Steve Swanson

Data Solutions Director

While I really enjoy—and have a long history in—programming and data processing, when someone asks me what I do, I still just say, market research. It makes me sound less techy, and I've found it allows for much more common ground to entertain opinions and conversation. Unlike the stereotypical tech geek sitting in front of a computer, I love talking with people. Everyone has a life story. It is what ties us together as humans. And yet, at the same time, it makes each of us so unique. Even with my love for computers and programming, I certainly believe the people side of the industry is what drew me in. And it is definitely the reason I'm still here.

Why do you do what you do for a living?

One of the things that drives me is solving problems—finding solutions to things that seem really intense, or where there's a lot going on, and breaking it down into smaller pieces and coming to an answer. I like taking a problem, whether it's in programming or data processing, and finding the solution. I love puzzles, but really I'm a support person; I love to be able to help people.

Who's on your dream client list?

The companies I would really like to work with are the ones who would take our information to develop customer relations that work. Anyone who takes the time to really want to make their customer happy. I am all for that.

If you weren't doing this, what else would you be doing?

If I could do anything in the world and get paid for it, I would be a pilot. I love to fly, whether it's a small plane, a helicopter, or a giant commercial jet. I love to be in the air. It's the same way I feel about diving. It's all that open space. It's completely and totally freeing. All your stress, all your pressure—all that stuff just goes away and you just get to enjoy that moment. It's exciting for me.

What inspires you?

People helping people. If you go out of your way to do something for someone that you don't have to do, to give guidance or other help to someone else, that's what being a human being is about. And you don't see it enough. But when you do see it, it's one of those things that makes you smile and makes it worthwhile to be in the human race. And it doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering; it can be simple, daily events. Just taking a step to make someone else's life a little bit better or maybe just make them smile. The more smiles I see in a day, the better I feel. I hope that every day, I am THAT person when the opportunity comes along.

Why is being people-first important to you?

Because I am a people too. I experience the same things other people experience with products or services. I know what it feels like to have someone care about you, and your concerns, but on the other hand, I also know what it feels like to just have someone on the other end just spouting corporate policy with no desire to put me first. I know how I want to be treated. So personally, I try to always put the person first. It shows you care.

What's one thing you love about working at Bovitz?

The people here are incredible. We are all trying to achieve a goal, sometimes more stressful than others, but remain respectful of each other in the process. There's a give-and-take and a sense of camaraderie that says we're all on the same team. To me, that is paramount to the success of a company. Carey and Greg have done a great job in creating an environment that allows this to happen naturally. There are a lot of companies you can work for, and a lot of jobs you do to make money, but to be happy, you have to enjoy the drive to work. You have to show up at the building and think, "Yeah! Cool. It's a new day. Now let's go in and have some fun."

Tell me about one of your favorite people in the world.

One of my favorite people of all time is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He would get my top human being award. He understood that it was through understanding—not violence—that things would change most dramatically. He proved that it could be done—that if you use love instead of hate, understanding instead of intolerance and forgiveness instead of resentment, you have the ultimate power...the power to change minds. When we as a society work together toward a common goal, rather than constantly concentrating on our differences, we can create something better for ourselves in the here and now, and the entire human race for generations to come.

What's one of the best pieces of advice you've ever gotten?

It's a standard piece of advice, but: be yourself. Don't worry about what other people think or if you're pleasing them—just do what you feel is right and be yourself. And if people like you, then they like you for who you are, not for who you are trying to be. So, who am I? I think in a former life I was a dolphin. Because that's when I'm truly me—when I'm diving and I'm in that open space and I can just be one with the environment. It gives me an opportunity to let everything go, just for that moment, and to really feel at one with the universe, with every living thing. But, unfortunately at some point, I always seem to have to come back up for air.

Tell me one thing on your bucket list.

I've done eight cross-country rides on a motorcycle, but it's always been because I needed to get somewhere. I want to take a cross-country ride on my motorcycle from the West coast to the East coast, with someone else who enjoys it as much as I do. Not focused on getting anywhere, just experiencing the ride. I wouldn't want to stop in any big cities—I'd want the space as empty as I could possibly get it. Just the mountains, valleys, rivers, and flatlands.

In the Industry: Since 1985

At Bovitz: Since 2012

Education: BA in Business Administration from Rasmussen Business College

His best quality: Trustworthy