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Matt Delcambre serves as Director of the Center for Business & Information Technologies at UL – Lafayette. He is also Innovation Managing Director for the National Science Foundation-sponsored Center for Visual and Decision Informatics. With over 30 years of leadership experience in the IT Sector, Matt previously spent 30 years at Oracle Corporation and Sun Microsystems before joining UL. He joins Jan Swift, Host of Discover Lafayette, to discuss his love of his community and university, and the enjoyment he receives from being able to serve others through scouting and coastal conservation efforts.
A graduate of USL (now UL – Lafayette) with a BS & MS in Computer Science, Matt follows in the footsteps of his late father, Richard C. Delcambre, who served as Business Manager of USL under Dr. Clyde L. Rougeou and Dr. Joel Fletcher and who supported the expansion of the Computer Science program. In fact, it was in 1962 that USL added a master’s program in Computer Science, the first university in the nation to do so, under the leadership of Dr. James Oliver and with the support of USL’s administration.
Matt continues to be enamored by technology trends and using IT to solve complex business challenges. He wears many hats in his work with UL – Lafayette, and in addition to the two already mentioned above, he serves as Technical Lead for the City of Lafayette’s participation in the US Ignite-sponsored Smart Gigabit Cities initiative. This initiative endeavors to bring together people, businesses, universities, and governments to “improve civic outcomes through greater connectivity and data-driven decision making.” As Matt explained, it can be improved quality of life initiatives such as public wi-fi, smart parking, 5G testing, or LED street lights. Lafayette is focused on Resilience and Recovery and ways Lafayette can use technology capabilities and data to bounce back quicker after natural disasters and give our citizens needed information in real time. For more information on this US Ignite program of work, visit https://www.us-ignite.org/community/lafayette-la/.
Former Lafayette Mayor Joel Robideaux was very interested in having Lafayette designated as an Innovation District. “Innovation Districts” are growing in prominence nationally as cities compete to attract startup businesses by offering incentives that will allow the new companies to take up residence and provide the means for them to flourish and succeed. Matt explained that Lafayette is a natural fit to create an innovation corridor given our gigabit capabilities as well as desire to continue to diversity the local economy. Much work in this arena is already being conducted by LEDA, LCG, and the Opportunity Machine in partnership with UL – Lafayette.
US Ignite’s Smart Gigabit Communities Launch in Lafayette focused on Resilience and Recovery and the many ways technology can be utilized to improve disaster responses. Matt Delcambre serves as Technical Lead for the City of Lafayette in this initiative and happily recounted that Lafayette is a “poster child” in national conferences as other cities cite their desire for the quality of internet connectivity that we enjoy here.
UL – Lafayette has experienced tremendous growth in obtaining research dollars, and last year closed out approximately $125 Million in projects. The university ranks in the top 25% of the research institutions in the U. S. and has set a goal to become classified as a Carnegie R1 Institution, which is an indication of those engaged in the highest levels of research activity, and they are confident they will reach this esteemed classification in the next round of certifications.
UL – Lafayette is committed to “Research for a Reason” and in this interview, Matt Delcambre shared how applied research can be used to solve many real-life problems. “It all centers around data analytics and how to derive the information to make better decisions. Data is the new oil and is what should be mined.“
Even with Lafayette’s high connectivity, it is still important that students be exposed to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematic) concepts. Lafayette recently received a $175,000 grant from the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund initiative in partnership with the National Science Foundation. Mozilla. Working to bridge the digital divide and led by Mozilla hired Leah Ruffin, the Lafayette Parish School System provided learning opportunities for our under-resourced students. Matt shared that it is critical to teach all students how technology can impact them, be a viable career option they should consider, and then build a pipeline for students to enter into our universities, community colleges, and trade schools to study computer sciences.
Matt Delcambre calls himself a “boomerang” and is happy to be able to live in his home state after so many years on the road. He is active with the Evangeline Area Council, Boy Scouts of America as a Board Member, and is a proud Eagle Scout and father of three Eagle Scouts!
The leadership qualities instilled through the programming of the Boy Scouts is outstanding and one program in particular that Matt spoke of is the Swamp Base High Adventure Camp established several years ago. The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest river swamp in the U. S. covering 1.4 million acres. Until recently, there was no publically accessible gateway to enjoy the Basin. The Evangeline Area Council made a commitment to protect the Atchafalaya by planting trees and picking up trash, as well as to open the opportunity for all people, including scouts, to engage in active learning in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). The Council purchased the former McGee’s Landing in Henderson and utilizes it as the base of operations for Swamp Base. Since the summer of 2013, Swamp Base has offered 6 day/6 night high adventure paddling treks through the Atchafalaya Swamp to thousands of individuals who have enjoyed the opportunity to enjoy the natural, scenic beauty of the Atchafalaya Basin while engaging in vigorous outdoor adventures.
One last story that has to be shared, and that Matt was reluctant to talk about: He made international news when he intercepted a fellow who was trying to steal the oldest and best-preserved copy of the Magda Carta from Salisbury Cathedral in the United Kingdom. As Matt tells it, he “did what anyone would do.” Matt credits his wife, Alexis, for being the alert one who first noticed the perpetrator who she believed had set off alarms in the building; she saw the man then head into the Chapter House where the Magda Carta was on display, while everyone else was exiting the building due to the alarms going off. Matt found the man hitting the glass protective casing surrounding the document with a hammer, stopped him in progress, and then gave chase until he was able to pin him down in the street. The Magda Carta was saved, and Matt then unwittingly found himself the object of an intense media frenzy! Just last month, Matt served as a witness via media link for the perpetrator’s trial in the U. K., and he was impressed by the polite banter of the barristers and judge, all of whom wore the traditional white wigs. As they say, “All’s well that ends’ well!”
Thank you Matt Delcambre for your dedication to research and your efforts to improve our community!