Stroud™ Water Research Center’s campus is a complex of laboratories, offices, meeting spaces, and libraries. Outside, projects are spread over a 1,800-acre experimental watershed. Building equipment, maintaining laboratory systems, planting trees in research plots, and general maintenance of this facility are done by a dedicated and hardworking group of people. With the addition of Ryan Gambacorta, our facilities team has grown to an even half-dozen members. We asked Ryan to introduce himself to our readers.
What are your goals and aspirations for working at the Stroud Center?
One of my goals is to learn and master all the systems that are used to run the facility. Another is to learn more about the different departments and groups and what they do. I also want to interact with everyone to ensure their offices and labs are safe and comfortable, and that they have everything they need for projects on and off our campus.
What has your experience been like so far?
It’s been great so far. The campus is beautiful, the people are great, and the mission is easy to get behind. I also enjoy working with and learning from Facilities Manager Will Milliken.
Has anything surprising or remarkable happened?
I have been surprised by the collective passion from the scientists, educators, and interns about their projects and the overall mission of taking care of watersheds around the world. I don’t have a background in any of this, so to see the detail in which they are working and the passion they bring to it is awesome.
How do you feel about being here?
This is the first nonprofit I’ve worked for and it’s different in a good way. The Stroud Center does many things to protect an important resource — doing good, educating others, and advocating best practices is fulfilling. It feels good to take care of the facility and the people doing this work.
What experiences in your life led you to your work at the Stroud Center?
I’ve had a few different career paths through the years. As a teenager I helped with my father’s construction company and thoroughly enjoyed it. In my early twenties, I managed restaurants, then for almost seven years, I worked as a HVAC technician. My technical experience landed me a job at Bosch in their tankless hot water heater division. Over time, I found I was doing less of the technical work that I enjoy, and that’s what led me to the Stroud Center — I like the hands-on trade work and the variety of tasks the facilities position offers. It’s a nice bonus that the campus is beautiful, the mission is fulfilling, and the people have been great.
Tell us about your hobbies and interests. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I’m a big Philadelphia sports fan and enjoy attending a few Eagles, Phillies, and Sixers games each season with my friends and my dad. I like traveling, meeting people, and experiencing different cultures. I have been to almost every state and a handful of other countries, and it’s always a good time and a learning experience.
The thing I enjoy most is spending time with my family. I’m fortunate to have a close family that gets together often; all of my immediate and extended family live in the area. Holiday gatherings are always a blast. Many of my nights and weekends are spent with my sisters and their families (we’re always doing something with the kids). The amazing homemade dinners they let this bachelor enjoy are a nice perk too!
Where did you grow up? Where do you live now? Family?
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Wilmington, Delaware. I currently live in Pike Creek and enjoy the area. No wife or kids, but I have six awesome nieces and nephews. I also have a few close friends and their kids, who I consider family. Most are local, though one lives in Vermont and I try to visit him and his family every year.
How would friends or colleagues describe you? What makes you, you?
I would hope people describe me as an eternal optimist as I always try to see the glass as half full. I’d like to think I do a decent job of balancing being funny and sarcastic, but no one is perfect!
I believe time is our most valuable asset and experiences are better than things — do lots of stuff with awesome people.