Shift Professional development News People

From marine scientist to tech company - Rei Ishikawa shares his journey into tech.

Friday May 1, 2020

Rei Ishikawa is Chief Operations Officer of, a healthtech company founded and based in Dunedin. As a Japanese national growing up in Hawaii, Rei came to New Zealand’s University of Canterbury to study Environmental Geography with a focus on climate change and marine science.

Rei’s studies led to a career in Dunedin “managing people and clients” as project manager in different roles including BioGas, NZ Defence, DCC Road Contracts (seawall impact), Cadbury and Speights.

Rei was approached to co-ordinate and manage the IT alignment, for the national merger between CRT and Farmlands. His first thought was “but I don’t know anything about farming!” After 2 years successfully modernising and aligning the South Island infrastructure and data for Farmlands, another opportunity arose in an industry he had no previous experience in, healthcare.

Rei initially became the Project Manager for BPAC NZ, a health informatics software development and implementation organisation. With contracts nationwide and overseas, such as PHARMAC, Ministry of Health (NZ) and overseas in Sussex UK, Victoria, NSW and Queensland Health in Australia. 

“A beginner’s mind is a wonderful thing” Rei shares with the cohort, "not having a farming or health background has even been an advantage". 

Rei likes to have people with diverse backgrounds on the team at BPAC. While the platform is built "using doctors to build information for doctors," many of the technical team are not from a health background, including Project Managers, UX team, Business and Data analysts.

After 5 years in a variety of roles within the tech industry, Rei says  “You can’t learn for the jobs of tomorrow, but you need to be able to fit with the culture of the organisation. Industries employ people who want to learn”.  

If you would like to share your tech experiences with our students, please email or call 0800 990 024.

View our SIGNAL Industry Insights page to see our current line-up of industry leaders, sharing their experience with our SHIFT Cohorts.

Photo Gallery

See also...

Events Professional development + 2 More
SIGNAL hosts November Dunedin BA Meetup
Friday November 27, 2020
Join the next Dunedin Business Analyst Meetup, providing face to face networking and support for our BA community, Tuesday 3 November.
News People + 2 More
OPINION: Time for a Coherent Tech Ed Policy
Thursday October 29, 2020
Labour has the mandate to think big and set lasting direction - will it have the courage to fix the gaping hole in its unfolding Review of Vocational Education and address the reality of technology change? Martyn Rivett, co-author of the Horizons Report 2020 shares his thoughts on the future of tech education in NZ.
News People + 3 More
Game industry events add value to the growing Dunedin scene
Tuesday October 27, 2020
With game development funding announcements due in a couple of weeks from #CODE - NZ Centre of Digital Excellence, local game developers were treated to two informative events in October.

Subscribe to our Newsletter