University of Advancing Technology alumnus Raymond Blackwood makes software that runs colleges. He geeks out about solving higher education problems through technology to ensure that colleges and universities of all sizes have the tools and processes necessary to manage student lifecycles as efficiently as possible. He also travels 40 weeks out of the year, collects Star Wars comics and takes his boat out on the water as much as he can.
During his time at UAT, Raymond invented cool stuff, made movies with lightsabers and dabbled in hacking. He learned a lot about how to work with teams, communicate effectively and be open minded. Most importantly, he learned “how to use technology as a means to make people’s lives better.”
After graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia, Raymond got a job in the UAT IT Department. Not exactly what he had in mind after focusing his studies on digital animation. But Raymond had a knack for improving and automating processes. He spent 13 years at UAT, where he managed a lot of technology projects and a lot of data.
Raymond’s experience in the UAT IT Department prepared him for his next career move at Campus Management Corp, where he is now the Vice President of Product Management. Raymond has continued to work on cool tech projects at Campus Management, where he collaborated with a team from Microsoft to release Dynamics 365 Higher Education Accelerator, which gives institutions access to an open source data model to rapidly build solutions for students, faculty, courses, test scores and more.
Campus Management encourages Raymond’s passion for automation. He created an application for students and advisors to identify jobs that students qualify for based on their program and major. He also helped build RENEE, an artificial intelligence chat bot and virtual advisor who engages students through text messaging, notifies them when important milestones are approaching and captures student feedback.
Raymond has learned a lot throughout his illustrious career in high tech. “It takes more than creating a great product; you have to convince people to use it too,” he said. He always recommends “testing the market’s appetite” and making sure that revenue goals and costs align. He also learned the hard way not to hire people just because you are friends.
Raymond’s advice to current students? “Enjoy the process of going to and being in college.”
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