Out of Office: Paul Westbrook, “Renaissance man”

TIers do amazing things every day at work and when they are out of the office. In our ongoing series, ‘Out of Office,’ we showcase the unique and fascinating hobbies, talents and interests of TIers all over the world.

TI AvatarPaul Westbrook is a poster child for the Mozart Effect.

“There are a lot of interesting studies about math skills and music skills going hand-in-hand,” Paul said. “If your brain is wired so that you’re particularly good at math, then learning music can come much more easily and naturally. There’s a cluster of people who are really good in both.”

Paul is one of those people.

He grew up in New Orleans – the epicenter of jazz culture. He excelled at math and science and played saxophone in school bands. He was also fast enough that a high school coach tried unsuccessfully to recruit him for the track team, which would have meant quitting the band.

Those passions – or variations on those themes – have played important roles throughout Paul’s life and career. He’s the long-time president and lead alto-sax in the TI Jazz Band, a record-holding sprinter and captain of our corporate track team, and – in a riff on his love for math and science – a champion of efforts to incorporate environmentally friendly designs into our facilities around the world.

“Paul makes the Energizer Bunny look dormant,” said Harold Davis, a memory design engineer and third-chair trombone in the Jazz Band. “He’s an incredible leader, organizer and go-getter. I don’t know where he gets the energy.”

Expanding horizons

The TI Jazz Band has played some iconic gigs – at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, in New Orleans, at the Cancun Jazz Festival and at the Morton H. Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas. But one of Paul’s favorite venues for the big band has been for a small audience during lunch at a middle-school band camp.

“Every time we would do this, 10 or 15 students would gravitate toward the front table,” he said. “All the other kids were yakking and playing, but these kids were looking and listening. They were locked in. We’d encourage them to come up and talk to us and look at the music. I think a lot of those kids auditioned for the big band when they got to high school.”

Whether with middle-school musicians or government officials around the world, he loves to share the passions of his life.

“Paul is the ultimate Renaissance man,” said Lara Hussain, director of sustainability stakeholder relations. “He’s a big thinker and a big doer. He expands horizons wherever he is or whoever he’s working with. Getting others excited about things you’re interested in is a pretty cool skill.”