5 Questions with our New SC Tech/SC Cyber Director, Kim Christ
How long have you been involved in the technology and cybersecurity industries in SC?
I starting working in tech right as we approached Y2K with managing Microsoft Exchange servers for the SC Department of Safety. That morphed into a project manager role and then a role as a Network Manager. I learned a lot in those early years and continued to build on and grow my knowledge as my career pivoted into growing and building programs that served the SC community as a whole through education, work-force development and building up programs for the knowledge sector as a whole.
What made you want to study computer science?
My dad brought home a Tandy computer from Radio Shack. My dad was a technology enthusiast when I was a kid and brought home a Tandy computer and introduced me to the adventures of Carmen San Diego. From the comfort of my home and my little screen and keyboard, I was able to follow Carmen around the world and solve mysteries. That was enough to light a flame in me for both travel and technology. While my schooling did very little to encourage technology focused careers, I met a woman my freshman year of college who was working on mainframes and was doing very well for herself. I discovered I could earn money by learning how to manage computer systems and write the programs that run them and that made me change my major to Computer Science. Nowadays, this is why introduction to STEM careers is so important for K-12 in my opinion. If they don’t know they can do it, they won’t.
What are you most excited about in your new position as Director of SC Tech/SC Cyber?
South Carolina is poised to be a leader in tech and cyber. We know we have the talent here and our state is small enough that by bringing together the right people, we can make real progress and seize that proverbial crown. So I would say I am most excited to help facilitate the programs and initiatives that will make our potential a reality.
What’s the first thing on your to do list for the SC Tech and SC Cyber clusters (what’s first to accomplish)?
Our first goal is to publish an economic impact study of tech and cyber in South Carolina. With this study, we’ll be in a better position to pinpoint our areas of strength and weakness. I am also excited about bringing together the SC Tech/SC Cyber steering committee and working groups. It’s through our collective knowledge and collaboration that we are able to make real change in creating opportunities and showcase the existing and potential success throughout the state. It’s time to toot our own horn.
What book is on your nightstand/Audible listening list?
Well I wish I could say it was something inspiring and educational for peers, but alas it’s not. My teenager and I are doing a self-contained book club and reading the Arc of a Scythe series. It’s about our future utopian society where government has been replaced by an incorruptible all-knowing Artificial Intelligence called the Thunderhead who controls everything in. Yes, it keeps me up at night.