Nick Dibble, Manager of CyberSecurity Engineering at Mayo Clinic answers 10 questions for Rochester Magazine
Rochester Magazine: I casually invited you to get a beer and take part in a laid-back conversation, and then I received an Outlook calendar invite with an agenda attachment.
Nick Dibble: Yes, that’s entirely accurate. My wife loves when I do that at home. We have a shared Google calendar with multiple calendars inside of it. So that way, we can closely coordinate all of my important, spontaneous events.
RM: Why did you pick the Tap House to meet?
ND: It makes me feel young and hip.
RM: Fair enough. Are you one of these guys that never sleeps?
ND: I sleep about five hours a night.
RM: And you can live like that?
ND: For the for the most part. Yeah.
RM: So when you were considering your mayoral run …
ND: I want to say it was about a year and a half ago when Rochester Magazine made a strong electoral suggestion that I run for mayor.
RM: You were really riding the wave after you used your video doorbell to catch Rochester’s Porch Pirate stealing diapers from your doorstep.
ND: I did a TED Talk earlier that year. And I spent probably around 100, 120 hours over the course of seven months preparing for that 18-minute TED Talk.
RM: It was excellent, by the way.
ND: Thank you. It’s on YouTube and has a respectable 4,000 views.
RM: And 62 dislikes.
ND: I know! How do you have dislikes on that TED Talk? That TED Talk was literally about helping disabled children. And people saw that and were, “I hate this.” Anyway, then a lady steals diapers from my doorstep. That video has garnered around 80,000 views on Facebook. So the idea is if you want to get your message out you just need to, apparently, steal something from someone’s porch.
RM: You busted her. I mean, you were relentless.
ND: I like to tell anyone who will listen that I have dedicated my entire life to solving minor crime in Rochester.
RM: Now you’re working hard on the dog-pooping-in-the-yard issue?
ND: Oh, yeah. This is a whole crisis in Rochester’s neighborhoods. Occasionally we’ll see people leave their dog poop on the lawn. Which requires a whole different level of surveillance and sophistication.
RM: Do you still have your homecoming crown from Kasson High School, 1997?
ND: Wow. Yeah, I do.
RM: How often do you wear it?
ND: It’s in the storage room. I like to remind the kids of my win every so often. So maybe once a year.
RM: On a more serious basis, 2008 started off on a really high note for you. You found out you were going to be a dad. But then you realized there were some issues. How did that change you?
ND: Yeah. We found out we were having twins, and there were very severe complications with that prognosis. At the end of a long NICU stay, my son Blaise passed away, and then we started to learn about ongoing challenges that my son, Adrian, would be having. It really catapulted me into adulthood, if you would. Prior to that, I was a single guy, and freewheeling and traveling and partying. My experience really framed what was important to me—having a voice for people who don’t have a voice like my son. That is never, ever a role I thought that I would want or that I would take on, but …
RM: The stress of caring for a child with a disability took its toll on you guys. Shortly after Adrian’s third birthday, you found yourself as a single dad. I know Adrian was having seizures. He wasn’t sleeping for days at a time.
ND: I was terrified, and I kept thinking to myself, “How am I legally responsible enough to take care of a child? How can the state allow me to be a father?” I could barely take care of myself. And I was brand new at Mayo Clinic when I started raising Adrian on my own. In fact, I was only there about six months, and I was absolutely terrified of losing my job. I will tell you that Mayo Clinic’s higher-up senior leadership to my team was absolutely nothing but 100-percent supportive. I honestly couldn’t have done it without them. They were incredible.
RM: Then you met Bri.
ND: My dating profile said something like, “Hey! Single dad, raising special needs child on his own! Has minivan!” People flocked to that.
RM: Yes. I can only imagine.
ND: But I met Bri. And now we have son Charlie and daughter Irelynd as well. They’ve been amazing.
RM: You were doing some amazing things in tech, but you had a hard time getting into Mayo.
ND: I had no college degree, and I think I applied at Mayo probably 40, 50 times. I was working in the dot-com startup world, and things were very volatile and I wanted some stability after we had Adrian. I was a CIO of an up-and-coming dot-com and I finally got a job at Mayo doing entry-level database management. Some people say their careers will move back to move forward, and I think that was kind of one of those moments.
RM: You’ve since gone through plenty of schooling and degrees and you’re now Manager of CyberSecurity Engineering. What do you do?
ND: Our group works closely with the Mayo Clinic security operation center. Our role is essentially setting up the tin cans around the campfire. So when those cans ring it lets our security operation center know, and then they do what they need to do.
RM: That’s just figurative, right?
ND: Mostly. Yes.
RM: Well, I think I’ve gotten through your agenda. You probably have to adjourn this meeting.
ND: No. It’s fine. I left “Open Forum” as the final agenda item with no time parameters. So we can finish eating.