Getting to Know: Keith Draghi

Friday, July 23, 2021

Getting to Know is our blog series where we find out what makes West Campus residents tick. This week’s guest is Keith Draghi, IT Support Specialist. A West Campus resident since 2009, Keith was one of the earliest staff to support the new campus following its purchase in 2007. His role provides one-on-one support for all aspects of computer hardware/software for faculty, students and staff across campus.

So what’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?

Coffee is always important! I’ve been at West Campus for around 12 years, and the place has grown so much. Just this week I’m joined by a new colleague and team member in support of campus IT needs, which is exciting! [Ed: Welcome Justin DeMayo, the new Technology Services Specialist supporting West Campus.]

It’s fair to say this has been an exceptional year and a half at West Campus. When I first came here in 2009 many of our buildings were empty with few people and not much life. The campus has grown so rapidly in recent years, and the buzz around the place along with it, with people enjoying all the space - no more so than when we all come together for Friday barbeques. Coming to campus over the last year or so I would pull into almost empty parking lots and was reminded of how this campus has come together. In recent weeks it’s been great to see more and more life coming back. I’ve enjoyed being able to interact with our community again.  

Where is your favorite place in the world?

I spend more time at West Campus than I spend almost anywhere else! Our campus is definitely a favorite place. I’m usually trying to fix something and playing a part in the research arena, even in a small way, is rewarding. The work being done here is always interesting. Other than that, take me to just about any racetrack in the world and I’m happy there. My older brother raced motorcycles and it was something I always wanted to do. I started riding when I was about 17 and haven’t stopped. I love the people and the atmosphere of race days. [Ed: Keith’s current bike is a Ducati Monster 1100.]

Favorite restaurant and favorite dish?

I don’t really have a favorite. I’m a deli sandwich guy. The chicken Caesar wrap at the Springbrook deli is the best! I love Italian food. I can’t see past chicken parm and garlic bread. Not the healthiest option but occasionally I have to have it.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

I love visiting Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin. It was, and probably still is, a real throwback place – picture a traditional American town in the 1930 or ‘40s, with a mom-and-pop ice cream place and Victorian-style coffee shop. There’s something about old time rural American communities that still appeals to me.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

I wanted to race bikes when I was a kid. Evil Knievel was my guy! I used to set up jumps with plywood and cinder blocks and wreck everything! We used to push our Big Wheels to the limits.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now at Yale?

We’re working on new temperature sensing technology for our freezers and refrigerators. It will enable tracking of research materials, which is pretty cool. Closely monitoring where research samples are is important and I think we do it well at West Campus.

Your favorite line from a movie?

“I live my life a quarter mile at a time” (from The Fast and The Furious, 2001). Not my favorite film but I like the idea of living in any given moment and I try not to take that for granted.

What hot tip would you share with someone new to Yale?

I was asked this by a new person recently. Get your computer ordered early and your email set up before you arrive! And make a point to try out all the different pizza in New Haven. I don’t think many would agree, but I like Modern. It has more dough than the rest – I guess I like my pie a little underdone!

To nominate a colleague to be our next guest please drop a line to