After a year as a student at the John Felice Rome Center, a degree in Classics (’92), and two more years back in Rome working as a Student Life Assistant at the JFRC, Brian Fitzpatrick may seem like an unlikely candidate to be revolutionizing the modern digital world, but that is just what he’s doing. The founder of Google’s Chicago engineering office, Brian is a tireless advocate for the open Web, open data, and open source. Ever one to follow his passion, he has found a way to combine two things he loves, software engineering and the city of Chicago, to co-create ORD camp with a colleague two years ago to bring passionate members of the Midwest’s technical community together for a show-and-tell-and-create conference unlike any other. In 2010, his talent and charisma earned him a spot on Crain’s Chicago Business’ 40 under 40.
What is the most enduring lesson you learned at Loyola?
It’s better to have people respect you for who you are and what you do rather than your title or what you have.
What is your favorite memory of Loyola?
My three years at the John Felice Rome Center. That time truly changed my life.
If you could go back to school, what Loyola course would you take?
Dr. John Nicholson’s Art in Rome.
Where was your favorite place on campus?
At Rome Center: the courtyard
At Lake Shore Campus: the lounge on the 5th floor of Crown Center. I spent tons of time up there since almost all my Latin and Greek classes were in the department on that floor.
What is your favorite place in Chicago?
My newly restored 1912 Arts and Crafts Foursquare. Second favorite: the lakefront.
Why did you decide to become a software engineer?
I never decided to do it, I just fell into it as a hobby and found that I truly loved writing software as a creative endeavor. I then got a job doing it for a living and I was hooked. I basically followed my passion and here I am!
What is the most interesting part of your job?
When I was an engineer, I loved the creative process of writing software. As an engineering manager, I love building successful teams and bringing the vision of myself and others to reality.
What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“I don’t care what career you choose, just as long as you put your heart and soul into whatever it is that you do.” My Grandfather, Alvin W. “Nick” Fitzpatrick
What (or who) inspires you?
I’m deeply inspired by beauty and passion. From architecture to nature to people who create things, I’m constantly amazed at the beauty that can be found everywhere around us.
Describe your perfect day.
An autumn day walking in the leaves with my wife.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why?
Rome, it’s definitely my second home.
Describe yourself in three words. I am…
Not too serious.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A very quiet alarm clock.
What’s your favorite Chicago pizza place?
Trattoria D.O.C. (I loathe deep dish)
Who would you want to be for a day?
Which one best describes you in college: athlete, intellectual, artist, young professional, activist, or social butterfly?
None really, but if you’re going to put a gun to my head, I’d say artist.