RIT 2016 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARDS

Tad Hunt Bio

2016 GCCIS Distinguished Alumnus Tad Hunt '97 Talks Team Building, Trust, and, Of Course, Tech


While Exablox Co-Founder and former CTO Tad Hunt ’97 is certainly proud of the technology he built at the startup that revolutionized data storage by making it scalable, the team he built there is perhaps his biggest accomplishment.

“The dream of every good founder is to build such a great team that you work yourself out of a job,” Hunt said. This year he was able to do just that.

Hunt recently joined Google as a Technical Lead and Manager for App Engine, a platform that enables users to more easily create and run applications in the cloud. Customers simply upload their applications and the platform takes care of the rest. App Engine is what current social media favorite, SnapChat, is built on.

In his new role, Hunt will be able to motivate and inspire his team to create. It’s the type of leadership position he started gravitating towards during his tenure at Exablox.

“It’s not enough to just be the best in your field, individually. You can do things much bigger than yourself if you work in a team,” Hunt said. “Creating and growing Exablox taught me how to translate my technical ability to leadership ability.”

Team building and teamwork are concepts that have grown with Hunt through an unlikely avenue—rock climbing. An avid and accomplished climber, the lessons learned from his hobby have informed his career in technology as well.

“In rock climbing you need to first trust your partner and second trust the system you’ve built,” Hunt says. “Learning that level of trust helps you to let go and accept the consequences, should it fail.”

Hunt has climbed some of the most difficult peaks in nature and in business, and he encourages others to do the same. “Pick something you’re a little bit scared to try. Push your limits and always find something more challenging. You need to be open to, and accept, fear and failing. Use that fear as a tool.”

It is this mindset that has driven Hunt’s success and allowed him to become this year’s Distinguished Alumnus from the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.