James T. Wilkes
Chair, Computer Science Department, Appalachian State University
Years in IT: 27
Downtime pursuits: Wilkes, his wife and their eight children tend to their 65-acre property, Faith Mountain Farm, in Creston, N.C., and the various business lines it produces. They grow vegetables, raise chickens and pigs, and run a bakery. Wilkes is also a beekeeper; he developed a hive-management Web application, Hive Tracks, that now has 10,000-plus registered users.
The takeaway: Wilkes recently gave a TED talk about the connection between beekeeping and computing. "Beekeeping is an inherently observational activity," he says. "I realized that technology could help me make good decisions and make my bees healthier."