Steve Longenecker Personal – At Community IT Innovators, we have an eclectic and diverse team with many different interests, joined by a desire to build strong relationships and provide great support to our fantastic clients. Up Close & Personal showcases our staff and what they are passionate about both at work and outside work.
Steve Longenecker, Director – IT Consulting, and his family on a vacation in
My wife grew up in Washington DC, and after some wandering together during our mid and late twenties we settled here in 2001. In those days I was a school teacher, and I found a job at Takoma Park Middle School teaching eighth grade science. It was a good job and valuable work.
My daughter Ruthie was born about a year later with significant developmental disabilities. It’s been a big part of my life. Early on there was so much going on that I cut my teaching duties down to half time to accommodate doctors’ appointments and therapies and whatnot. Between those challenges and the fact that I am probably only about 75% suited for teaching, by 2004 I was looking at a career reboot. In hindsight, the hardest parts of parenting Ruthie were ebbing by the end of that summer, but it remains true for me that landing at Community IT Innovators that September is one of the great good fortunes of my adult life.
It was tough starting over as an entry-level technician, but I immediately felt at home at a company that appreciated the skills I brought from my previous experience, where my initiative to learn and grow professionally was rewarded, and which was (and is) full of people like me – people with technical aptitude, sure, but not people defined by that technical aptitude.
My current title at Community IT is Director – IT Consulting, a job that has largely pulled me away from the technical work I do still enjoy. But I like the role because it allows me see IT with a wide lens, scoping projects to meet clients’ various business requirements. And I appreciate working with the amazing technical staff we assign to implementations. Together we’ve made significant improvements to project delivery at Community IT: quality control checklists assure greater consistency, specialization lets us match engineers to work they are experienced with, and coordination with Community IT’s ongoing support team makes for a smoother integration of project deliverables into clients’ regular operations. The management skills I first applied professionally as a classroom teacher have been applicable to Community IT PM work, and that feels good.
I would be remiss if I didn’t circle back a bit and also say more about current life in DC. Ruthie is ten now and doing well. Her brother Ammon is almost eight (he was born just a couple months before I started at Community IT) and doing well also. My wife became a DC history researcher (which makes better conversation for me than my doing IT work makes for her – no offense to IT people reading this). We enjoy playing ultimate Frisbee and play on a team (of oldsters) called Sludge. DC has worked out well, and Community IT’s been a big part of that for me.