The Journey

At the age of fourteen, Stephan migrated to the United States and was fortunate to reside within 5 miles of his aunt who is married to an IT Consultant. While visiting his aunt and uncle for the Christmas holidays, he was able to use an IBM computer for the very first time that belonged to his uncle. He had seen many computers in his homeland but he was not allowed to touch or use them as they were in businesses and local banks. It wasn’t until he saw his uncle’s home office setup that he became more interested in computers and this was only after learning that they could not only do work but also play games.

Before his visit ended, his loving uncle took him to the side and encourage him to “be smart enough to make games and not just play them” and so on the weekends while his cousins, friends, and classmates were following other interest, he was learning from his uncle how to use DOS commands and program in BASIC. His early training by his uncle on BASIC would come in handy when he was in Junior High and his teacher assigned his computer class a project to make a simple program using BASIC on the school’s Apple computer.

Stephan had to learn using an Apple Computer (which didn’t take long) as with the other students but while other students were reading the textbook on BASIC commands and writing the instructions set on paper to later input into the BASIC compiler, Stephan was doing it all in his head from his tutoring from his uncle that he had time to make a more elaborate program.

Stephan received very high marks from his teacher for his coding on the Apple computer and was one of four students to later demonstrate what they created in front of the Board of Education. As Stephan was using the Apple Computer more frequently over his uncle’s IBM computer, he asked his parents for his very own Apple Computer.

His proud father seeing him doing well bought him his very own 80286 IBM compatible computer for his 16th birthday (due to the sales rep saying PCs are better and Apple) and it was loaded with GW-Basic and with a few software updates, he had it running Q-Basic. Sadly, the computer would be his best and the last gift from his father as his father would soon pass away.

The 80286 computer from Packard Bell that his father had bought him came with a 12-month warranty and 4 months before the warranty ran out, the computer started to have problems and a month after it expired, it completely died. Sadly, Stephan did not know anything about warranty repair plus Packard Bell was retiring from the USA market but this turned out to be a lemonade from lemons situation.

Stephan tried to find jobs after school to help fix the 80286 computer since it was the last gift from his father but all the parts were integrated so it wasn’t fixable so he would have to buy a 80386 or 80486 computer. Since his mother was now responsible for making the installments on the 40 lb. paperweight, whatever Stephan earned was used to help pay off the installment.

With the final payment done on the paperweight, Stephan set out to buy an Apple Computer but then saw it would take too long to save up or pay off an installment so his next step was to build his own IBM compatible PC with parts that he could trust. Stephan discovered that obtaining parts separately would be triple the price of a preconfigured system from the local shopping mall so he would visit the local Salvation Army and Thrift Stores in his area to buy whatever “junk” was donated and then piece them together.

This now gave Stephan an understanding of putting together the hardware, troubleshooting, the OS install and use plus desktop and internet software so over time, he could easily build a Hackintosh and HackBook.

His continuing growing knowledge of hardware and software has helped him in landing positions at multi-location companies such as AT&T, Essex County College, Engineering Security Systems, Esquire Deposition, Hobart West, United Parcel Service and even launching several IT related businesses.

It has been said that chance favors the prepared mind and for over 30 years, Stephan is well prepared to take on any IT challenges that may come his way.