University of Advancing Technology (UAT) President Jason Pistillo has been around UAT for over 30 years but became a full-time permanent fixture on campus in 1995 when he accepted the position of network engineer. Considering he had already come and gone from the university once, he entered this position thinking he would only be around for six months then move on, but the universe had other plans. From that time on he rose through the ranks holding the titles of IT Manager, Technology Director, Chief Technology Officer, Marketing Officer, and finally President of UAT. In anticipation of UAT’s 40th Anniversary coming this September, we were able to sit down with President Pistillo to get his thoughts on his tenure at the university.
President Jason Pistillo with UAT Founder Dominic Pistillo at the 10th Anniversary Celebration
Over the last 30 years, President Pistillo has been involved in the majority of UAT’s milestone moments. One of those moments that he remembers most is the building of our dorms in 2007. He stated “it took us six years to do the project but only took us seven months in construction. We finished construction and opened the dorms the day before students moved in, and there was a massive thunderstorm that morning. There was probably three feet of water in the parking lot of our first move, so that was a dynamic day.” Another major milestone President Pistillo recalled was UAT’s Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation. “HLC accreditation takes about 10 years and that’s what it took us from beginning to end. So, working on a project that takes 10, 15, 20 years, it’s a pretty big deal. Seeing that come to fruition is a major, major accomplishment.”
Not only has President Pistillo been around for major UAT milestones, but he has also seen our students thrive and become successful in their careers. A student project that stands out to him comes out of the Game Production degree. “Back in the day there was a team that kind of broke the mold and built a game called Core. It was so innovative and fun that it really set the stage for how we did Game Production from then on.” The Cyber Security department also brings President Pistillo satisfaction, particularly during CCDC the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. He states, “It always makes me happy when I see our Cyber students beat the hell out of other school’s teams and embarrass them.”
President Pistillo featured in the Phoenix Business Journal highlighting Cyber Security at UAT
While milestones and student accomplishments are wonderful highlights from UAT’s history, President Pistillo prides himself on how much UAT does in the community. From a two-week program that teaches high-functioning autistic teens to be successful at college to building curriculum for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts technology program, UAT is always making an impact on the local community. President Pistillo celebrates this stating “I don’t know another company our size, no matter what their mission is that does as many powerful things for the community as we have. The list is almost endless for the different groups we’ve been able to impact and know what’s most powerful about that as it’s impacting them in our mission, in our space. So, I think our community resume is pretty cool. It’s so important that of the 13 things the board holds me accountable on, it’s one of them, community contribution.”
Having spent nearly his entire adult life at UAT it’s safe to say the university has had a major impact on his life. He explains, “This is my life’s work and it’s certainly become my life. The school has been my priority. Its impact on me is powerful because my motivation was to help make a school that was just kick ass and awesome. We’ve done that, and I feel great about it, and it’s something special when you have an institution where you’re surrounded by people who it’s their life’s work too. There’s quite a few people that have made that commitment here and because of that we did build something amazing. That is something I wanted, to create a legacy and honor my father. And that’s something I’m very, very proud of. “