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Rovy Branon in his office at the UW Tower. (UW Photo)

Technology is constantly changing nearly every industry and the skills professionals learn in college aren’t always current enough to keep up. Many pursue post-graduate education to fill the gaps and in Seattle — where the tech industry is even more dominant than other regions — Rovy Branon connects them with the training they need.

Branon is the vice provost for the University of Washington’s Continuum College, which provides professional certificates in training for a wide range of fields, including programming, data science, and project management. He took the helm of the UW’s continuing education school two years ago, coming off of a similar position at the University of Wisconsin.

Before entering higher education, Branon lead e-learning and user-experience testing for pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. Prior to that, he worked at several startups. He holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology.

We caught up with Branon for this Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.

Current Location: Seattle.

Computer types: MacBook Pro. 

Mobile devices: iPhone 7.

Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: In no particular order: Evernote, Google Apps, NewsBlur, Twitter, Hootsuite, 1password, Slack, Hearthstone, iCloud, SpiderOak, Dropbox.

 Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? Twenty-first floor of the UW Tower – Seattle’s tallest building outside downtown. Open office and sit-to-stand desk with a great view of the UW campus and our wonderful region.

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? When you make time for life outside of work, your work is more productive.

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? Twitter is my main channel for sharing what I’m reading and getting some randomness into my information flow. LinkedIn is my Rolodex.

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? 39, but it is early yet…

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? 19.

How do you run meetings? Conversational but focused for most, but I intentionally un-focus meetings with humor when people lose the forest for the trees.

Everyday work uniform? Sports coat and khakis.

How do you make time for family? If in town, I always make time for dinner with family. Work comes before or after. I closely guard rare vacation days to spend with family and so that my team knows I trust them to work without me.

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? Stress relievers: music, reading sci-fi, binge watching dark comedies and gritty dramas, and occasional video games. Unplug: urban adventuring around Seattle.

Branon in the cockpit of a Blackbird at Museum of Flight.

What are you listening to? When I was 16, I snuck into a blues bar in Atlanta to see the late Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. He sat down with me during a break and asked what music I liked. I told him I loved metal and blues but was not a fan of country. He laughed and said, “There are only two kinds of music: good and bad.” He then proceeded to deliver a blistering set of country blues. I now listen to most anything. At this very moment, Trombone Shorty is in my headphones.

Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? I use NewsBlur to aggregate about 1,000 bloggers, research journals, and news sources each morning.

Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? There are always multiple books in progress. Three of them right now include: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson; The Future of University Credentials by Sean R. Gallagher; and America Needs Talent by Jamie Merisotis.

Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? Night owl by nature but early riser by necessity. NewsBlur and coffee starts at 5 a.m. weekdays.

Where do you get your best ideas? I surround myself with brilliant people and then listen to them.

Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? UW President Ana Mari Cauce – an amazing leader.

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