Dr. Patrick I. Offor is an Associate Faculty at the City University of Seattle. He is also an active duty Chief Warrant Officer Five in the US Army. He serves as the Chief at the Production Support Branch, Army Sustainment Command, US Army Materiel Command, Huntsville, Alabama, USA. Dr. Offor’s previous assignments include working as logistics staff and liaison officer with the Headquarters, US Department of the Army, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (HQDA G–4); Chief, Supply and Mobility Division, White House Communication Agency (WHCA); Capabilities Developer at the US Combined Arms Support Command (USCASCOM) for the Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army); Accountable Officer and Supply and Services Officer at the 506th Infantry Regiment (4th Brigade Combat Team) and 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky, USA; and as a System Administrator (Unix Solaris) at the 16th Corps Support Group, Hanau, Germany. Dr. Offor is also a Certified SAP Application Associate.
At City, Dr. Offor teaches Network Security (CS-481), Cybercrime (ISEC-530), Intellectual Privacy and Espionage (ISEC 560), Technology Implementation and Change (ITMGMT-575), and Information Technology Policy and Governance (DIT 610).
Radana: Patrick, congratulation on your recent publication, and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for the STC Thursday Byte. Let’s start off by telling us about your career path that brought you to where you are today.
Patrick: Radana, thank you! My journey in the States started 24 years ago when I joined the US Army as an Automated Supply Specialist. My interest in computing led me to choose the Combat Service Support Automation Management Office (CSSAMO), now known as the Sustainment Automation Support Management Office (SASMO), as my unit during my first reenlistment. The SASMO supported all levels of the Standard Army Management Information Systems (STAMIS). Well, the STAMIS has since transformed into the SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), the Global Combat Support System-Army, and I was lucky enough to be part of the development team.
Equally important, during this time horizon, is my pursuit for self-actualization in the education arena. I was determined to use any and all opportunities afforded to me in advancing my academic goals. I was even going to school while deployed several times to Iraq and Afghanistan. It took me 16 years to earn my associate degree (AA) to obtaining my doctor of philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in Information Systems, with a concentration in Information Security and Information privacy. Needless to say that my military career advanced as a consequence, and I joined the City University of Seattle over two years ago.
Radana: What an amazing journey! Continuing your education while deployed shows passion and persistence – thank you for sharing. What’s one thing you wish you had known when you began your career?
Patrick: I wish I have joined the Army or Navy as a Signal Officer, which would have allowed me to get more advanced training and education in networks and telecommunications and programming. No regrets, nonetheless; I am happy and am doing great at the moment where I am! The point is that I always try to do my best wherever I find myself, regardless of whether the situation is preferred or not.
Radana: How do you continue to learn in order to stay on top of things within your current role/area of expertise?
Patrick: It was and is still challenging, to say the least. The truth is that I do not allow a problem, regardless of its magnitude or complexity, to consume me. I look down at any issue or any challenging situation instead of looking up to it. In other words, I will put the problem in a tiny imaginary circle beneath me; that way, I would minimize the issue and be able to think through the alternative solutions to the problem.
Moreover, I have a few mantras that guide my path. One of them is the serenity prayer—asking God to grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the thing I can, and the wisdom to know the difference—Reinhold Niebuhr. The second is repeating and imbibing the forward–ever backward–never chant—keeping my eyes on the prize. The third is the belief that anything in life worth having is worth working for—Andrew Carnegie. And the fourth is my quest to attain self-actualization as espoused in Maslow’s Need Hierarchy that drives my profession and academic goals.
Radana: I hope our students read and hear and apply your wisdom, so many students give up too quickly these days. What are some of the things you’re researching and/or learning right now?
Patrick: I am working on Cybersecurity Intelligence—knowing that the greatest threat to an organization’s critical information systems is the issue of a trusted insider. I am also interested in (1) data ownership rights and (2) the concepts of the desired information privacy and information privacy equipoise.
Radana: We hear about success, but I think it is more powerful for our readers to hear you talk about your biggest failure (which I prefer to call the biggest lesson); can you tell us about it and what you learned from it?
Patrick: My biggest lesson learned was my naïve belief that everyone should believe or trust me, especially those I work with, who should have already known my character and steadfastness. It is not something big, but it turned out to be a powering principle. About 12 years ago, my commander sent me a request for information (RFI). I did my due diligence in providing him the correct information. Unbeknown to me, he later sent the same RFI to someone else outside of our organization but within the installation. Fortunately and unfortunately, the person responded to the RFI and blind copied me on the email. For some reason, I was upset that the person did not provide a better answer and did not understand why my commander doubted the information I had provided. Stewing in anger, I went and printed all the supporting documents to my response and went to his office and put it on his desk. It was a good thing he wasn’t in the office when I did that; otherwise, it may have been a different story. Although he never talked to me about it, I realized that I did not do enough. I learned to provide supporting documents or references for every information I provide to anyone, including my superiors, peers, or subordinate henceforth.
So, why is this important? Fast forward, when I began my doctoral program, the idea of supporting every quotation, opinion, suggestion, claim, or otherwise, that is not mine became second nature. You can never go wrong when you do that. It works every time, everywhere, regardless of the circumstances.
Radana: Absolutely!! The number of times we drill our students about supporting their work and often does not get heard; thank you! What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career similar to yours?
Patrick: My advisement would be perseverance and diligence. Although this is in a different context, I will evoke Winston Churchill’s, “…victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”
Radana: Great advice! What are the best resources that have helped you along the way?
Patrick: What I realized anecdotally is that many students do not take advantage of the school library as they should. So, I encourage everyone to use the school library because placing a reasonable demand for the school library resources is an excellent way to evaluate its currency and robustness. Besides, establishing a stable mentor-mentee relationship among the students and teachers would go a long way in providing students with the support they may need to advance their academic and life goals.
Radana: What is the one common myth about your profession or field that you want to debunk?
Patrick: The myth that teachers do not have to go to school after obtaining their degree is unfounded. In fact, teachers are always learning—teacher-student exchange and communication advances knowledge permeation and ignites the teacher’s interest in understanding the subject better for educational transference.
Radana: I am so happy you stated this. So so true!
What have you read or listened to recently that inspired you?
Radana: Where can our students connect with you online?
Radana: Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed and for the valuable advice and information.
Readers, I suggest you check out Patrick’s most recent publication:
Offor, P. (2020). Cybersecurity Intelligence: A Novel Information Security Threat Mitigation Approach (Special Issue Digital Online First Edition), Cybersecurity Skills Journal (CKJ). National Cyberwatch Center, pp. 75-80.