I am employed by Stellenbosch University‘s IT division as Director: Development, a modified role as from January 2011. While my role over the last decade was to analyse and understand institutional processes and needs and help design information system solutions, it is expanding to include project portfolio management, architecture, business analysis, software development and information security. In short, my brief is to ensure that IT projects address the university’s strategic objectives, that solutions are designed, developed and implemented successfully, but with due regard for security and uninterrupted operations.
Lately, I have led a sustainable IT initiative on campus in line with my convictions about sustainability and environmental protection. Those convictions were also responsible for me being a co-founder of ecoafrica.com – an inbound ecotourism website – way back in 1995 (other web properties included krugersafari.com, krugerpark.com and ecoAfrica’s Blog). Ecoafrica and the web properties were sold during and before 2009 and is has been sad to see some of them disappear recently.
I have been a member of the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA for a number of years and as I enter what I call the “community phase” of life, I have recently become a member of the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve Protected Area Advisory Committee (J-PAAC) and joined Jonkershoek Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) as a volunteer wildfire-fighter. A lifelong love of hiking and mountains led me to (finally!) become a member of the Stellenbosch section of the Mountain Club of SA as well.
Originally I graduated with a degree in electronic engineering from Stellenbosch in 1979 and followed it up with an MBA in 1994. I am something of a permanent student, so in line with my “green” interests completed an MPhil in Environmental Management in 2004 and a BPhil in Renewable and Sustainable Energy at Stellenbosch’s Sustainability Institute in 2009. I believe that the twin challenges of our time are the depletion of our endowment of energy sources, mainly fossil fuel, and climate change.
I am married to Marion who hails from the Koo, and we have been blessed with two lovely daughters, Leigh and Heather. Leisure time is spent windsurfing, reading, travelling, sea kayaking and hiking. The university has generous leave conditions and I work hard at exploiting them optimally. Working myself to death is not an option.
My father, Felix Pina, is Dutch, from Wassenaar. He emigrated here with his parents and brothers after WWII and settled at Koelenhof near Stellenbosch. There is a romantic theory that we are the descendants of Sephardic Jews, so I am interested in tracing the roots of the Pina family. My mom, Cynthia Pina (Visser), is a Capetonian through and through and I was born on the slopes of Table Mountain as well, but I now call Stellenbosch “home”.
I am a football fanatic. World Cup 2010 was an absolute highlight, a spectacular and uplifting experience. I played competitively for almost 30 years, and coached too. I have always followed Ajax Amsterdam, Oranje and FC Barcelona – it’s a football philosophy thing.
I would have loved to have been a virtuoso jazz pianist – or a rock star – but sadly the love of music was never matched by raw talent. So although I took piano lessons late in life for three years, I ended up frustrating myself no end…
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