Meet GCCIS Distinguished Alumnus Tad Hunt

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Tad Hunt ’97, an avid climber, is this year’s Distinguished Alumnus from the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

While Exablox co-founder and former chief technology officer 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,” he said. This year, he was able to do just that.

Hunt is the Distinguished Alumnus from the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. He will be honored during the Distinguished Alumni Award Week, April 11-15, at various on-campus events and celebrations.

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 this his new role, Hunt said, he will be able to motivate and inspire his team to create. It’s the type of leadership position he started gravitating toward 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 said. “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.”

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to a certified alumnus/a who has performed with distinction at the highest levels of his or her chosen profession; or who has contributed significantly to the advancement and leadership of noteworthy civic, philanthropic, or service organizations over the course of many years. Those honored have brought distinction to their colleges and RIT through their professional, community and/or philanthropic achievements. Check back every Thursday for more from RIT’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni.