Retiree: Steve Whalen, Information Technology Specialist

Information Technology Specialist Steve Whalen is retiring after 22 years with the college. His last day of work will be June 28.

Chester Baldwin, one of Whalen’s fellow information technology specialists at South Puget Sound Community College, said, “He is more knowledgeable on the subject of recording software than anyone I’ve ever met. He has a big heart and has always been willing to share his time and energy with those in need. He will be greatly missed.”

Whalen started in computers back in the 1980s. He earned an associate degree in media technology from Bellevue Community College and a bachelor’s degree in media and arts management from The Evergreen State College.

He initially found work with Laser Images which ran the “Lasarium” shows at the Pacific Science Center.
“It’s from there that I began on the digital road,” said Whalen.

Whalen ended up at SPSCC through his next job at Thurston Community Television (TCTV) as facilities manager of TCTV.

Russell Rose, director of SPSCC’s library/media center and member of the board of directors for TCTV, talked Whalen into applying for a media producer’s position at the library. Whalen joined the library staff in the summer of 1992. “The rest is history,” he said.

Rob Masterson, registration specialist, worked with Whalen in the library early in his career at the college. “When Steve Whalen joined the library,” he said, “we already had Steve Willis among our small group.” Masterson said, because of the potential confusion, Whalen was asked during his job interview if he would mind going by the name of Lothar and wearing a fez hat.

“Without missing a beat and demonstrating his easygoing nature, Steve agreed,” said Masterson.

A name tag saying “Lothar” was put on Whalen’s door, and he was given a makeshift hat on his first day.
Masterson said that the two Steves were also jokingly known as Whalen and Willie, a reference to country music stars Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

“I will miss seeing Steve around campus as another member of the old guard moves on to an exciting new adventure,” he said.

Bonnie Jones, library cataloger, said of Whalen, “In addition to his other duties on campus, he maintained the formerly self-hosted library system server, and he cheerfully provided in-house technical support of all kinds. He also made creative, course-specific videos which I enjoyed cataloging for the library.”
“Steve is a brilliant guy and a great friend! I will miss his presence on our campus very much,” said Jones.

Whalen has been through many challenges over the years in his job, but for him, one of the most memorable was the first time SPSCC held graduation outside in June 1993, he said. In case it rained, the graduates and guests would file into nearby classrooms to keep dry. Whalen had to set up video feed of the event so that the guests could watch the ceremony out of the rain.

“We did have all the technical infrastructure set up just in the nick of time and ready to roll; the good news was that it didn’t rain,” he said.

Whalen also handled audio projects for the college over the years, including making recordings of the choir.

“We have just about all the performances on CD, and I am very proud of how they turned out,” he said.
As for where SPSCC is headed in terms of digital technology, Whalen predicts more and better networking infrastructure in the future, among other things.

“There will be more and stronger wireless connection points; there will be better and more available workstations for Library and Learning Center patrons, a more robust and dependable network infrastructure, a help desk that is everything to everybody, and staff that understands that students come first,” he said.

Even though Whalen is looking forward to retirement, he regrets not being able to work in the new Building 22. He participated in many of the planning meetings for it.

When he retires, Whalen plans on taking some time to work on his property, do some hiking and traveling, and “pester” his cats, he said.

Whalen has many hobbies, but his main passion is music.

“My son Levi Whalen has started a really cool music production company called Royalty Recording, and I hope to help him out with developing his company,” said Whalen.

Royalty Recording’s facebook page:
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