Meet Steven Tims '11
Director of information technology, Raven Industries, Sioux Falls
— business administration & computer information systems majors
Q. How did you choose Augustana?
A. Great local private school that offered a more well-rounded education; it also helped that my high-school sweetheart/future wife was going there.
Life at Augie
Q. Favorite class and why?
A. I really enjoyed the Project Management courses, as they provided hands-on experience working with local businesses.
Q. Favorite professor and why?
A. Professor Ryan Sougstad. Not only were his courses applicable to my career path, Professor Sougstad also was extremely flexible with my schedule during my early internships and first full-time position at Raven my senior year. He created a custom curriculum for one his courses that allowed me to use real projects as my examples for various assignments. His generosity and willingness to work around my situation allowed me to graduate on-time with my classmates, while also working full time at Raven.
Q. Best Augie memory?
A. The Goo Goo Dolls concert was an awesome time.
Q. Tell us about your journey after graduating from Augustana – first job, grad school, travel, etc.?
A. My journey after Augustana really started during senior year, when I accepted a full-time position at Raven as IT Support Manager. My wife and I had just had our first child, so we dove headfirst into parenthood and careers.
Q. Tell us about your career – what’s an average day like?
A. I’m responsible for all of the IT operations within Raven Industries. I manage the service desk, infrastructure, and software development teams. Raven has three different business units, so my goal is to understand the IT priorities for the organization, and ensure our team is focused on the highest impact projects for Raven. An average day for me involves attending various meetings with the business units and teams within IT — primarily focused on aligning our IT projects with the goals of the company.
Q. Greatest challenges and best rewards of your current role?
A. Raven offers a very dynamic and exciting environment, with no shortage of projects and challenges. Our team supports users and technologies around the world, and has to constantly think on our feet. Most recently our team was involved with integrating one of the largest acquisitions Raven has ever completed. The increased global IT security threats have kept us especially busy lately, as you are always trying to stay one step ahead of the next vulnerability.
Q. Greatest professional accomplishment thus far?
A. I am the youngest director in the company, which has been a truly challenging and rewarding experience. I was also given the exciting opportunity to work with Google, on behalf of Raven, with our Project Loon efforts. Project Loon is Google’s audacious goal to provide Internet access to the entire globe through stratospheric balloons, provided by Raven.
Q. What’s next for you professionally?
A. I love what I am currently doing, and plan to continually expand my experience and build the IT function, along with the organization.
Q. If you could offer a prospective or existing Augie student some advice, what would you say?
A. First off, if you aren’t already going to Augie – you should. If you are interested in a particular career, first shadow or get an internship. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of being exposed to the actual working environment and speaking with professionals in practice.
Q. Tell us about your family.
A. My wife Mackenzie, Augie Nursing grad ’12, stays at home with our three awesome children: Amelia (5), Bennett (3) and Claire (1).
Q. What’s given you the greatest personal satisfaction since graduating from Augie? And why?
A. Raising my family. I am continually amazed by the joys and challenges of being a parent. It has helped me grow both personally and professionally, and has defined who I am today. I owe a lot of this to my wife, Mackenzie, who has been extremely supportive since graduation; and has dove head-first into being a professional Mom.
Q. A foundation for life at Augustana begins with our five core values – Christian Faith, Liberal Arts, Excellence, Community and Service. How did your time at Augustana help to ensure those values remain central in your life?
A. In general, the well-rounded curriculum and broad experiences I had at Augustana helped me understand my true passion and ultimate career path.