IT Alum Ryan Sullivan Thrives as Windows Systems Administrator

More than anything else, Ryan Sullivan (B.S. ’10) appreciates the opportunities that his degree in Information Technology has afforded him. His degree has helped him gain experience in a variety of fields under IT, such as infrastructure and support, technical operations, and system administration. Sullivan recognizes his time spent studying at Florida State University as a valuable learning experience.

He explains, “Having years and years of IT experience is great, but with no degree you aren’t marketing yourself enough and you limit the amount of IT opportunities available to you.”

Sullivan’s interest in IT was sparked the moment his dad brought home his family’s first PC in the late 1990s. The Gateway computer used a dial-up connection and had the paid version of AOL. Sullivan took it upon himself to learn how to use the device and to teach his sister and mom how to use it. It didn’t take long for him to start downloading music, burning CDs for friends and even breaking the computer to a certain extent as he learned how to use it. Luckily, Sullivan didn’t do too much damage, and he still uses the computer as a file server today.

Aside from his passion for understanding how technology works, Sullivan also has a deep appreciation for the benefits that users can experience from technology.

He shares, “Technology is important to me because it assists people in accomplishing great things. Technology helps us communicate with our family members on the other side of the world just as if they were sitting in our living room and helps us capture memorable moments in our lives. It helps us to gather metrics and data to improve life on earth and possibly research other planets. It is important to me because it helps simplify my life, keeps me organized and helps me pay my bills.”

One of Sullivan’s past IT jobs was working as a systems administrator at FSU. He provided application support and administered enterprise systems such as Exchange/Office 365, SharePoint, Active Directory, VMWare, Skype for Business and all of the ITS-managed Windows servers.

He says, “I found the job enjoyable because I was able to support students, employees, and faculty members at the University that I studied at for four years previous. Being a systems administrator at FSU really gives you opportunities to work and take advantage of resources to study your craft and perfect it.”

Sullivan’s time as a systems administrator gave him his first real experience working with Enterprise-level Windows services and provided him with a solid foundation for his current job as the Windows systems administrator at WestRock Company. A packaging company that supports 45,000 employees in over 200 locations domestic and world wide, WestRock has a lot of data to keep up with. Sullivan helps them with this by helping support, maintain and administer the IT infrastructure at his location outside of Atlanta, Ga. His primary roles in the company include being an escalation point for Tier 1/Tier 2 groups, administering Windows Server Operation Systems and supporting the maintenance of server hardware.

When he’s not busy in the fast-paced environment at WestRock, Sullivan enjoys hiking trails, riding his bike, jogging, attending music festivals and concerts and spending time with his Labrador retriever, Cassius (“Cash”). In five years, he plans to have his PMP certification and either an MBA or Master of Science degree so that he can work an upper management role in IT.

To learn more about the IT program at FSU, follow this link.