Alumnus Spotlight: Sean Tupper

Sean Tupper
Sean Tupper

Computer Networking grad working as health care engineer at Saint Marys

Sean Tupper, 38, discovered he had a knack for working with computers while attending Blue Earth Area High School near his hometown of Winnebago, Minnesota. Sean graduated from high school in 1999 and decided to enroll at Dakota County Technical College because of the college’s Computer Networking program, which has since evolved into Networking Administration.

He had earlier relocated to Mazeppa, Minnesota, to be closer to his parents. The move made for an easy commute north on U.S. Highway 52 and then west on County Road 42 to the DCTC main campus in Rosemount.

Sean earned an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Computer Networking from DCTC in 2002. In February of that year, he was hired by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, as a computer network support technician in Equipment Services at Saint Marys Hospital. His work put him in contact with biomedical technicians in the hospital’s Healthcare Technical Management (HTM)-BioMed department. Also called BMETS, the technicians explained their role at the hospital servicing an array of medical equipment, a crucial component of patient care.

“I decided that the job would be a good fit for me,” Sean said. “I was able to change my career without changing employers, changing where I live or getting more education.”

Thanks to his networking knowledge and experience, Sean made a smooth transition to his new job. In a month, he was already on call to service patient monitoring equipment. He is certified to do warranty work on Philips biomedical equipment.

“My job title was recently changed to healthcare engineer,” Sean said. “We do all our repair work in-house at Saint Marys. Our department is always looking for qualified techs. The demand for healthcare engineers is very strong.”

Medical Equipment Repairers

Adjust or fix medical equipment.

WAGE

Well above the statewide median of $20.07/hour

Minnesota

Median: $31.11/hour
High: $37.30/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $31.56/hour
High: $37.09/hour

OUTLOOK

This career is currently seeing high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 7.7 percent, or above the statewide average. There will be a need for about 290 new Medical Equipment Repairers to meet market demand between 2014–2024. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

— Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

More about Sean Tupper…

Sean resides in Mazeppa with his wife, Dianna, who also works for the Mayo Clinic. Like her husband, Dianna has a background in IT. Her job with Mayo is centered on clinical trials linked to cancer research.

“Rochester has more than one hundred thousand residents,” Sean said, “and at least half work in the healthcare industry.”

Sean and Dianna have two cats, Josey, an orange mix, and Jasmine, a gray tabby. In his free time, Sean enjoys camping, hiking and being outdoors.

More about the DCTC Alumni Association

Top four ways to be an engaged DCTC alumna or alumnus:

Get involved

Give students in your former program an insider’s view of their future career:

  • Serve as a mentor
  • Volunteer at a variety of campus events
  • Take part on an advisory board
  • Spread the message about opportunities at DCTC
Keep informed

Keep in touch with former classmates and instructors, and learn about exciting happenings around campus. Continue to build your professional network with job leads, advice and professional development opportunities. Learn about new programming and recent initiatives at DCTC.

Stay connected

Continue participating in a variety of campus events and functions. Cheer on the Blue Knights at an upcoming game or attend the annual True Blue Gala in April.

Invest in DCTC

DCTC students depend on your investment in their college education. Help current and future students achieve their goals with a scholarship donation, or support a department with an equipment donation or an in-kind gift. Donations can be made quickly and easily online.

MAKE A GIFT

To learn more about the DCTC Alumni Association, contact:

Amy Eppen
Foundation Assistant Director
651-423-8265

Amy Eppen

Amy Eppen

Sean Tupper Q & A

Sean Tupper

Why did you originally choose computer networking as your career path?
I have good analytical skills and I am able to solve complex technical issues. I always enjoyed fixing and troubleshooting computers. Looking at job opportunities in 1998–99, I kept seeing openings in networking that had good starting pay.

How did your technical education at DCTC help you find an IT job in the healthcare field?
Without my degree, I wouldn’t have gotten the job.

How did your IT background help with the transition to your new career?
The current job posting lists this qualification: “Comprehensive knowledge of networks, computer hardware, computer software, and computer security.” Due to size of Saint Marys Hospital, we are specialized in three areas, Imaging, Lab and BioMed. I’m part of BioMed and almost all our devices are networked. The devices send patient data to electronic medical records, or EMR. I work on a range of equipment related to patient monitoring, including bedside, transport portable ECG and ECG telemetry. I also work on anesthesia call systems and vital signs.

Three words that describe you as a professional in your field:
COMMUNICATIVE. ANALYTICAL. RESOURCEFUL.

What advice would you give students considering biomed technician as a career path?
Biomed tech is a rewarding occupation with large growth potential and good starting pay.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job as a BMET?
The patient care team not only depends on data from the devices we maintain, but also relies on and trusts our BioMed group, knowing we are there to support them.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job as a BMET?
Knowing what you are doing is allowing the patient care staff to provide the best care for each patient. Our work helps save lives.

Why should DCTC alumni stay engaged with the college?
You can pay attention to what’s happening on campus. For instance, computer networking has changed a lot since I went to DCTC. You can also give back to the college by visiting classrooms and talking with students.

What person has influenced you the most in life?
My dad—he’s a retired sales professional.

More about Biomedical Equipment Technology at DCTC…

As a student in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program, you will be trained to work in the healthcare technology management field as a biomedical equipment technician, more commonly known as a BMET. You will test the performance and operating characteristics of medical electronic/electromechanical equipment of moderate to high complexity to ensure compliance with established performance and safety standards. As a program graduate, you will be qualified to maintain equipment found in hospitals and medical centers.

BMETs work with medical professionals at all levels to assure the safe and effective use of sophisticated electronic medical devices. Demand is greatest for BMETs with an associate’s degree in biomedical engineering or biomedical equipment technology. Technicians also improve their employment opportunities by relocating to shortage areas (particularly rural areas).

Learn more by visiting Biomedical Equipment Technology.

Sean Tupper | 21 Answers

  1. Favorite season: Fall
  2. Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): Rocky Mountains in Colorado
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity: Major League Baseball; Twins fan some days
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: Northern oriole
  5. Place you would most like to visit: Aruba
  6. Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Humpback whale
  8. Favorite actor or actress: Tom Cruise
  9. Favorite band or performing artist: Van Halen
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “Think before you talk.”
  11. Coolest thing in the world: Beaches
  12. Scariest thing in the world: Spiders
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: Seinfeld
  14. Favorite all-time movie: Back to the Future
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Be successful
  16. Most valuable material possession: Our house
  17. First thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: Build a house on the North Shore of Lake Superior
  18. Dream occupation: Health care engineer
  19. Person you would most like to meet: President Donald Trump
  20. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Golf pro
  21. Humankind’s greatest challenge: Politics
To learn more about the Biomedical Equipment Technology program at DCTC, contact:

Travis Ahlquist
Biomedical Equipment Technology Faculty
651-423-8378

To learn more about the Networking Administration program at DCTC, contact:

Betty Krueger
Information Systems Technology Faculty
651-423-8560

Judy Suddendorf
Information Systems Technology Faculty
651-423-8385

Darryl Erickson
Information Systems Technology Faculty
651-423-8338

Nathan Blommel
Information Systems Technology Faculty
651-423-8616

To learn more about the DCTC Alumni Association, contact:

Amy Eppen
Foundation Assistant Director
651-423-8265

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