When Michael Chahino arrived at Elgin Community College in 2006, he inherited a phone system dating back to the mid-1980s and a network infrastructure getting older by the day. Needless to say, a major overhaul was coming, and Chahino, the college's executive director of network operations and information security at that time, led the way.
It took time and work by him and the staff of ECC's Information Technology (IT) Department to perform a full upgrade of the college's technology. While many of those improvements are visible-such as phones that transmit over the internet rather than a landline, a speedy wireless network, and surveillance systems to improve safety throughout the college-others, like data closets and fiber optic network cables for connectivity, are behind the scenes.
“We've done a lot to bring the technology from there to here,” said Chahino, who now serves as ECC's chief information officer (CIO). “We're one of the best community colleges in Illinois, if not the nation, in terms of our technology.”
Although he is proud of the technological accomplishments that he led, Chahino understands the speed of change of information systems. He knows that additional upgrades will always be needed and is prepared for whatever new technology arises in the future.
“We're very aware with the new generation of technology, and we're always trying to meet those demands and be a step ahead of the need,” he said.
We caught up with Chahino and asked him some questions about himself and his work at ECC. Here are his answers.
In your words, what do you do at ECC?
The CIO provides vision and strong leadership for the IT Department and assists ECC's leadership team in coordinating an array of strategies and technologies in analysis, planning, and implementation of strategic, academic, and administrative technology services across the college. I also provide leadership and vision for developing and using information systems, resources, and technologies that support the college's academic and administrative needs while leveraging my knowledge of technology and business processes to optimize IT operations at ECC.
In addition, I oversee the IT Department's strategic and tactical planning, organizational management, financial management, and project governance and lead day-to-day IT operations.
What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?
I would try to meet with as many random students as possible to hear their feedback, concerns, and recommendations on making ECC a better place for teaching and learning.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
What's on your “bucket list?”
- Finish writing my life story, which I have started some time ago.
- Take my 10-year-old son to the Packers vs. Bears football game.
- Vacation for a month in Europe to visit old friends.
What's one fact we should know about you?
I was born in Lebanon.
What's something about your job that others should know?
I am always available to meet with anyone who would like to provide feedback on how to make the services provided by the IT department better.
What would be your “theme song?”
Frankie Laine's "Rawhide" from June 19, 1958.
What was your favorite class in school?
What was your first job out of school?
Making wooden boxes in a factory.
What quote best describes your philosophy?
In contradiction to the Consequentialist theory that said, “The end justifies the means,” my father, who is an author and a philosopher, says, “The human is the end and the means.”
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because….”
It is my second home.