School of Information Sciences - Alumni & Friends

Undergraduate Alumni Profiles

Please note: All content was accurate at the time of publication, but may not reflect the most current achievements of these alumni.

Michael S. Williams

Title:Senior Vice President-North American Flat-Roll Operations
Employer:U.S. Steel
Degree: BSIS
Graduation Year:1983

Michael S. Williams, a native of Murrysville, PA, earned a BSIS Degree with a minor in Economics in 1983 from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1998, he graduated from Indiana University at Bloomington’s Executive Management Program. Williams currently serves as Senior Vice President-North American Flat-Roll Operations for U.S. Steel, with responsibility for all flat-rolled operations, sales, marketing, customer service and supply chain functions across the company’s North American facilities. 

Before joining U. S. Steel in 1992, Williams held increasingly responsible managerial positions at several companies including Koppers Corporation and Armco Steel Corporation. He began his U. S. Steel career at the company’s Mon Valley Works near Pittsburgh, Pa., as a senior process control engineer. In 1994, he advanced to division manager-systems and process control at Gary Works in Gary, Ind., before assuming oversight responsibilities for some of the facility’s steel producing operations in 1996. During the next three years, he served as division manager for steel producing-South, steel producing-North, and hot rolling.

In 1999, Williams accepted a position with Ormet Corporation, an aluminum producer headquartered in Wheeling, W.Va. He progressed through executive posts in both operations and sales before he was named president and chief operations officer in 2002 and president and chief executive officer in 2004. In 2006, Williams joined Cleveland, Ohio-based Special Metals Corporation as vice president-commercial products.

Williams returned to U. S. Steel as general manager of Gary Works in September 2006 and was responsible for the steelmaking and finishing operations at the Gary, Ind., facility, tin production at the East Chicago Tin Plant in East Chicago, Ind., and finishing operations at the Midwest Plant in Portage, Ind. He was elected vice president-Operations, Midwest in March 2008 and oversaw operations at Gary Works, which includes the East Chicago Tin Plant and the Midwest Plant; Granite City Works in Granite City, Ill.; Fairfield Works’ flat-rolled operation; and Minnesota Ore Operations, the company’s iron ore mining and pelletizing facilities in Mt. Iron, Minn., (Minntac) and Keewatin, Minn., (Keetac).

Williams was appointed to his current post in April 2009 with responsibility for all flat-rolled operations, sales, marketing, customer service and supply chain functions across the company’s North American facilities.

Williams is a member of the Board of Directors for three U. S. Steel joint ventures: Acero Prime (U. S. Steel, Feralloy Mexico, S.R.L. de C.V. and Mitsui & Co. (USA), Inc.); Chrome Deposit Corporation (U. S. Steel and Court Holdings); and PRO-TEC Coating Company (U. S. Steel and Kobe Steel, Ltd.).

Olivia Green

Title: Programmer Analyst
Employer: PPG Industries
Degree: BSIS, BSBA
Graduation Year: 2013

Olivia is currently a Programmer Analyst for PPG Industries in their Architectural Coatings Department in the Digital Marketing Team.  She also works part-time for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their marketing department as an Alumni Marketing Events Intern.  Being heavily involved at the University, doing well academically at the School of Information Sciences, and being a part of the iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) qualified her for a scholarship with PPG Industries which turned into a summer internship and then a full-time offer by the beginning of her senior year.  At PPG, Olivia has developed her own mobile application from front to back, helped with the development and promotion of over 10 websites, and supported a $1 million application that is being installed in over 500 stores in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Olivia writes: I am very grateful for the opportunities I had while in school, particularly with the School of Information Sciences.  The technical skills I learned helped prepare me for my full-time job with PPG, but most importantly I made such a great network at the school; a network that I continue to use to this day with awesome faculty members, staff, and peers.   I would recommend to any undergraduate student, to not only develop your technical skills, but also your people skills.  Networking will remain vital in your career, and your ability to talk to and work effectively with people is one of the hardest but most rewarding skills to have.

Justin Reese

Title: Founder and CEO/Founder and Director
Employer: Builder Code Works/Code & Supply
Degree: BSIS
Graduation Year: 2009

Justin Reese is a leader in Pittsburgh's software community and founder of his own application development consulting shop, Builder Code Works.

