Fun facts about new staff: Who was once John Legend’s neighbor?

Get to know 16 new coworkers through their answers to goofy questions. Find out who used to be neighbors with singer John Legend, and who owns more Raspberry Pies than they care to admit.

Keep reading even further to for a special UPMCE Fun Facts Throwback with a longtime staff member who decided to become a computer programmer when he was 10.

Xavier Torgerson, Software Engineer-Associate, Jupiter

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? Go Steelers!

What’s your favorite quote from a movie or TV series? “You talking to me?” – Taxi Driver.

Do you have an unusual hobby? Woodworking. Here’s a picture of my guitar in progress.

Where in the universe would you like to visit someday? The Edge.

What’s in your perfect meal? Flour, Water, and Salt.

Kathryn Heffernan, Associate Product Manager, Population Health

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? I grew up north of Philadelphia, and my family moved to Pittsburgh when I was in high school.

Do you have any kids? Any pets? I’m hoping to get a dog very soon.

Where in the universe would you like to visit someday? Antarctica.

What’s in your perfect meal? Hot sauce.

Michael (Mike) Golden, Product Management, Neutrino

How did you get into the industry? Building remote patient monitoring products at Qualcomm and Philips.

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? Pittsburgh n’at.

What’s in your perfect meal? I just started making a mean filet mignon.

Which is better: board games or video games? My daughter beats me at board games, and my son beats me at video games, so neither.

Jeana Hollis, Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? Born and raised in the Pittsburgh area! I grew up in Greensburg, but I left for college and was gone for a very long time. Happy to be back home.

Do you have any kids? Any pets? I have two sons, ages 3 and 5. They can be animals (and also very cuddly), so we have the pet vibe covered for now.

If any musician or band could give you a personal concert, who would it be? John Legend. He used to be my neighbor when I lived in New York (and he went by John Stephens). He was a really nice guy and a good neighbor!

Shannon Balke, Senior Designer – Hospitals of the Future

How did you get into the industry? I started out as a biomedical engineer working on medical devices but wanted to do something closer to people and more on the creative end of the spectrum. I ended up getting my master’s degree in Interaction Design and switched to being a designer!

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? I grew up in two different upstate New York cities, Binghamton and Buffalo. My favorite thing about Binghamton is the Cider Mill, a local apple cider press that also makes the best old-fashioned plain donuts ever!

Do you have an unusual talent or hobby? I recently got my license as a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). I haven’t started yet, but I’m thinking I might take occasional volunteer shifts. Even just the training alone was such an eye-opening experience!

Melissa Lee, Senior Business Analyst, Hospitals of the Future

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? Grew up in Louisiana but lived in a number of cities since then.

Do you have any kids? Any pets? A cat and a dog. Both want to come to Bring your Dog to Work Day!

If any musician or band could give you a personal concert, who would it be? The Black Keys.

Jesse Weimer, Cloud Infrastructure Engineer, DSO

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? Pittsburgh born and raised in the southeast suburbs.

What’s in your perfect meal? A really good burrito can be eaten for every meal.

What makes you a geek (if you consider yourself one)? I own more Raspberry Pi’s than I care to admit.

 

Caitlin Kelley, Associate Product Manager – MyUPMC

How did you get into the industry? I studied English and Art History at Notre Dame and then had to get a job. I was hired by Epic to be a QA’er and the industry was a great match for me.

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? I am a Pittsburgh local who has moved back to her childhood zip code after 11 years in the Midwest.

Do you have any kids? Any pets? Meet Gilbert. He’s a fish. His name is a pun (because he has gills).

Kim Robinson (Mom, Mommy, Mom…Mom!), Operations & Event Coordinator, Center for Connected Medicine

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? Born and raised a Bleeding Buckeye from Ohio but grew up coming to Three Rivers for games with extended family here in the area. We’ve just relocated from Chicagoland and are excited to be “back.” My husband, Micah, is originally from the Boston area – my three stepchildren are split between Cubs and Red Sox loyalties, but our 5-year-old daughter has already decided she’s a Pirates fan. She looks forward to her first trip to PNC Park in a couple of weeks! Our wedding was baseball themed, complete with bobblehead cake toppers.

What’s your favorite quote from a movie or TV series? I can literally have a conversation in movie & TV quotes.

What makes you a geek (if you consider yourself one)? I truly, truly love small world moments and have a random memory for details.

Free space: Share any fun fact! I look forward to learning to snowboard this winter!

Holly Smith, Project Coordinator, Full Health

How did you get into the industry? The school that I was attending for my master’s degree sent an email out to the students with this job opportunity – I responded to it and here I am!

