Internet2 Affiliate Spotlight: 5 Questions for Petrus Williams, J. Paul Getty Trust 

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By Taleitha McGuinnis - Program Manager, Affiliates & Federal Affiliates

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Petrus Williams is the assistant director of infrastructure and operations at the J. Paul Getty Trust and co-chaired its diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion committee. He has been with the Getty for over 26 years, and the organization has been an Internet2 affiliate member for the past seven years.

In this Q&A, Petrus highlights what’s new with the Getty and the value his organization has experienced as an affiliate member in the diverse research and education community convened by Internet2. He shares how attending and participating in online webinars and in-person events helps him collaborate and learn from his peers about new solutions and ways to overcome similar challenges his organization faces.

Petrus Williams posing for a photo.

What’s new with the Getty, including any current or upcoming initiatives you are excited about?

The Getty has a new Chief Digital Officer, Jenn Stringer. She comes from higher education and has brought new vision and energy to Getty Digital (Getty’s central IT department). She has gotten approval from senior leadership to embark on a 5-year plan to more efficiently deliver services to our users who are in the Getty Research Institute, The Getty Museum, the Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. A central aspect of this vision will be in the area of what she is calling Research Computing. We do not have the number of researchers that exist in a higher ed institution; however, the researchers we will collaborate with are typically based in a higher ed institution, and The Getty should be able to offer them the tools that would encourage researchers to work with us.

Getty logo
Getty Conservation Institute Scientist Anna Lagana working in the GCI Labs in Los Angeles, CA

That is different and exciting. I doubt we will be setting up an HPC cluster anytime soon, but that is another potential area of collaboration with a higher ed institution.

On the infrastructure side, we are going to be upgrading our network and cable plant to be able to deliver 10 gigabits per second networking to those endpoints that may need it in the future. So overall exciting times at the Getty and a perfect time to be affiliated with an organization such as Internet2.

Tell us more about what motivates The Getty to be part of the Internet2 community.

Within the Infrastructure Team of Getty Digital, we always look to validate our ideas by talking to organizations outside of the Getty that have been there and done that. Internet2 gives us pretty easy access to many similarly minded institutions that may have already been down the path that we are thinking of heading.

Before becoming part of Internet2, we had to rely solely on paid services like Gartner to have those kinds of discussions and to be put in contact with organizations with similar challenges. Those organizations tended to be commercial, so the driving factor in their decision-making (revenue) was different than that of non-profits such as ours.

White getty building

From your perspective, how does participating and engaging with the community benefit you and your organization?

The Getty became part of Internet2 per direction from our former CIO. He also was previously at a higher ed institution, and he felt that there was enough in common (research, knowledge sharing, etc.) between the Getty and higher ed institutions for the Getty to learn from some of the latter’s established practices in the areas of identity and access management, advanced networking, and cloud deployments.

A group of people at the Getty center.

It turns out the relationship has turned out to be very beneficial for us. Not only are we learning a lot from higher ed institutions about things that worked and didn’t work in deploying new technologies, but as higher ed moves from solely build to more of a mix of build and buy we are able to share some of our experiences with vendor-provided solutions. That includes solutions like Duo, which many higher ed institutions were just starting to implement when we already had widely deployed. Of course they were doing so on a much larger scale.

How was your experience at the recent 2024 Community Exchange? Were there any sessions or discussions that struck you as most salient to the challenges and opportunities you and your constituencies are seeing at the Getty?

I had a great experience at the 2024 Community Exchange. I learned much from panelists discussing AI and vendor management during the Leadership Exchange. The Keynote by Kate Darling was amazing. I also enjoyed meeting the amazing winners of the Internet2 Inclusivity (I2I) Scholarship at dinner and lunch.

Do you have any advice for your peers at other non-profits who are seeking community to help overcome challenges, discover solutions, etc.?

Just to remember that higher ed institutions may be huge, but in the end they evaluate similar vendors and similar tools. They may have many students, but they have faculty, staff and back office operations that are supported by similar tools that you may use in your organization. I find the IT people within higher ed eager and open to sharing their IT practices.

A large group of people taking a photo at the Getty center.