January 30, 2012
Tony Tanzi can still remember his first computer: a green-screen model with a floppy drive that sat on his desk at his first job in the 1970s as a clerk in the purchasing department of Brown University.
Those days, Tanzi says, “technology as we know it today wasn’t in play.” But slowly, that changed. “I don’t want to say that they saw the future, but they understood the application of these new devices,” Tanzi said of his former colleagues at Brown. And as his exposure to the emerging field of computer technology increased, he couldn’t help but develop an interest toward it.
“It was clear to me that these devices could and would help all of us work smarter and not harder, be much more productive, make more positive contributions to our organization, and make our lives much better," he said. "I wanted to experience firsthand how this emerging technology would play out.”
Today, Tanzi is the director of laptop services at Wentworth, and technology has become a major part of his life. Tanzi’s wife Judy even works as a technology manager at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Outside of work, Tanzi keeps himself occupied with impressive emerging technologies such as his e-reader and Skype. “It is still amazing to me that by use of a simple computer application, in real time I can connect to, see, and speak to my relatives in America and Italy, and in places like Europe, South America, or Asia when they are traveling for business,” he said.
But the time away from technology is also important to Tanzi. The Rhode Island native loves to travel and spend time with his family—his wife, son, daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren, aged four, seven, and seven months. “They keep us very busy, and we enjoy it very, very much,” he says. In addition to day trips with his young grandchildren, Tanzi also enjoys more extended vacations, such as a memorable golfing trip to Doral Resort in Miami, Fla., his wife arranged for his birthday five years ago.
Tanzi sees his role at Wentworth as the culmination of 40 years of technology experience—from yesterday’s green screen computers to today’s ultrathin laptops. And Tanzi enjoys using his knowledge of technology to help others. “I know that our role as support people is to be transparent,” he says. “I just hope that the role we play does make a difference and makes a student’s experience better.”
- Dennis Nealon