Todd Anderson may be new to his role as the Energy Sciences Network’s (ESnet) Director of Systems and Software Engineering, but he’s already made history.
Anderson is the first ESnet staff member to be hired and onboarded completely virtually. And because of the Bay Area’s extended shelter-in-place order, he will be spending his first months on the job managing his team remotely from home in Lafayette, California.
Before coming to ESnet, he spent 20 years working at the executive level of a technology company that provided software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to financial institutions, including services in account identity risk management, fraud prevention, and digital payments, specifically the Zelle payment platform.
“It was a good gig. We were preventing fraud, but at the end of the day, our mission was to help big banks optimize their bottom line,” said Anderson. “I have an engineering background and I wanted to do something a little more meaningful. So, I looked for organizations around the Bay Area working in the fields of sustainability, cleantech, and renewable energy. That’s when I saw this opportunity at ESnet.”
At ESnet, he gets to apply his experience to manage the teams that develop and deploy tools to allow scientific users to optimize their use of the network.
“It’s really exciting to hear about the science projects I will be supporting as a member of the ESnet staff,” said Anderson. “And ESnet is doing its own networking research, too. It’s cool to be on a conference call and hear people talking about quantum networking and 5G.”
As a child during the space race, Anderson remembers watching the Apollo and space shuttle missions. That experience inspired him to major in mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder, so he could one day build spacecraft for NASA. But after graduation, life took a different turn. Following in the footsteps of a friend he admired, he joined the Peace Corps and spent two years teaching math and science to middle school children in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert.
“Service really makes you feel like you are doing something worthwhile and making the world a better place,” said Anderson.
When he returned to the United States, a friend asked him to help write a software application to detect merchant credit card fraud. This move kicked-off of his 30-year career in technology.
In his free time, Anderson enjoys doing things around the house. When the world isn’t in the midst of a pandemic, he likes to be out in nature and to sample the diverse culture and geography of the Bay Area with his family.
Written by Linda Vu