Tag Archives: illinois technology association

“Getting to Know” ITKAN Members – Dan TeVelde

Creative leaders in technology take different paths, but it doesn’t necessarily call for a certification or degree to achieve their goals (of course it helps speed their progress). The booming growth of the I.T. field calls across all educational parameters, including ones that wouldn’t come quickly to mind.

Many people in information technology today come from fine arts, specifically in the field of music. The study of music emphasizes creativity, timing and performance, and this compliments a career in information technology very well. Ask our featured “Getting to Know” ITKAN Member, Dan TeVelde.

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Name: Dan TeVelde

Home: Forest Park, IL

Involved and Interested in IT – 22 years as a  Programmer & Analyst, McDonald’s, Oak Brook, IL

Education:  M.F.A. in Music, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

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Thanks for your time, Dan.  Can you tell me how did come to the realization that IT was for you? 

I heard about a program to teach computer programming to the disabled.  I was working at another job and felt like it wasn’t going anywhere.  I had always wanted to learn how to use a computer so I took a chance on the training program.  After a year the school placed me in my current job.

Where do you think the information technology field will be in the next five to ten years, Dan?

I think the emphasis in IT will keep shifting away from just coding to more use of communication skills.  People will be working together to enhance their companies’ role in the economy.  As people become more sophisticated computer users, there won’t be as much of a need for IT people to do tech support or application development.  I think we will see more use of social media and mobile applications.  Everyone in a company will be collaborating rather than having their own spheres of influence.

People will also need to be more flexible when the priorities of a business change and must be ready to take on new roles and responsibilities.  Desktop computers are disappearing and I think the same may happen to laptops.  There won’t be a distinction between mobile and traditional operating systems.  Everyone will be using some kind of interchangeable mobile device.

As you are an employee of McDonald’s, can you offer insight on working with such a great company in regards to diversity and inclusion?

None of Us Is As Good As All of Us: How McDonald’s Prospers by Embracing Inclusion and Diversity

McDonald’s has had a forward-thinking outlook on social responsibility.  All types of employees are valued for their unique contributions to the company.  There are always opportunities for any company to expand the scope of what diversity means.

ITKAN has been gaining traction in various areas with its mission. What do you think about this dynamic group, and I’d love to hear your views on your participation on the new Visionary Innovation Team! 

I think what ITKAN is doing is great.  I would like to see more participation by businesses to send people to represent their companies at our meetings.  This would help connect people with jobs and other opportunities.  It would also be helpful to have other technology companies involved.  It’s great that Microsoft is being such a good host, and we need other tech companies like IBM, Oracle and others to participate in our meetings.

As far as my involvement with the visionary team is concerned, I think there is a lot of potential to make a difference.  We will need to find software developers who can work within the parameters we determined at our last meeting.  It would also be helpful to have some engineers there at the meeting who could interact with us about how to develop and deploy new hardware and software.

I can’t think of a time when the need has been more critical to develop better computer interfaces for the blind.  This is very important and timely.  Failure to do so would allow the IT field to completely pass us by and most blind people would either lose their jobs or not be able to find new ones.

What are your top 5 most visited Web sites? 

That’s a hard question to answer but the ones I can think of now are The American Foundation for the Blind, the American Printing House for the Blind, the American Council for the Blind,  Google and Facebook.

You have a knowledge and love for music. Can you tell us about that and does that compliment your occupation today? 

I’ve always had a love of music I grew up hearing it, studied piano in grade school and high school, and majored in it in college.  I was going to teach at the college level but things didn’t work out that way.  I would say where music relates to what I do now is that it is part of my ministry at my church and it provides a conversation piece with people.  I once had a manager who said he would recruit IT people from the music departments of colleges.  There’s a relationship in how the brain handles music and also logic for IT work.

Any closing remarks, Dan? 

I appreciate the opportunity to put myself out there and try to make a difference.

“Getting to Know” ITKAN Members – Joseph Blasi

As the Information Technology Knowledge Ability Leadership Network (ITKAN) continues through 2012, we have focused on displaying our membership and their skills. This week, Bill O’Connor focuses on our first member interview, Joseph Blasi.

