PSD Spotlight: Ryan Landek 

March 29, 2023

PSD’s March spotlight is Ryan Landek, Executive Director of Computing and IT. Ryan joined the Physical Sciences Division on November 2022 to develop, lead, and oversee the PSD’s computing and information technology strategy, as well as to provide support for all academic, administrative, and research areas within the PSD in collaboration with PSD IT groups across the division. He ensures that desktop support, IT security, systems support, and other functions are optimized to serve the needs of our faculty and students.

We interviewed Ryan about his interests and experiences below.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Naperville before it was cool. (Does anyone remember Cee Bees grocery store downtown?)

What do you enjoy about being a part of the PSD community?

I enjoy both the people and the science. Everyone is so nice in this Division, and they are all committed to the mission of the PSD. And the nerd in me loves hearing about the various projects, grants, instruments, experiments, etc. happening across the Division.

Tell us a bit about you.

My wife Molly and I live in Naperville with our 15 y/o daughter and two sons (13 y/o and 10 y/o). I’ve been with the University for 16 years. Prior to joining the PSD in November, I worked in the BSD. In my free time, I enjoy playing video games, watching Seinfeld re-runs, and annoying my family with home automation tools they didn’t ask for.

Who inspires you?

 My family. They are why I put in 100% every day. It’s as simple as that.

What is the most interesting thing that you are working on right now?

Right now, we are looking for a solution to patch Windows, Mac, Linux, and 3rd party software like Acrobat and Zoom all from a single server. This should free up IT resources to perform more valuable work.

What do diversity and inclusion mean to you?

For me, diversity and inclusion mean building teams of people with various backgrounds and viewpoints and then creating a culture where everyone feels safe to speak their minds and be heard.

Who had the most influence on you growing up?

On TV it was probably Mr. Wizard. In real life, it was my parents. They instilled in me a deep sense of empathy. I believe empathy is the starting point for solving the world’s problems.

If they made a movie about your life, what genre would it be and who would play you?

Adam Driver in a slow-paced dramedy where the lead character learns to program C++ out of a book in the late 90s.