Town's Tech Guy Not Typical Computer Geek

PAYSON PEOPLE

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Steve DeHaan went to college on a football scholarship. His favorite leisure activity is going to the Payson Athletic Club and working out.

He is not your typical computer geek. But he is the guy that keeps the town's computer systems humming.

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Steve DeHaan

DeHaan is the official town of Payson information systems technician (though he prefers the title of systems engineer).

The thing that makes DeHaan the most atypical of the computer whiz kids we see portrayed in the media is the fact that he didn't know anything about high tech until about four years ago.

"Changing careers four years ago has to have been my greatest feat so far," DeHaan said.

A native of Chicago, his family came to Arizona when he was in fourth grade, settling in Casa Grande where his grandparents owned and operated Dell's Pizza. He grew up in the restaurant business and worked for the family when he finished college.

"I was getting older and knew there were other things out there I wanted to do," DeHaan said.

A friend told him about the Microsoft Certification for Systems Engineers program. He looked into it and jumped in with both feet, even though his computer experience was limited to the restaurant's newly computerized cash register -- "I knew how to turn it on and click on the AOL icon to get on the Internet," DeHaan said.

When he enrolled in the MCSE program he was told about 80 percent of the students fail the first exam and after that about 70 percent drop out.

"I finished the training in four months and didn't fail a single test," he said.

In spite of his stellar work in the program, DeHaan could not find a job because he had no work experience in the field. Then he was asked to go to work for the school where he had trained.

"I worked there about a year-and-a-half and then came here," he said.

Although he had grown up in Arizona, he had not visited Payson and the Rim country until about five years ago.

"It's ironic," he said. "The first time I came through here I thought it would be a neat place to live, and now, here I am."

DeHaan has worked for the town for two years and sometime in the future he may start a side business working on other computers. For now, he helps a few individuals outside of work.

"They know what I do, or someone has told them, and they call because they're having problems and I help them out when I can," he said.

Profile

Name: Steve DeHaan

Occupation: Information Systems Technician (Systems Engineer)

Employer: Town of Payson

Age: 40

Birthplace: Chicago

Family: Mother, Sandy; sister, Stacey, both of Casa Grande.

Personal motto: Treat others the way you like to be treated.

Inspiration: My parents -- without them I wouldn't be the way I am; and my old high school football coach, John Kasner, who helped me get a football scholarship to college, which made it possible for me to get a college education.

Greatest feat: Changing careers four years ago.

Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Going to the gym and working out.

Three words that describe me best are ... helpful, easy-going, creative,

I don't want to brag but ... I was able to get my Microsoft Certification for Systems Engineers in only four months without failing a single exam.

The person in history I'd most like to meet is: John Elway

Luxury defined: Having my own private island in the South Pacific where I could vacation whenever I wanted.

Dream vacation spot: Somewhere in Europe.

Why Payson? I was hired by the town of Payson two years ago.

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