Black Alumni Stories

Bruce Kaalund ’84

As a native of a different south — South Bronx NYC — I had a slightly different route through Auburn. I attended Talladega College (where I still have fond memories and lots of friends I am still in touch with) and Tennessee State University, before getting married and finishing my first Bachelors at Kentucky Wesleyan College. After working as a chemist, I entered the U.S. Air Force, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and was sent to Auburn to study for a second Bachelors in Electrical Engineering, finishing in August 1984.

After Auburn, I was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, where I was an engineer on an operational test and evaluation team. I worked on Microwave Line of Sight and Tropospheric scatter communications systems in Germany, Italy and above the Arctic Circle (in the winter, brrr). My Auburn education came in very handy here, especially Dr. Shumpert’s lessons in electromagnetism and antennas!

After leaving the Air Force, I ran a private telephone system in D.C. for a health maintenance organization (HMO). Opportunity knocked again in the name of Sprint, who had just been awarded part of the FTS 2000 service with the Federal Government, and I moved my “band of gypsies” to Kansas City. Sprint later moved me back to the D.C. area to become a program manager for several contracts. A colleague lured me to a consulting firm he was at, and I then spent the next seven years in consulting, first in D.C., then in Philadelphia, picking up knowledge of cybersecurity in the process.

This led to an opportunity with Comcast, where I developed the baseline structure of their cybersecurity function. After several acquisitions, multiple re-orgs and watching the company grow from a mid-size cable company to the content-driven behemoth it is today, I took an opportunity with FedEx in Memphis, where I got a Masters Class in the automation of cybersecurity processes. My last opportunity presented this vagabond with a position at VISA in the Bay Area, where I am a senior member of the Cybersecurity GRC team.

Everywhere in my 35 years of multiple stops, my connection to Auburn allowed me to stand out from the crowd. In an organization full of Stanford, Cal, UDub (Washington) and the multitude of California schools, my standing as an Auburn alumnus is treated with respect for knowledge and leadership.

So, with a marriage that is 42 years young and growing, three wonderful, successful children that I am so proud of, and a career that continues to be fruitful and challenging, I spend my free time doing landscape photography, and rooting for my two favorite teams: the New York Yankees, and the Auburn Tigers. War Eagle!