It was a strange path that lead him there and one that made him one of just a few millennials to have professional COBOL usage on his résumé. Since graduating in 2009 from the School of Information Sciences, Justin has held roles at Fortune 500 institutions, eight-person startups, fast-growing tech companies, and impactful community organizations. Having positions as both a programmer and business analyst, Justin built on his iSchool coursework to have a genuine understanding of software and its entire lifecycle.

After a brief stint in North Carolina, Justin returned to his home of Pittsburgh to continue his career as a Ruby on Rails developer and run three great years of the Steel City Ruby Conference, bringing hundreds of professional developers from around the world to his favorite city.

Now Justin runs Code & Supply, a community organization focused on growing Pittsburgh's software community and providing great educational content. Justin's second company, Builder Code Works, is a company that helps early stage companies with their business needs by developing custom software applications.

Kenneth J. Spangler       

Title:  Senior Vice President and CIO
Employer: FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight Systems         
Degree:  BSIS
Graduation Year:  1988

Information Technology is a field that is not only exciting and ever changing, but even more importantly is a field that enables you to work across many different disciplines in any business.  In my more than 25 years in IT, I have seen the transformation to what is now Enterprise Technology, where IT is a key enabler of virtually every aspect and discipline in all businesses. 

From designing and writing software systems after graduating with a BSIS from PITT to my current IT executive role at FedEx, I have seen first-hand how technology has not only transformed our own FedEx businesses, but also how it enables access to millions of customers and consumers all over the world.  From large commercial businesses to individuals receiving packages at home – there is extensive technology making it all happen, every minute of every day.  And that is just one of the reasons that a career in IT is not only rewarding, but also every challenging. 

While I have enjoyed the continuous evolution of technology during my years in IT, I often find myself wishing I was coming out of school during this era, as I personally believe there will be much more dramatic and exciting change in the next 5-8 years than there has been in the past 25 years.  Today there is a convergence of technology factors that are enabling transformational “connectedness”.  The integration of mobile, social, and sensor technologies is significant, and the opportunities for businesses and technology professionals going forward will be boundless. 

I encourage students and professionals to embrace the significant challenges and opportunities that come as part of the Information Technology field – because the rewards – personal and professional are fantastic!     

Eric Spiegel

Title: Vice President of Virtualization Solutions
Employer: GANTECH
Degree: BSIS
Graduation Year: 1988

Eric is an accomplished senior technology manager with significant experience in software product operations and implementations. Eric is currently Vice President of Virtualization Solutions at GANTECH, a systems integrator based in Columbia, MD.  After graduation, Eric moved to the Washington DC Metro Area and spent 10 years as a software developer and technology consultant. He has since spent almost two decades working in various senior management roles at multiple early stage software firms, including co-founding a software start-up. Eric also is a successful technology journalist who provides commentary on a wide range of IT management and career topics. He holds a BS in Information Science from Pitt and an MS in Information Technology Management from the Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School. Eric and his wife Jennifer (A&S, 1988) have two young daughters and reside in Ellicott City, MD.  The Spiegel family endowed the “Jennifer and Eric Spiegel Book Award” in 2000, which offers an annual book award to one undergraduate student from both the iSchool and the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences. Students submit essays on technology and communications topics and over 25 students have received the award.

Scott Thornton

Title: Engineer IV Consultant – Network Engineering and Operations
Employer: Verizon Communications
Degree: BSIS
Graduation Year: 1993

Scott took his first technology related position during his senior year, working for a small company managing their network, which consisted mostly of Apple IIe computers. One of his favorite memories from that position was calling their clients and asking them, “Would you go to our website to access our information?” Who would even think about asking that today?

Scott moved on to a position with Verizon Communications (formerly Bell Atlantic of PA). In this position, he put the principles and fundamentals of telecommunications that he learned during my course work at the iSchool (formerly SLIS) to use. Scott writes, “It is amazing how much technology has evolved.  Most of us carry a cell phone that is more powerful than any of the original computers.”

Scott currently worsk on Verizon FiOS, providing technical support to our internal customers. In September 2004, he assisted turning up some of the first FiOS equipment to be deployed in the United States. “Working with new technology provides new challenges every day. I still use many of the problem solving methods that I learned from the faculty and staff at Pitt. The technology may be constantly changing, but the basic principles are all still the same.”