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ITS leader Larry Conrad moving to new position at UC Berkeley

Larry Conrad, vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer at UNC, stands in the main control room for information technology services at ITS Manning. He will leave his post of five years in February for UC Berkeley.

Conrad said his days are full of meetings to solve the difficult problems in UNC's technology systems. He said he and his team's job is to work behind the scenes to make everything run smoothly so no one ever realizes a problem. 

He said he never planned for a job like this, but one job lead to another. Conrad said he realized that things and technology were easier to work with and solve problems with, but it took people to make those things work. And that's why he's still at the job.

"I am one of 400 employees making the UNC technology systems work, but at the end of the day, it's the 399 other employees who really run the place."
Larry Conrad, vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer at UNC, stands in the main control room for information technology services at ITS Manning. He will leave his post of five years in February for UC Berkeley. Conrad said his days are full of meetings to solve the difficult problems in UNC's technology systems. He said he and his team's job is to work behind the scenes to make everything run smoothly so no one ever realizes a problem. He said he never planned for a job like this, but one job lead to another. Conrad said he realized that things and technology were easier to work with and solve problems with, but it took people to make those things work. And that's why he's still at the job. "I am one of 400 employees making the UNC technology systems work, but at the end of the day, it's the 399 other employees who really run the place."

One of UNC’s leaders is leaving for bluer skies, but the search for his replacement will likely be deferred until the next chancellor is chosen.

Larry Conrad, vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer, will take on the same role at the University of California, Berkeley on Feb. 18.

Conrad said he was told just before Christmas that he got the job.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney said he and Chancellor Holden Thorp are still discussing the details of the search, which will likely not start until a new chancellor is chosen.

“We’ve got plenty of searches going on right now,” he said.

Chris Kielt will fill the position in the interim. He is the associate vice chancellor for administrative systems and business transformation, and he previously served as the chief information officer at Stony Brook University.

Conrad said he intended to retire at UNC, but the Berkeley job was too good to pass up.

“This particular job is generally seen as the top IT job in public higher education,” he said.

Conrad said he received a job listing for the position around July.

“I looked at the requirements and it was hitting on a set of things that I’ve actually got quite a bit of experience with.

“And it seems that I’ve spent a lot of time here at Carolina and I said, ‘Oh, well, I’ll send a resume, get a conversation going.’ One thing leads to another and here I am.”

In Conrad’s five years at UNC, he has led projects including the money-saving Carolina Counts initiative and the ongoing transition to PeopleSoft software.

“I have mixed feelings about (leaving). I say Carolina is fabulous University, it really is,” he said.

“UC Berkeley is also a terrific place and in a wonderful area of the country, and I’m very much looking forward to the challenge,” he added.

Stan Waddell, executive director for information security, said he works closely with Conrad and respects his leadership skills and commitment to security.

“It’s never his way or the highway,” Waddell said, adding that Conrad supports solving problems through collaboration.

“He doesn’t discourage us from raising our opinions, even when they conflict with his, and I’ve found that to be refreshing,” Waddell said.

“He will be missed,” he added.

Conrad said he feels good about the legacy he is leaving at UNC and is proud that ITS has been able to continue services even through budget cuts.

“I get to claim a little bit of credit because I’ve been the division head, but it’s the work of the entire organization that has really paid off,” he said.

Contact the desk editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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