A graduate of St. Benedict at Auburndale, where he had served as the school’s Assistant IT Director while still a high school student, Patrick McGinnis came to CBU and declared a dual major in Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science. He was active in the Student Chapter of the Institute for Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE), serving as its Technical Chair, Chair, Webmaster, and as Chair of its annual Student Professional Awareness Conference (SPAC).

While working with Dr. John Ventura on IEEE’s annual SPAC event, Patrick recalls that he met a CBU alumni, Dr. Ben Amaba (Electrical Engineering ’87), who was at the time an executive at IBM, working globally in the fields of data sciences, blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT networking, and additive manufacturing. “Leading and working on that event set up many opportunities for me in the future that I would not have had without CBU,” Patrick says.

While a student at CBU, Patrick worked at the Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering as IT Director and Chief Technology Officer, then became IT Director at St. Michael Catholic School. He continued to work at St. Michael for a year after graduation. He also started work as a Security Specialist at R&N Systems Design, a Memphis firm that has a growing national reputation among architectural firms and departments of correction as the leader in the specialized field of security system design. In 2021, Patrick became a Principal and Owner of the firm and continues to work as a Project Manager and Designer.

Patrick is professionally active in the IEEE Memphis Section, where has previously served as Vice Chair and is currently the Chair. He is also a Board Member of the Memphis-Area Joint Engineers Council (MJEC) and has served in the office of Vice President, President-Elect, and President of the Memphis chapter of the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE). He has been professionally recognized by his peers as the TSPE Memphis Young Engineer of the Year and as a Featured IEEE Member.

Patrick is also one of the founders and currently a board member of NoBox, a not-for-profit whose goal is to educate students to have hands-on, real-world skills in cybertechnology. He has also served for the past six years as the West Tennessee Qualifier Coordinator for FLL (First Lego League), which is operated by FIRST, a national nonprofit robotics program for middle schoolers. His passion for this program began when Dr. Ventura encouraged him to volunteer at one of the events while he was a student at CBU. In addition to this, he also currently serves as a mentor for the CBU IEEE Student Branch. Patrick’s continued involvement with his alma mater is also no doubt part of his family ties to the university — his father, Gene McGinnis (Civil & Environmental Engineering), has been a member of the CBU faculty for almost 35 years, and Patrick was the first of his three sons to join the alumni ranks, followed by Trey McGinnis (’17) and Brian McGinnis (’18).

The main lesson I learned at CBU is to never give up, to give back and help out when you can, and to keep on learning.