Interview by: Ann Johannes
We thought we’d take the opportunity to introduce you to some of our staff – those who you might not see each time you come to the library but who play an integral part in the operations of the library. Without them, our lives would be much more challenging!
We asked each of them a series of questions and noted their responses.
In our second installment of Meet Our Staff, we’re going to introduce you to Steve, our Systems Technician in our Innovation & Technology department.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Family members?
I grew up right here in Coquitlam. My mom was also born and raised here, the daughter of two Maillardville pioneers - the Decaires and the Hammonds. Both of those streets here in Coquitlam were named for our family. My Dad is from Armley, Saskatchewan. We have a grain elevator named after the family there. I have an older brother and sister. I currently make my home in Maple Ridge but my heart will always be here in Coquitlam. My most famous relative is my cousin Paul Nicklen, a former National Geographic photographer. We have one of his books here in the Library. You have probably seen his swimming polar bear as a screen saver on Apple devices.
What did you do before working at the library?
I worked as IT Director for a large law firm in downtown Vancouver for 24 years. I have always worked in technology, my first technical role was fixing video games and robotic characters at Chuck E Cheese’s when I was 16. Electronics has always fascinated me. I used to ride my bike around Coquitlam on spring cleanup day and take apart old TV’s on the side of the road to collect parts to experiment with.
What do you do at the library?
I am a computer technician and primarily look after our computers, 3D printers, virtual reality and the digitization lab. Although, if anything is broken I like to just get in there and fix it if I can.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love bikes! I have a shop in my garage where I collect and repair donated bikes and supply them to migrant farm workers in the Pitt Meadows / Maple Ridge area. I love the outdoors and spend a lot of time walking, hiking and cycling. My wife and I are also involved in running seminars and retreats for engaged and married couples to boost their relationships. I have a load of other hobbies and never have enough time for all of them. I still tinker with electronics when I can find the time.
Were you a library user before you started working at the library?
Yes, I love history and genealogy. I spent many lunch hours and evenings at VPL scanning through microfilm and old books. I am still amazed at the vast resources that Libraries provide.
If you weren’t working at the library, what would you be doing?
Working in a bike shop for sure, or out on the trails hiking and riding.
What’s your favourite book?
I would go with New England Captives Carried to Canada by Emma Lewis Coleman. One of my ancestors is in the book and I found the entire subject to be astonishing and fascinating reading.
What are you currently reading?
Park Tool’s Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair – highly recommend!
What’s on your “to read” book list?
The Arduino Cookbook and The Raspberry Pi Cookbook. Great reference material for the techno savvy. I should really get back to reading some fiction - lately it’s been all reference books.
What’s your favourite song or album or artist....or what's a song lyric that best describes your life...or words to live by.
I love 90’s grunge music, particularly Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Under the Bridge and Scar Tissue are two of my favourites. I played some guitar back in high school and had a band with some friends. I soon realized I had no talent to offer and became their sound man running the mixing console.
What is your favourite resource at the library?
My favourite resource at the Library are the 3D printers. I think it is such cool technology and all kids should have a chance to try them out if they are interested.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Healing for sure. Imagine if you could look at a person and take away their emotional or physical pain just like that. That would be epic.
What’s one thing people might be surprised to know about you?
I am currently applying for membership in the Metis Nation of Canada. My mom’s family is part Iroquois, from Kenesatake, Quebec (Oka).