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HR Profile: Allan Wright, Research Computing Center

By Kevin Hinchey
August 8, 2007

Some people graduate from college and then never do anything in their working career that is even remotely associated with their major course of study. Others pursue that field and turn it into their livelihood. Allan Wright is a sterling example of the latter.

Wright graduated from UNH with a computer science degree in 1989. After working at the Research Computing Center (RCC) as a student employee, he spent almost 3 years working in private industry for Prime Computer / Computervision. Deciding that "the academic work environment and particularly the challenges of working for RCC were far superior to those offered by private industry" he returned to UNH as soon as a position became available. As luck would have it, that position just happened to be in the RCC.

Some of the main responsibilities of Wright's job are designing and implementing web-based database applications for researchers and university departments. He's been the lead designer and primary programmer for the housing-online system (which includes on-line damage viewing, on-line maintenance requests, on-line room assignments and on-line help request modules that student residents use) and has also done extensive programming for the admissions office (including on-line systems that allow prospective students to sign up for tours and request information about UNH with data about those requests directly available to the admissions internal student tracking system.) In addition to all of that, Wright has done websites for research projects such as BITC, GRANIT, R-Arcticnet, R-Hydronet and several WSBE research programming projects.

"Working at RCC allows me to work in the company of a very highly-skilled team," Wright says. "Being able to always tell researchers and UNH departments 'Yes, we can do that for you' and knowing that when they receive the product we produce that it will meet or exceed their expectations is very rewarding. UNH allows me to expand my skills in areas that interest me. My job continues to evolve as researcher's needs change and as part of the RCC team I'm often allowed to let my interests dictate my duties."

Wright is also the project manager for the USNH Events Registration System, and WSBE's PIPR-Net while also providing project management assistance to Patrick Messer on the CRMS (Crash Records Management System) system that RCC is creating for the State of New Hampshire's Department of Transportation.

Messer, Wright's supervisor, says "Allan's primary responsibility for RCC is software development. He works on a variety of projects each year, many of which he serves as the project lead. In addition to his IT skills, Allan has the ability to communicate effectively with both customers and colleagues. This has proved helpful since it is essential that we can effectively communicate with our customers in non technical terms. Allan is organized, competent, and professional. He is an asset to RCC and UNH."

When asked who at UNH has had a positive impact on his career, Wright says "Bill Lenharth has always been a strong leader at Research Computing and has instilled a strong sense of élan to all of the RCC employees, treating them more as a family than a department. Recently, the addition of Patrick Messer as associate director of RCC has also reinforced this tradition. It's an environment that benefits the employees as well as our customers, the researchers here at UNH."

Outside of UNH, Wright has been flying and designing model airplanes for about 15 years. "I have a strong interest in radio control gliders and I run a small web-based business in my spare time selling glider kits of gliders that I have designed and manufactured," he says. (In addition, he has a personal page with non-business related projects at: http://pease1.sr.unh.edu/aew/rc/).

"I also have a strong interest in military history, particularly the air war in World War I, the wars of the Napoleonic era and the American Revolution," he adds. "I was introduced to it by my uncle. I belong to a local club that hosts monthly meetings, and trips to battlefields and museums."

Wright and his wife, Lori (who works in the Carsey Institute at UNH), reside in Lee. They enjoy traveling, and recently have been spending vacation time in the summers seeing the eastern part of the country in their R/V motor home.

"We travel anywhere we can get to in a 7-10 day trip, which is about as long as either of us can get away from work at one time," Wright explains. "We travel to Pennsylvania and New York state a lot, with trips as far west as Sandusky, Ohio, and as far north as Niagara Falls. We hope to travel to Williamsburg, Virginia, and possibly Florida in the future. Favorite trips include Gettysburg National Park, and Niagara Falls State Park."

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