Adam Gagan is a former math professor and industrial engineer with a bachelor's in business administration and a master's in industrial engineering, both from the University of Central Florida. He joined the Juilliard staff last year and before long was on his way to helping solve one of the school's thorny ongoing problems—how to make practice rooms easily accessible, safe, and less hoggable. (To find out what he did, visit the March issue of The Journal or see the cover story of the July issue of Industrial Engineer magazine.) Adam grew up in the Little Havana section of Miami—his immediate family includes Italian Catholics, German Jews, and Indian Muslims. "As you might imagine," he says, "I've had a pretty diverse upbringing. So if you want to embrace diversity, hug this guy."
What do you remember about your first day at Juilliard?
I don't remember day one. What I do remember is that on day two, my boss told me I didn't have the same deer-in-headlights look that I had on day one.
What job at Juilliard would you like to try out for a day?
Conductor. I would love to conduct event setups and building improvements by waving a baton.
What's the most memorable job you've had?
I was a math professor for six years at Valencia College in Orlando, Fla., and I taught developmental mathematics to more than 2,000 students. Half my job was teaching, the other half was motivating my students to believe they could master a subject they'd struggled with their entire life. I had to learn how to connect with each individual while teaching in a group setting.
What's the craziest day at work you've ever had?
The Facilities Department is in charge of building improvements and maintenance, security, and day-to-day operations. For Facilities, crazy comes in sets of five; we have crazy weeks, not days.
If out of the blue your boss said to take the day off, what would you do?
I'd start by checking to see what events are going on in the city or the parks. If there's nothing enticing going on, I'd work on a side project. Or I might just give in and binge-watch a TV series.
How do you balance your job and your artistic endeavors?
Prior to moving to New York, I did a few acting jobs in Florida. Since moving here, I've been fortunate enough to acquire an agent and a manager. So on a lunch break I may run out for the occasional audition.
What other pursuits are you passionate about?
I spend my time acquiring skills ranging from languages and cooking to social dancing.
What's the best vacation you've had?
I'm answering these questions from Hyderabad, India. I've traveled quite a bit, but this is the first time I've traveled with my family, so I'd have to say this is the best trip. The itinerary is Turkey, India, and Germany. So far, I've learned to ride a motorcycle, make authentic Indian chai, and improved my Hindi tremendously.
What are you reading?
I am currently reading El Alchemista (The Alchemist) in Spanish. All I can say is the intro is pretty good, 'cause that's as far as I've gotten.
What's surprised you most about working here?
Implementing change in an organization is no easy feat, but since I've been here, we've made major changes that couldn't have been possible without the willingness of Juilliard employees to embrace change.
If you could solve a problem here with a 10-word poster, what would it say?
Comprehend all aspects of a problem before formulating your solution.