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? Born and raised in the Burgh!

Do you have any kids? Any pets? No human kids but one cat (Lulu) who acts like a kid.

Free space: Share any fun fact! I love to be outdoors-biking, boating, kayaking, running, traveling, hitting the beach or relaxing at a pool! (The picture is from Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah during a visit there earlier this year!)

Zariel Johnson, Program Manager, Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance (PHDA)

Do you have an unusual talent or hobby? I brew my own kombucha at home and have lots of starter cultures to share with anyone who would like to start brewing their own!

What’s in your perfect meal? Banana, peanut butter, cinnamon, and chocolate.

Which is better: board games or video games? Board games. Even better is the card game Set!

Devin Dressman, Senior Director-Business Development, ITTC

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? I am a transplant. While I did my graduate work here and met my wife here (who is a native Pittsburgher), I was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM.

Do you have any kids? Any pets? Two kids and a fish. My children are 9 and 12, Elise and Logan (respectively). We inherited the fish from a science experiment in my son’s class (his name is Poseidon).

Do you have an unusual talent or hobby? I like to play soccer, fly fish, and ski. I played 3 sports in college (football, track and ski racing). I was an avid ski racer, making the national championship three times and a two-time academic All-American. Not sure if ski-racing is an unusual hobby, but maybe?

Where in the universe would you like to visit someday? I would really like to go to the Moon or Mars, but my wife insists that I cannot go into space?!?

Tyler Mincemoyer, Product Manager, Consumer

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? I grew up in State College and I’m a pretty big Penn Stater so working for UPMC is definitely going to be an adjustment.

Where in the universe would you like to visit someday? My wife and I really enjoy unplugging and being outdoors on vacation, so I’d love to get out to Alaska in the near future.

What’s in your perfect meal? Bar Marco in the strip when they aren’t busy.

Amy Hepner, Scrum Master, MyUPMC

How did you get into the industry? I was working as a math teacher and noticing all of this research coming out about the impacts technology was predicted to have on education. I became fascinated with machine learning and pursued a master’s degree in statistics. I’ve since worked in the start-up world doing data science. Couldn’t be happier to shift focus a bit and leverage my more intuitive skills as a Scrum Master for the MyUPMC team.

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? I’m a Pittsburgh native but I lived in three other states and two countries before returning home.

Do you have an unusual talent or hobby? I love hammock camping and bikepacking.

Alexis Miller, Product Manager, MyUPMC

How did you get into the industry? I transferred departments within UPMC Health Plan and changed from being a project manager to a product manager, thanks to my boss believing in me and giving me a chance.

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? I am a Pittsburgh local and have lived in Pittsburgh most of my life.

Do you have an unusual talent or hobby? I don’t just love browsing Zillow. I’m a partner in a real estate business that owns and manages three rental units and is currently renovating a commercial building.

Where in the universe would you like to visit someday? I’m dying to hike in Patagonia, South America. (The included photo is me hiking at Bryce National Park in Utah).

Free space: Share any fun fact! I’m board president of the non-profit Construction Junction, and I’m a twin and have two siblings who are twins. That’s two fun facts.

Rehan Butt, Designer, NGI

Are you a Pittsburgh local or did you grow up elsewhere? I grew up elsewhere in many different places, including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Hawaii.

What’s in your perfect meal? Lots of fruit!

Free space: Share any fun fact! Outside of my work here at UPMCE, I build an education technology platform called Processly (https://processly.io).

And now for the Fun Facts Throwback …
Chris Myers, Engineering Manager, Vincent/ParlaiQ/Abstraction Genie

How did you get into the industry? After I realized that I was not going to be able to do my dream jobs (Astronaut, Fighter Jet Pilot) I settled on computer programmer (I was 10).

How long have you been working at UPMCE? Since December 2010.

What’s changed the most since you started here? Pretty much everything. When I started we were 30-40 employees on the third floor.

Thinking about your work, what is the funniest thing you used to use tech-wise that you don’t use anymore? Dumb terminals, dot matrix printers, etc.

As technology has evolved throughout the years, what stands out to you the most? So much has changed, computers that filled rooms to now being credit card sized (and smaller), cell phones going from being hard wired into cars to fitting in pockets.

What’s your favorite part about working here? I love the space, my commute, the people I get to work with, and how collaborative that we are.

Do you have an unusual talent or hobby? I have a lot of hobbies/interests none of them are unusual (running, biking, 4X4ing, hiking, etc.)

Share any fun fact: I am the oldest UPMCE/TDC employee.