Staying Mentally Stimulated with Duke

Coworkers, lectures keep Adem Gusa sharp

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Among Adem Gusa's many interests is cooking and food. His dream job is to travel the world sampling dishes from all over. Photo courtesy of Adem Gusa.

Name: Adem Gusa    Position: Assistant director of planning and design, Facilities Management’s Office of Project ManagementYears at Duke: 6

What I do at Duke: I do facilities planning, building programming, space planning and campus planning, along with overseeing the staff that manages campus geographic information systems and computer aided design files. My work could involve partnering with university departments to determine building needs, helping decide where future buildings may be located or what current facilities might need major system improvements like HVAC or electrical.

If I had $5 million, I would: Put half of it in a trust fund for my kids, donate a generous amount to charities and spend the balance on living life to the fullest. I'd want to give to charities that focus on providing clean drinking water to Third World countries, like The Water Project. I've spent time in Africa and seen first-hand the importance of having clean drinking water and making it accessible for the masses.

My first ever job: Delivering marketing flyers for a pizzeria during summer break when I was in high school. I'd basically walk around different neighborhoods leaving flyers on people's doors. I'd have a giant duffel bag full of flyers and my boss would give me a map to highlight areas to focus on.

My dream job: I really enjoy what I do, but my ultimate dream job would be a travel and food critic where I would get paid to travel the world, eat at the best restaurants and write about it. Anthony Bourdain pretty much has my dream job.

If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: My kids, architecture, local restaurants, politics, boxing or music. I've never been a boxer, but it's a niche sport I've followed for many years. I became a fan during the rise of Mike Tyson, There was an aura of excitement around the sport.

What I love about Duke: Working in a mentally stimulating environment. There are great lectures that happen all around campus on a regular basis that I try and take advantage of. One example is the 'Wednesdays at the Center,' which is sponsored by the Franklin Humanities Institute. There's always something new to learn and a new tidbit of knowledge you never would have found.

When I'm not at work, I like to: Spend time with my family. In particular, I like visiting parks, riding bikes and going to restaurants with my wife and kids. We like to go to Duke Gardens a lot and Duke Park. We also ride bikes on the American Tobacco Trail.

If I could have one superpower, it would be: Precognition. The ability to see into the future would be pretty awesome.

Something most people don't know about me: That I'm half Kenyan and lived there for almost two years with my father between the ages of 8 and 10. While there I learned Swahili and another local language called Logoli, both of which I still speak today. I've been back several times to visit and am planning to take my wife and kids there sometime in the next couple of years.