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Meet the Technologist: Josh Cinnamo

World Record Holder & MNIT Employee Represents Team USA in Tokyo

8/17/2021 4:36:28 PM

Josh Cinnamo celebrating with an American flag draped around him.

During most days, Josh Cinnamo manages the inventory, data, and assets of data centers for the state of Minnesota’s executive branch. He is also a world record holder in Paralympic athletics. In 2019, Cinnamo not only set the shot put world record, he beat his own record to win the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. After a hiatus in international competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cinnamo will head to Tokyo with Team USA to compete in the throwing events during the 2020 Paralympics. 

Q&A with Josh Cinnamo 

Cinnamo sat down with Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) before heading off to his first Paralympics to share more about his work at MNIT and how he got ready for this year’s games.

What is your role at MNIT?

Cinnamo: I manage the billing, inventory, and assets for all of the enterprise data centers at Minnesota IT Services. Those data centers host all of the services and programs that Minnesotans interact with on a daily basis. My job is centered around data. Having good data means lower costs, proper revenue recovery, and allowing executive staff to make decisions about the future of enterprise computing based on real numbers. Daily, I make sure the assets in those data centers – servers, routers, switches, and other networking equipment – are documented when moving in, out, and around the facilities. As we’ve moved more services to the cloud, I make sure that we keep track of how our inventory is changing and affecting data center services, currently and for the future.

Over the course of the pandemic, I’ve been provided the flexibility to work remotely. The great part about data is that I can manage it from anywhere in the world. 

Are there accomplishments that your team has celebrated over the past year?

Cinnamo: Data Center Facilities (DCF) is a part of the larger Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) team. DCF’s job is extraordinarily comprehensive and includes areas of the business most people don’t consider when thinking of hosted services. Although we have projects that can affect the greater agency, many of the accomplishments we have are day to day. The short list for our group when “keeping the lights on,” includes air conditioning, humidity, power, cabling, audits, maintenance, door and camera services, billing, equipment installs/deinstalls, visitors…and the list goes on. Over the pandemic, our biggest accomplishment as a group is that despite all of those factors, the enterprise data centers are thriving. 

What does it mean to go to the Paralympics?

Cinnamo: I have always viewed myself as an athlete and when I became more involved in adaptive sports, I found other athletes who cared about elite performance, and not just participation. Growing up, I chose to avoid adaptive sports for much of my life, viewing it as a pity party. That was my exposure to it. Luckily, I was later exposed to great athletes and people who have kept me connected to elite performance. Now, with an opportunity to compete at the highest level, I’m grateful for my change of thought. 

Outside of work and training, I’m also a father and husband. Being an athlete now means wanting to show my children when passion meets a relentless work ethic, great things can happen. Whether you win or lose, you followed a plan and met great people along the way who will help you forward. Your next goal will already be THAT much further along. We’ll see if I can continue being successful for an additional 3 years. I’d love to expose them to the games and allow them an opportunity to experience the world and dream big for themselves. 

How did you get ready for the Paralympics? 

Cinnamo: A lot of balance and planning. Training, work, and family are all battling for your time and attention. However, with solid forethought (and a great wife!) it all manages to happen pretty seamlessly. As my kids become more active in their lives, my afternoons become more crowded. In response, I built a gym in my garage to save the 40 minutes of driving I’d waste going to a gym. You just have to make it happen. It won’t happen for you. 

The reality is that training for the Paralympics is another job. It’s not only important to me, it’s important to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee that I continue to perform well and represent my country at a podium-worthy level. 

What are you most excited about for the Paralympics?

Cinnamo: This is the culmination of so much hard work and training. No matter what happens, it will be the result of a lot of throwing, lifting, and eating. It’s great to finally get a resolution to all of energy spent aiming toward something. It’s the first international event since I won World’s in November 2019. To compete at this truly one of a kind experience will be something I’ll document and relive forever. 

Cheer on Josh Cinnamo

Josh Cinnamo will be competing on the evening of August 31st here in Minnesota. Stay tuned to the Paralympic schedule for the shot put events! MNIT staff members shared a few congratulatory notes with Cinnamo before the competition:

“We feel very lucky to have Josh on our data center team. Josh has been an outstanding team member that has shown all of us that with hard work, dedication, and commitment, no goals are out of reach. We are extremely proud of Josh and all the accomplishments he has achieved. Good Luck Josh and team USA! Go for the Gold!”

John Moreland and Mike Tuuri, director and manager of MNIT’s Data Center team.


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