Elon IT Decoded: Meet Doug Purnell

Posted on: September 19, 2019 | By: Tarah Holland | Filed under: Elon IT Decoded, News

Database Architect Doug Purnell

If you ask about Information Technology staff on Elon’s campus, Database Architect Doug Purnell is among the department’s most well-known staff. But that notoriety may be less about the data he manages for systems like Colleague and more about the dishes he manages to whip up from behind the grill.

“A lot has to do with the cooker,” he said. “I love to make people happy with food. That’s what, sort of, drives me with this. Anytime there is a chance, an opportunity to bring the cooker in, I offer it up. It’s a blast.”

Initially, it was curiosity that led Doug to experiment with the cooker, which he bought from a friend. Now, as he serves up a tasty array of savory dishes for about five cookouts a year, it’s a hobby that he’d like to one day turn into something bigger.

“Chicken, ribs and mac and cheese – that’s sort of my go-to right now, but I also do teriyaki salmon and smoked pork shoulders,” he said. “I like to cook, whether it’s in the kitchen or on the grill. I would love to be able to cook every weekend.”

Like cooking, Doug is equally passionate about the work he does at Elon. As a database architect, Doug is charged with keeping things organized – something he doesn’t take lightly.

“Being a database administrator, I have to keep things organized,” he said. “Whether it’s the data or the documentation, I love having my hands at different things and making sure that it’s well-organized and accessible when I need to find it.”

He also appreciates the variety that comes with his role and the challenges that come with trying to keep up with industry changes.

“There’s always something new,” he said. “It’s a challenge, but it’s also exciting because I get to learn something new almost every week. That definitely keeps me driven to try new things out and see what I can bring to Elon to make things more efficient.”

Watch the video below to learn more about Doug, his role at Elon and what else keeps him busy when he’s not on campus.

Top Tech Tip

“It’s all about security. Make sure you have a good password scheme for all of your accounts and don’t share passwords. I highly recommend any kind of password manager to make your life much easier. Luckily here at Elon, we have a relationship with LastPass. It’s a great way to get started in making sure that everything is secure.”

Quick Bytes

Who: Doug Purnell

Position: Database Architect

Family: Wife Susanne, daughter Cali, 12, and son Evan, 16

Years at Elon: 8

Elon Honors: Recipient of the 2017 Phoenix Community Engagement Award

Unplugged: “In the kitchen or behind the grill, with food, I’m able to bring people together.”

The Cook’s Essentials

Planning a meal for family and friends? Check out Doug’s essentials for savory success.

  • A Good Smoker – Low and slow, 225 degrees. Cook meat until it’s 190 degrees. It’s going to fall apart.
  • A Good Temperature Gauge – You always want to make sure the meat is cooked properly. You don’t want to get anybody sick.
  • A Good Knife – You’ve got to be able to slice the meats and chop. If it’s dull, it’s just not going to work.


Tarah Holland

Tarah Holland is a Digital Content Strategist at Elon University.

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