From Drill Instructor, to Entrepreneur, to Technology Manager

Student Government Association President Richard Rushlow

Managing projects is the “’format of life’ for me because I am goal oriented,” says Richard Rushlow, who was recently named the President of the Student Government Association at Golden Gate University. His drive to succeed brought him to the military (in which he advanced to Drill Instructor), to GGU for an undergraduate degree with financial support from the VA, and to the Silicon Valley where he started an info tech support company for Biotech firms. At his most recent job, he implemented an MPLS circuit and Cisco VOIP system across 15 offices for the American Red Cross of the Bay Area. He is now back at GGU to pursue an MS in Information Technology Management.

Rushlow says there are many similarities between managing technology projects and being a military leader. “Both roles require professionalism, discipline, competence, attention to detail, and of course a sense of humor. Military and civilian organizations require managers to adapt their interpersonal skills to an audience. You also have to prepare and follow the plan you are given, motivate and focus the personnel, hold training sessions, make sure no obstacles hold your team from reaching the intended goal, and developing a strong team dynamic.”

What about the differences? As an undergraduate, Rushlow says he learned about managing in a less regimented organization. “One important soft skill I have learned at GGU is how to listen actively,” he says. “In the undergraduate program, I increased my patience as a leader, which is huge. Building relationships is enormously important.”

As the SGA President, my main focus is to improve the student experience here at GGU by making myself readily available, listening to and addressing the students concerns, supporting and attending GGU club events, and participating and supporting every school-sponsored event for the Ageno School of Business.


Technology Implementation Project at GGU

As part of the MS in ITM program, Rushlow worked with a team to move a Hadoop installation to an AWS cloud deployment. The project also allows each student to choose whatever language (SQL, R, Python, or Oracle) they want to use on the DB environment. This innovation allows students to use their PCs to work in the same environment simultaneously, as well as granting easier access for each assignment to the instructors. Along with a peer, he gave a course presentation on how they set up the new configuration.

What practical things does Rushlow want to do with the MS in ITM degree? “Besides better opportunities to work in a high-level management position, the MS in ITM demonstrates increasing confidence to make effective decisions that are supported with strategic and creative thinking – also the ability to remain focused, convey empathy, and project contagious energy.”


More about the MS in Information Technology Management program >>

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