Thursday, March 10, 2016

SNRE profile: Steve Peterson solves computer problems

Steve Peterson

Steve Peterson has been interested in computers since he was 9 or 10. His parents bought an early- generation computer in the mid-1980s (maybe a Tandy) and they gave him a game called Mastertype.

Playing it involved typing single-letter commands at lightning speed to avoid collisions with asteroids. Through that, he became a keyboarding guru of sorts.

“You had to be very, very fast or the asteroids destroyed your planet,” he said.

Peterson’s interest in computers continued through high school in North Pole and college at DeVry  Institute of Technology in Kansas City, Missouri, where he studied programming and then switched to telecommunications management. After he graduated, he and his wife, Ana, headed home to raise their family in Alaska.

These days, as the information systems technician or “IT guy” for the School of Natural Resources and Extension, Peterson helps faculty and staff stay on top of the latest communications technology and challenges. He buys computers, installs software and helps coordinate videoconferences. He troubleshoots problems when people need help.

He likes the work.  “I enjoy computers and being the problem solver guy,” he says. He said he likes being able to save someone’s day when he figures out a solution or saves a file.

Peterson has been with the school since 2002, when it was then known as the School of Agriculture and Lands Resources Management.  He helped the school become an early leader with distance delivery of its classes.

In the earlier days, he spent a lot of time trying to keep up with the evolving hardware and technology. The rapid hardware changes have slowed down a little, but he continues to assess changes in technology as it evolves. 

Dave Valentine, the director of academics for the school, said Steve has been helpful finding online resources for backing up data and helping with smart classroom issues. Peterson is pretty patient, too, he said. “I think he tries very hard to help the technologically challenged.”

Peterson said his family life revolves around sports. He played basketball at North Pole High School and he now serves as head coach of the school’s varsity basketball team. The team includes both of his sons — one is a junior and the other a freshman. This is his third year of coaching, but his first year as the head coach. It’s been a challenge since the school plays much larger schools, including Lathrop and West Valley. To use a sports cliche, he is having a “rebuilding year” since the team is young and inexperienced. His wife is a team booster parent, who helps with fundraising. Other family interests include football, soccer and snowmachining.


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