Meet Peter Biernesser, M.S. ’17, the lead quality assurance engineer for Smith Micro Software, and business manager for American Worm Growers, LLC.
After graduating with a dual undergraduate degree in management information systems and business management at La Roche University, Mr. Biernesser returned to campus to complete a Master of Science in information systems.
Why did you choose La Roche?
La Roche was the best choice for my college education. It provided me with the ability to get a high-quality education while still being able to work full time. La Roche’s bridge to your bachelor’s program made transferring schools easy and affordable. From a financial, logistical and quality standpoint, La Roche was the optimal choice.
Tell us about your job at Smith Micro Software.
As lead quality assurance engineer for Smith Micro Software's ViewSpot product line, I am directly responsible for the quality management of the entire product offering. I lead a group of six engineers coast to coast to ensure our software meets customer and internal expectations. We design and implement systems which ensure the quality of our software is consistent and to the highest possible standards.
How did La Roche prepare you for this position?
I learned time management skills at La Roche. Working full time, taking full-time classes, and running a small business of my own was a daunting challenge. However, at La Roche I learned that there is always a way to make time. I learned how to balance life and work, and how to enjoy the in-between moments. There may not always be time for everything, but there's always time to do your best.
Both of my La Roche degrees helped me advance in my career. Not only did I have the knowledge to be successful in my job, but I had tangible evidence of that knowledge. I was able to speak the language of both technology and business, thanks to the guidance and education I gained at La Roche.
Were you involved in any student activities at La Roche? How did your involvement enhance your college experience?
Another student, Justin Bakow, and I restarted the La Roche chapter of Association of Technology Professionals (AITP). This club prepared me for being a leader of technology-minded people. As the club president, I met and engaged with likeminded people, and I was able to grow and help others grow toward professional aspirations. I also served as president of Delta Mu Delta, the business honor society. In that organization I developed business acumen and honed my leadership skills. I developed my ability to speak fluently and professionally at meetings, and develop schedules.
What is your favorite memory of being a La Roche student?
My favorite memory was Dr. Michaela Noakes’ distributed systems course in my first semester. We had a project, which at that time, was the most rigorous academic endeavor I had ever taken on. To this day I look back and recognize this was when I realized what I wanted to do for my career. I wanted a career that challenged me, forced me to grow, and to work with people who had the same drive as me.
Dr. Noakes made the biggest impact any instructor anywhere has ever left on me from any institution. She became my mentor, challenged me constantly and pushed my abilities. When I thought I was giving my all, she showed me just how much further I could go. That push is all it took, and that same intensity is what makes me successful in my career today.
What is your advice to students?
Even when there’s not enough time to do everything, always try to do your best. Enjoy the “in betweens" of life—even if it's just the car ride to work or the minute on the elevator. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or like there’s no time for fun, but if you embrace these moments, there's always something to enjoy.