Philanthropy at Work: Tom Tripp
Funding that powers technical upgrades in our existing facilities or that lets us install leading-edge A/V equipment as part of building new ones has optimized the learning experience for our students, for our faculty, and for Tom Tripp, Facilities Technology & Process Manager, to talk about the impact of philanthropy on his work…
How long have you been at Haas?
Tell us about your role.
I am dual listed across two departments and working primarily with Facilities to explore automation and efficiencies that can make things easier on the team, from how we inventory and distribute keys to how we receive and respond to service requests.
On the Media Services side, I’m working on a refresh of the Koret classroom as part of an overall effort to upgrade our A/V infrastructure for increased self-service and a longer life cycle.
Favorite moment from this past year?
Renovating three classrooms in Cheit Hall, an area of campus that has not been upgraded for almost 20 years! It was a challenging and complex project—done in the absence of many of the original architectural drawings! It felt really good to bring those rooms very close to what we have in a brand new building. We finally got the funding approved, and that was the main thing.
How has philanthropy at Haas touched your work?
Philanthropy is the reason I’m here. There’s only so much you can do with a baseline level of equipment, especially in a field that’s constantly changing. Without that infusion of dollars to make infrastructure upgrades, you can’t be part of that change, and you run into the same problems over and over again.
Another major component is Chou Hall, for which I got to serve as the technical lead for A/V, the largest component of tech in the building by far. We spent over $5M, 12 percent of the overall cost, to ensure a truly modern classroom experience for our students—and it’s one that is like nowhere else on campus.
That building was completely funded by philanthropy, and taking on that project really changed the course of my career here; I’d say I’m now a pretty adept project manager. It’s also made things easier for our team, freeing us up to be strategic partners with faculty rather than sitting in a room and pointing a camera at them.
Anything you would you like to say to Berkeley Haas donors?
It makes a big difference for staff to know that Haas is something people care about and want to advance. I understand the limits of what state funding does for us and know that we’re just not going to be a pioneering university without those philanthropic infusions.
It’s also kept me on the leading edge of technology and made Haas an exciting place to work, because I can then add even more value to the students and the faculty.