IT Rotational Program grad seeks opportunities and challenges wherever he finds them

Brady Thistle knows the world is full of opportunities. As a member of the IT Rotational Development Program (ITRDP), he has seen first-hand how many possibilities await those willing to try something new.

Brady loves to try new things in all aspects of his life and encourages others to as well, especially when it comes to health and physical fitness. 

In addition to his career at Corning, Brady founded and owns TeamBT Coaching, a personal training business that focuses on athletes competing on amateur bodybuilding or powerlifting circuits. Brady loves the challenge of finetuning athletes’ training programs. Every athlete is different, he says, and every day presents a new challenge. 

Inspired by his sister Sara, Brady took an interest in physical training at the age of 14. As an adult, he began competing in amateur body building competitions, garnering success and recognition on the competition circuit. Soon, other body builders began reaching out for guidance on their own training programs and a small business was born.

“The competition is fun but really my passion lies in the training and the programming. Being able to fine tune my programs to make it the best it can be is a great feeling,” explains Brady. “My favorite thing is when I can help people start a program and I hear them say how much their life has changed. A lot of us don’t even realize that we don’t feel good because we just get used to living our lives without thinking about it. But when we start improving our health our lives improve alongside and we feel like different people.”

Brady has coached multiple athletes to success in their respective fields. He currently has two athletes that hold powerlifting world records in their weight classes and an athlete who recently won an overall bodybuilding show which will allow him to advance to national competition and compete for a spot on the professional circuit. 

Although bodybuilding and powerlifting are often singular sports, Brady has worked to develop a team mentality that fosters encouragement and growth amongst his athletes.

“The sport itself can actually be really lonely because there are very few people that understand the sacrifice it takes to compete at this level. So, being able to bring together likeminded people and connect them with one another, and build a community of support, has been really incredible to see.”

This kind of team dynamic, along with new professional challenges and opportunities, are what drew Brady to the ITRDP, which gives participants the opportunity to explore a variety of IT roles through three or four rotations during the three-year program. This fast-paced environment allows participants to quickly gain skills, make connections across IT, and learn to adapt to new environments. 

“Every role has been wildly different, which is exactly what I wanted from the program,” Brady says. “I think some people are scared of change or they get intimidated by the challenge of being thrown into something new, but that’s what appealed to me. As a kid my dad taught me a lot about independence and instilled in me a desire to learn; and I’ve found that when you love to learn it's almost impossible to stay where you are. Change is the natural result of learning.”

Brady joined Corning in the summer of 2017 as an intern with the global executive support team (GEST) and returned in 2018. Following graduation from the State University of New York at Brockport, he joined full-time as a field services technician in 2019. He started the ITRP in 2020 as he was searching for a wide range of experiences and skills to make himself a more versatile employee.

“Having a diverse perspective and skillset makes a huge difference because it’s really easy to zoom in on a project and get so close to it that you can’t see what needs to be done. Being able to zoom out and see the bigger picture makes it easier to find solutions.”

Brady now has experience responding in real time to cyber threats and other priority 1 IT issues as part of his rotation on the critical response team and redesigning IT systems used to audit production at the integrated die manufacturing (IDM) plant in Corning, New York. He learned from mentors who pushed him to accomplish new things, giving him an understanding of how critical IT systems are around the world.

“The program is challenging for sure. I have had to learn how to change and adapt a lot. I have learned how to work with lots of different people and teams and it has helped me to become very comfortable with change and confident that I can handle it even if it feels like everything is changing at once. And that’s really what the program is really about,” he says. “Yes, it teaches you technical skills, but more importantly it teaches you to think on your feet and work with people and change. Those skills are the most important things for a successful career.”

Much like bodybuilding and powerlifting, Brady says the rotational program could leave one feeling a little isolated since each employee is part of a series of teams for just a short time. However, Brady says he had managers who pushed and supported him through a variety of roles.

“Once I realized every team has a gap to fill, I decided I could find a niche on any team if I was willing to leave my comfort zone. That has really helped me to stay flexible and stay curious. I try to keep myself open to every possibility instead of trying to decide on a path early on and refusing to leave,” he says.

As Brady’s time in the ITRP comes to a close, he reflects on the lessons he’s learned and prepares for the next step in his career. 

“Whether you are a young professional, mid-career, an executive, a business owner, or anyone else you have the power to choose to change your life. You can always ask questions and always learn and always change. Even when it feels scary, you have the power to do anything if you embrace it. And if you’re lucky you might find that it was better than you could have imagined.