ResNET Director Phil Young’s experience spans industries, but there’s a certain quality that has been the common thread throughout his career.
“What weaved everything together for me has always been leadership and management,” Young said. That’s one of the things I’ve always been passionate about.”
Young graduated from North Carolina State University with a Master of Business Administration last week while still working full time for ITS’ ResNET unit. During graduate school, he earned the Jenkins MBA Business Leadership Certificate and was selected for the McLauchlan Leadership Series.
De facto IT guy
Young began his career in the restaurant industry. He started as a server when he was a teenager and embraced increasing levels of responsibility until he became a manager. Next, while earning his undergraduate degree in business, he worked in banking. Then he returned to the hospitality industry.
Everywhere he went, Young was the “de facto IT guy.”
“Whether it was a small organization or a restaurant, I was installing new printers and new POS (point-of-sale) systems,” he said.
He landed ResNET’s technology support coordinator job after hearing about it from a friend on social media. Young excelled at ResNET. Three years later, in December 2022, he earned ResNET’s top spot — director.
In that role, he leads a group that provides IT support and services to approximately 9,000 residents and 50 professional staff of Carolina Housing. One of the highlights is the design and operation of the Carolina Gaming Arena, an inclusive space for students to connect with others over the latest in console and PC gaming.
About Phil Young
Title: ResNET Director
Town of residence: Wake Forest, NC
Family: Wife, three kids, a Boston terrier and two cats
Hobbies: Works part-time at and is a certified cicerone for a craft beer shop and volunteers at a political organization in his neighborhood
“I think that the big thing about ResNET is the relationship building we have with our partners,” he said. “I’m very proud of and have done a lot of work throughout my career to be someone who can build relationships and maintain them. Even when things go wrong, be able to own that and repair it. I think it’s been something that’s been very useful in this role.”
With all on-campus residents to support, the most challenging part of working for ResNET is wearing so many hats on the same day. “It’s different from a lot of the jobs I’ve had, but also similar to some of them,” Young said. “I think that’s part of why I enjoy and thrive in this, because I’m used to being pulled in all those directions.”
So far, employee development is his favorite responsibility as ResNET director. Throughout his career, Young has developed about 25 people from individual contributors to leadership positions. He hopes to continue to do that in this role.
As for training, Young suggests for someone coming into his area of work, he recommends emotional intelligence workshops and courses, which are available on LinkedIn Learning. “This is one that some people are more naturally attuned to,” he said of the skill, “but it’s one that you can learn.” ITS provides free access to LinkedIn Learning to Carolina students, faculty and staff.
Q&A on earning an MBA
What have you learned that will help you lead ResNET?
So many things! I took a class last year called Creating Value in Organizations that gave me tools to assess where an organization was at in its lifecycle and then do research to create value for that organization. It was several small consulting and research projects that culminated in doing an actual consulting engagement for a business. Being able to apply a lot of the same ideas and tools to my role here at ResNET will (and already has) allow me to take a different approach to solving some of our problems or working through some of our projects.
I also had several classes on leadership which proved valuable in learning what is important when it comes to motivating others. One class was a technology leadership course which gave many insights into motivating employees in the IT industry. Employee engagement was a core focus to motivate employees especially in a hybrid and remote environment.
What was your focused area of study?
My focused area was in leadership. I took 12 of my 40 credit hours in leadership to earn the Jenkins MBA Leadership Certificate. Courses included Emotional Intelligence, the Art and Science of Negotiation, Leading Teams, Leading People, and the Jenkins Leadership Challenge which included a project at work that involved a few UNC employees giving me feedback about my leadership and tracking my progress on a goal that I set for the course. This course even led to a project to rewrite the ResNET mission statement and core values which we are working on with our student employees.
I was also selected for the McLauchlan Leadership Series, which is a non-credit professional development program that focuses on leadership skills.
How many years was your program?
The program can be completed in as little as two years and up to six years. My journey was three years including two summer sessions!
Talk about the study-abroad portion of the program.
I was fortunate enough to go on two study abroad trips during my MBA experience. The first was in Prague for two classes over the course of a week, Leading Teams and Leading People. We were able to have classroom time with NC State professors to sharpen our ability to lead and work within a team. We also were able to speak to business executives in the Czech Republic about their experiences leading organizations in a global environment. In addition to the formal learning, we were able to visit many cultural sites in and around Prague like Prague Castle and a beautiful small town named Kutna Hora.
For Paris, I was there for a course called the Art and Science of Negotiation. This was an intense course where we were given many different scenarios to role play in many different environments including one-on-one, one-to-many, team, and multi-party negotiations. In the evenings, we were able to take in the sights and all the delicious food in Paris. One of my favorite places I went to was to the Paris Catacombs. Look those up!