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The Interview: Jay Leavitt

From the army to higher education, Jay Leavitt turns his innate knack for fixing things into a career in technology.

People  |  Mar 18, 2019  |  By Nicole Johnson
Jay Leavitt


Jay Leavitt, IT technician for the Office of Information Technology (Rakitha Perera/UNLV OIT)



Las Vegas native and army veteran Jay Leavitt discovered his passion for technology at a young age. He’s been an Army SOT-A Operative, technology support specialist, and EMT, but found his niche when he landed a job in the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at UNLV. Now, he’s the go-to person to solve customer technology problems on campus.

A little about your background
I earned a bachelor’s degree in management information systems, and will be completing my master’s degree in the same field soon. Prior to working at UNLV, I served in the U.S. Army for about six years, where I set up network communications for specialized units on remote missions. After my military service, I was an EMT for Bennett Medical Services, installing oxygen and baby Apnea monitors inside homes, and a technology support specialist for a consumer electronics store and a large telecommunications company. 

At the time, I was working as an EMT and needed a change. I was looking to get back into a career field that I specialized in. I also wanted the opportunity to grow within the organization. UNLV gave me that chance. 

What are some of your current job responsibilities?
I’ve been employed at UNLV for five years, all of those in the OIT. As an IT technician, I work with the IT Help Desk staff to troubleshoot client technology issues. I also install software, coordinate with various departments for collaboration tools, and generally put out fires when departments need immediate on-site assistance.  

What inspired you to get into your field?
Honestly? “Dragon Ball Z” inspired me to pursue a career in technology. Back in the day, there was a running joke about a VCR. A lot of people found it to be too hard to program. But I thought it was a fun challenge. I learned the ins and outs of how the VCR worked. I was able to program it to record “Dragon Ball Z” television show at 5 p.m. daily. This was my first introduction to technology and how it worked, sparking my interest in pursuing a career in it.

Tell us about a time in your life you were daring.
On a whim, I decided to attend a photography conference in Florida. Within an hour, I bought a flight ticket, and in three hours, I was in Tampa. The conference is the place where I met my wife for the first time.

If you couldn’t work in your current field, what career would you pursue?
I have a passion for figuring out how things work. I also like sharing that information with people. So if I wasn’t working in my current field, I’d be an educator, teaching physics or chemistry to high school students.