Catching up with our alums: Jeff Stanek (MST '89)
Jeff Stanek graduated from our MST program in 1989. Since then, he has had a very successful career working at various organizations throughout the Pittsburgh area. Although much has changed about the industry since that time, the skills and experiences he gained at the iSchool prepared him to adapt to those changes and excel.
How did our program prepare you for your career?
The MST program gave me a great idea of the industry at the time. It prepared me for many of the challenges and diverse technologies I would face in the work environment, and gave me a deeper professional outlook of the business world. One very important thing the MST program does is promote their students throughout their education. Because of this, I had several opportunities for employment once I graduated.
What do you consider to be your greatest professional accomplishment? Why?
Although I have been given several awards and have had various articles written about my career, I would have say that the longevity of my career within the industry has been my greatest accomplishment. I have worked for six different companies since I graduated from the program. Each position I’ve held has been a success, and my experiences have built on each other to add to my overall knowledge and skills.
How has the Telecomm industry changed since you began your career?
The change to the industry has been quite extensive. From a technical standpoint, the technologies available when I first entered the industry were quite limited. Technologies such as wireless, security, collaboration (i.e. Video, IP telephony), and IoT were in their infancy.
My first position was working on a batch processing system at Mellon Bank and the only services the carriers offered were T1’s and T3’s. Security and wireless were not even a thought at that point. Since then, so many companies have emerged; there are now hundreds of niche players that did not exist in the early 90s. Telecommunications now can mean so many things and the career options are unlimited.
What is your favorite memory of Pitt?
I have so many great memories of Pitt, but I would say my favorite is the feeling of camaraderie I had with my fellow students. I built many great friendships at the iSchool that I still have today. The experiences we had together—whether it be in the classroom or out eating lunch—were priceless.
Who was the most memorable professor at the iSchool? Why?
There were several professors that were great, but Martin Weiss was the professor the stood out the most. Professor Weiss had a great relationship with his students and related very well to them. I have been able to catch up with him for lunch over the years; it’s always great seeing him again.
What advice would you give to current student in the Telecomm program?
My advice would be to enjoy your time at the iSchool—both in class and on campus. Take advantage of the relationships you establish as well as what you learn from your professors. And finally, be engaged! There are many wonderful activities and opportunities offered that you should take advantage of. It is an experience you will never forget.
What do you see for the future of the Telecomm industry?
Without being too philosophical, I think the Telecomm industry has endless potential. Today’s generation has so much information at their fingertips—it is mind blowing. This trend will continue to grow, and our field will be there to meet whatever challenges arise. It makes me think of some of those old movies full of space travel and robots…that age is upon us!