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Name: Joseph Blasi

Home: Des Plaines, IL

Involved and Interested in IT – 10 years

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Hello, Joe.

“Call me Joseph.”

Sorry, Joseph…Some questions for you as an I.T. professional…What 3 factors do you bring to the table in IT?

¨     “I have worked on various projects building and repairing hardware and configuring software and PC systems.

¨     “I really enjoy keeping up on technology, especially new releases of Microsoft products.

¨     I enjoy participating in technical forums. They allow me to look into different aspects of technology and be proactive in helping people with current problems and solutions.

Pretty solid background, Joseph. Where do you think technology will be in the next ten years?

“It really depends on the big players. How will Apple continue gaining of market share? Will Microsoft’s release of Windows 8 be a game changer? Will Linux build a general standardization in their niche? Even Internet service providers will havetheir say, as will the verdicts regarding network neutrality issues.”

What are the 5 Internet sites that you go to the most and why?

VP Forums – www.VPForums.org – This is a site that talks about virtual pinball. Pinball overall looked dead, but it seems to be having a rebound! 

Slashdot – www.slashdot.org – Good tech discussions, stories and articles. 

DSL Reports www.dslreports.org – Discussions on new sites and, like Slashdot, good dfiscussions about tech 

Simtropolis – www.simtropolis.com – This discusses the game SimCity, and I always want to keep up on it. The possibilities are endless with the program!

Mame World – www.mameworld.info – This talks about vintage arcade games, game simulation, and being able to play hundreds of arcade games on your PC. Awesome! 

What do you think about ITKAN? It’s a budding group, but what makes them special and productive?

It’s an interesting group. You’re focusing on people that have a lot of talent in the IT industry, but each one of them is really unique. It’s a tough job market, but these people need to be examined more closely. It’s a good idea, and hopefully, the members of the group will get some exposure. 

Thanks Joseph! Anything else?

Yeah, Bill, I’d like to be interviewed again! 

You bet, Joseph!

Coming next week, we meet with Brendan Ginty, an IT Security pro in Chicago.

ITKAN – Exploring a Passion for Technology without Limits!

Welcome to ITKAN – the Information Technology Knowledge Abilities Network! We’re excited to launch our site, share our mission, strengthen relationships with key partners, forge new partnerships and express our passion for technology and the many opportunities that harnessing it can provide to our members.

Who we are:

Speaking of our mission, ITKAN is a member-driven professional growth and networking organization dedicated to strengthening opportunities for members of the disability community with a passion for technology to achieve meaningful careers in the industry, be exposed to developing technologies and trends, and generally explore that passion. We are proud to be a 2012 Computerworld Honors Laureate! We are affiliated with the Illinois Technology Foundation, the academic partner of the Illinois Technology Association, and share their strong commitment to academic growth and passion for technology.

What we do:

ITKAN members commit to active support of our committees – Membership, Communications or Development. Additionally, they commit to a high level of participation in our monthly meetings – which is easy since we meet at the Microsoft Technology Center on Chicago’s beautiful lakefront – a haven for techies! Our monthly meetings are chock full of immersive programs with subject matter experts in leading edge technologies and platforms that impact all of us. Recent programs have explored:

·      Mobile technologies and their value to – and challenges for – the disability community; an agnostic discussion

·      Yong Kim – Creating your IT Career Path, a Personal Journey

·      Windows Mobile 7 – a hands-on tutorial by Evangelist Dave Bost on developing, and profiting from, mobile application development

·      Kinect – an immersive experience with Evangelist Krishna Kumar –  its application to and potential to impact the disability experience

Finally, as members of ITKAN we are all committed to exposing our rich talents and passion to the business community!

Connect with us!

Why not join us and help grow our community of talented IT professionals with disabilities? You can find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and of course right here! Don’t forget to join us at the MTC the 2nd Thursday of every month from 5-7PM!

ITKAN – Exploring a Passion for Technology without Limits!