Get to Know the EAM Team - Brent Whittaker

Publication date: 
August 15, 2017

Each month, we will feature an EAM project team member!

What fun facts would you like to know?

the training guy at computer

Brent Whittaker


“The Training Guy”


EAM Learning and Development Lead


I was born in the sacred cornfields of Indiana, and raised in “The Circle City”, known as Indianapolis. I’ve always been a technology geek, so my background is electronics, engineering, photography and hi-fi audio. I joined the Marine Corps after high school to be on the USMC Rifle Team and shoot in the 1980 Olympics. Unfortunately, we boycotted the Olympics that year, so I ended up roaming through Europe as part of the 34th Marine Amphibious Unit. I did Top Secret Coded Radio Electronics throughout my time in the service. I could tell you all about it, but it’s kinda “secret”, eh? My brother and I got into IT, building and selling computers back in the dark ages of the computer business. I always had requests from businesses to do classes for them, so I started teaching computer systems. Well, the rest is history and here I am at UMN preparing to teach everyone Tririga.

EAM Focus:

I am currently doing front-end analysis, working to understand what everyone needs to learn and deciding how to instruct all the lessons. We’re planning to have some interesting online lessons, and also many classroom lessons with hands-on exercises.

Fun Facts:

Who is the most famous person you have met?

I’m a big foodie, and I had reservations at a great restaurant outside of Wilmington, DE. When we were seated, I was amazed when I noticed that John Cleese of Monty Python fame was sitting at the table next to us. I was cool and just said, “Good Evening, John.” I don’t think anyone else in the dining room knew who he was. He walked back from the bar area and did the “Silly Walk” (for those who know Monty Python). It was a hilarious evening with great food and conversation, and silly walking. BTW, John is coming to Northrop Auditorium on October 6th.

john cleese famous comedian

John Cleese – Silly Walk

What is one of your favorite quotes, and what does it mean to you?

“Winter is Coming!”

game of thrones stark family dire wolf sigil

Ok, I’m a serious Game of Thrones fan. Winter has come to Westeros and the Army of the Dead is marching south. It’s all good though, because there’s three fire-breathing dragons in the south to stop them. This probably doesn’t mean a lot to those of you who have not had the pleasure of watching GOT. Seriously though, mark my words; winter is coming. For all of us in Minnesota, these are good words to heed, and unfortunately we don’t have any dragons in Minnesota.

What is one of your favorite U moments?

I am anxiously awaiting the beginning of the Gopher Football season. “SKI-U-MAH!”

Share a personal fact no one would ever guess about you:

After leaving the Marines, I was a wilderness counselor for troubled youth. I worked for Jack and Ruth Eckerd Foundation and lived in Big Cypress Swamp in a tent for 2 years. We took boys from 9 to 18 on long primitive canoeing trips to get them away from problems and incarceration. I still love canoeing and I’m planning to get up North to the Boundary Waters before it gets cold. (See Favorite Quote Above)