We Are IT | Meet Josh Kukus
After serving in the Navy for eight years, Josh Kukus got into the IT field via a technology job with the United States Air Force. When an opportunity came up at FSU, he moved to Florida and has been working as the IT manager for the College of Health and Human Sciences for seven years. In his role as an ITAPP partner, Josh leverages technology to help the college achieve its mission, but no two days are the same. “I enjoy the diversity. The diversity provides a lot of autonomy. And it’s a great place to be.”
Where are you from?
Here. My family and I moved to Tallahassee in 2015 when I got a job at FSU.
Prior to that, I lived in Colorado. I was born and raised there and moved my family there from Virginia after I got out of the Navy.
Where did you attend school?
I was in the Navy from 2001 to 2008. Then I went to school at ITT Tech in Colorado. I got a project management degree in construction.
Why did you choose to work in technology?
After I received my degree, I started working for the United States Air Force Civil Engineering Squadron.
I learned in school that construction project management involved a lot of drafting and design and was all about how many clicks you could get in and how many drawings you could get out. It sounded like such a grind.
Then, I got recruited by the Security Forces Squadron because I worked on a lot of the IT equipment for them. So I jumped there, and it was a good team of people that I respected, and I enjoyed it more.
It was a lot of projects and a lot of field work, pulling cable everywhere, and it just drew me in.
And that’s how I got into technology.
How long have you been at FSU?
I got here in the summer of 2015, so seven years.
What is your role at FSU?
The mission of the College of Health and Human Sciences is to provide quality education, cutting edge research and conscientious service. Our goal in IT is to help the college accomplish their mission through the technology services we offer. I support everything from Office 365 to Duo to Adobe, and I make sure everyone is following best practices and procedures.
One of the reasons I like my job so much is because a day in the life is always a bit different. I may have a heavy workload working cases one day. Another day I may be setting up research equipment in a lab.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I would say the diversity. The diversity of the people and projects. We have a very diverse faculty and people from all walks of life, and very few projects are the same. There is so much work to go around, if I don’t want to sit in front of my computer and work on goals and policies and procedures and training, there are other projects to work on. I am not just stuck behind my desk all day if I don’t want to be.
The diversity provides a lot of autonomy. It’s a great place to be.
What is the most rewarding project you have worked on at FSU?
I would say the ones that would be most value-added, and it is not just one single project, are the Student Tech Fee grants we do. I manage that effort and send out requests for ideas. I collect the information, quotes, impact statements—all that stuff—and put it into proposals to submit on behalf of the college.
The proposals are a little bit different each year. Our most successful year was 2016. We got equipment for a retail and product development lab, AV recording equipment for a couple's center for family therapy and a metabolic cart for exercise sciences.
There are so many projects, but the tech fee projects are the most value-added.
Other than your cellphone, what is your go-to, can't-live-without piece of tech?
My Bluetooth headphones. I listen to music a lot. When I am chugging away on work proposals, music helps get me through it. And when I work out. I can’t stand the music at the gym.
If you were to invent one piece of technology, what would it be?
Some kind of Bluetooth depth finder that can attach to a kayak and you can see it on your phone. I am sure they have one. I just haven’t looked hard enough.
What is a fun fact about you?
I like to cook. Ever since my wife Gina started working again, I have helped a lot more with meal prep and cooking, and I enjoy it. I make some pretty mean pancakes and shepherd’s pie.
Talk a little bit about your family.
My wife is Gina. We met in the military. We have a 13-year-old, 11-year-old and 7-year-old. All girls. Gwen, Zoey and Hayley. We just adopted a new dog, Elliot. He is a border collie mix and is a great dog. We also just got five chickens.
What do you do in your free time?
We spend a lot of time in Taylor County at Keaton Beach. If we’re not there, we are up here at Mexico Beach or Port St. Joe. I love fishing. I fish as often as I can. I also game when I can. I am playing Elden Ring in my off time currently.
Other than that, a lot of dad life. I play with the kids. I am in the middle of putting up a new fence and building a chicken coop so the kids can take care of their new chickens.
Living the dream for sure.