Meet Lenny Pyrrhus. He is a Haitian-born infrastructure engineer who oversees web applications used by JPMorgan Chase around the globe and makes $130,000 working for the Fortune 500 company, according to CNBC Make It.
Joining JPMorgan has been a tumultuous journey and a story of resilience and determination. When Pyrrhus was only four years old, his family fled Haiti after his uncle, a famous musician, was killed in a violent protest in 1991 against the then military regime.
One by one, his family left Haiti for the United States and got U.S. citizenship. Pyrrhus arrived in the United States with his father in 2000, followed by his sister in 2003. However, due to immigration restrictions occasioned by 9/11, it became difficult for Pyrrhus to see his mother for almost 10 years.
“My family went through so much suffering before I was even born, and then for me to have gotten that kind of opportunity in America, I tried to figure out how to make the best of it,” he said.
When he arrived in America, Pyrrhus said he felt “thrust into a new world” but he found an escape route in education. His father and grandmother urged him to make the most out of the educational opportunities in the U.S.
In school, his teachers assisted him not only to feel at home but to also explore new opportunities. His love for solving problems made his teachers advise him to pursue science which he followed.
He obtained a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey. Initially, Pyrrhus pursued biomedical engineering before switching to industrial engineering because he wanted to do something that was “hands-on.”
In 2017, he got the opportunity to do an internship at a semiconductor manufacturing plant. It gave him the opportunity to work between welders and computer engineers, which exposed him to the type of work in a manufacturing setting.
Afterwards, he landed a job as a computer engineer at Lockheed Martin in 2018, where he worked on weapon control systems, making $69,000 per year. Eventually, Pyrrhus fell in love with cloud computing and software engineering which subsequently influenced his next career path.
He went back to school in 2021 to obtain a master’s in applied data engineering at Syracuse University and eventually made a switch to JPMorgan Chase in Philadelphia in January 2022.