Ten Miles a Day With Tony Vance

Tony Vance Treadmill

Some people go the extra mile at work.

Tony Vance, associate professor of information systems at BYU, does that times ten.

Taking a cue from Silicon Valley, Vance fashioned his own walking desk out of a flat treadmill and a tabletop. He walks ten miles each day during working hours in his office on the Tanner Building’s sixth floor.

“People have actually asked me to help them make one of these,” Vance says. “People might think that I’m a health nut, but I’m really not.”

While Vance might not be fond of the health-nut moniker, his determination to maintain active habits began as a youngster on the streets of Thousand Oaks, California. “I grew up playing roller hockey, but in Utah I’ve switched the asphalt for ice. I help out with coaching my kids’ hockey teams,” Vance says.

He’s also taken up biking to work after he spent time studying in Finland, where his colleagues regularly pedaled to campus. “It’s just more fun to be active,” he says.

The discipline Vance exercises in athletic pursuits also extends to his career, including teaching digital forensics, information security management, and a PhD prep class at the Marriott School. Previously Vance earned three PhDs from Georgia State University, University of Paris, and University of Oulu in Finland—an impressive feat.

Despite his ties to universities around the world, it’s BYU that Vance calls home. He recently earned continuing faculty status and plans to continue his groundbreaking research on, interestingly, bad habits.

He is currently investigating how the brain responds to security measures and how to stop computer users from ignoring important security measures. “People are the weakest link when it comes to cybersecurity,” Vance explains. “You can have the most secure system in the world, but if a hacker can get you to ignore a warning or click on a malicious link then he or she can do all sorts of damage.”

By building better habits Vance knows people can better take advantage of the best things in life. Walk a mile—or ten—in his shoes, and you’ll see how right he is.