as assessment and compliance. My job was based more around information security. We need to look out for these slippery "hacker" types.
UTC Web: Ain't that the truth. So, what did you do about it?
David: I going worked with the local security group to make sure we were doing everything we could to secure data and make sure the business of the university runs as smoothly as possible.
UTC Web: And now I hear you've switched it up again?
David: Yes, I have. I'm back here with UTC, once more. I'm working for Michael Dinkins in the Information Security & Projects Office.
UTC Web: How did that happen? Seems like there might be a story there.
David: Things change. I enjoyed my time with UTSA and the ISO. That was another excellent group to get to know and work with. They're some of the sharpest people I know. The university saw a need here at UTC and thought I could help. That's what I'm here to do.
UTC Web: Good luck with that. We'll be pulling for ya. Any last words for the web?
David: Last words? How about one that I like to think of as a security quote, even if it might not be..."We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality." Feel free to Google that.