The Computer Science Department relies on many staff members to facilitate our excellence in teaching and resarch! This year, two of our staff members are celebrating milestones in their tenure with Pitt and the department.
Bob Hoffman, Director of Operations, School of Computing and Information: 40 years
Bob began his experiences at Pitt as a freshman electrical engineering student in the fall of 1973. Intending to become a broadcast engineer, he spent most of his free time working at the student radio station. The following year, he learned of an opportunity for employment in the Computer Science Department where Prof. Tom Dwyer needed an electronics technician to build circuits and apparatus for his NSF-funded Soloworks project. After a brief tour of the facilities and an interview, Bob was hired as a part-time student worker. After the grant expired at the end of 1976, Bob was offered a position in the Department of Psychiatry's electronics shop, at which time he became a regular Pitt staff member. In April 1977 he was awarded his BS degree in electrical engineering. In early 1980, Bob returned to Computer Science where he remained on the staff after the end of the grant.
Outside of Pitt, Bob has provided consulting services to a wide range of customers, including serving nine years as Technical Consultant to the NEWCOM 9-1-1 center. He is also an active volunteer, serving as president of the Fox Chapel Volunteer Fire Department since 1982, president of the Lower Allegheny Valley Firemen's Association from 1986 to 2003, Digital Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Marathon since 1985 and Race Control Operator for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix since 1983. His hobbies include ham radio (Callsign: N3CVL), photography, and video editing and production. He lives in Saxonburg, PA, with his wife Dot and daughter Elyse.
- I met my wife, Dot, through eHarmony. Their ads aren’t hype; the technology really works!
- While in high school, I decided that if my chosen career field ever went bust, I should have other skills. I spent time in the metal shop learning machinist work and welding and in the print shop learning letterpress and lithography printing. Although computing has not shown any sign of “going bust,” those skills have helped me tremendously.
- I played bassoon in high school.
- My first project for Project Solo was to connect a minicomputer to a pipe organ.
- My career choice was directly influenced by a television program on WQED, “Electronics at Work,” where the instructor started with extremely simple circuits (battery, switch, and light bulb) and progressed through seventy-five lessons to a modern television receiver. I was in the fourth grade at that time, and I understood the simple stuff and thus became fascinated with electronics. At the beginning of every lesson, the instructor was introduced as a licensed electrician on leave of absence from RCA. I decided I wanted to be a licensed electrician, too, until I found out that there was something even better called electrical engineer.
Keena Walker, Graduate Support Administrator, Department of Computer Science: 30 years
- 30 years ago, I was hired at Pitt as a front desk receptionist in Computer Science, I worked in the Mineral Industries Building, which was torn down.
- A few years later I was hired as the administrator for the Chairman of Computer Science (Bob Daley was the Chairman at that time.)
- I left that position to work as the administrator for University Professor Bruce Buchanan, who was working on Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Computational Biology.
- Dr. Martha Pollack, who was running the Intelligent Systems Program, came to me asking if I would like to work for her as the administrator for ISP. I agreed, applied for, and got the job. Martha is now the President of Cornell University.
- After Loretta Shabatura retired from Computer Science as the graduate administrator, I applied for that position and received it. I am currently in Computer Science as the Department and Graduate Support Administrator.
Fun Fact: I have 66 first cousins. My Mom had 8 siblings and my father had 8 siblings. My parents had 8 children.