Lake Zurich’s new IT director talks technology, home brews
Michael Duebner, the new IT Director at the Village of Lake Zurich, was hired to improve employee and business efficiency. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 12, 2012 8:34AM
LAKE ZURICH — When consulting service Plante and Moran conducted an assessment of the village’s overall information technology last year, its personnel recommended that Lake Zurich officials create an IT management position for better oversight of its technology functions.
As a result, Village President Suzanne Branding introduced Michael Duebner as Lake Zurich’s new information technology director Nov. 5. The hire, officials said, represented the beginning of better strategic guidance for the village’s technology functions.
“I think the village came to realize that technology was being used only to a limited extent, and it wasn’t really involving a more holistic approach,” said Duebner, adding that his task was to determine how the village’s employees and business processes could be combined for more operational efficiency.
Duebner said that while the traditional perspective of what any IT professional does is fix computers and operating systems, the role of an IT director in the private sector and in corporations has been reinvented as a business driving unit.
“An IT director is responsible for managing budgets, business progress, reducing expenses and looking at operations,” Duebner said. “It’s not just saying ‘here’s a box on your desk that allows you to send email,’ but it’s also figuring out how that relates to what you want to get accomplished and how you can achieve those mission goals.”
While Duebner lives in Mount Prospect, he said he’s so far enjoyed his experience in Lake Zurich, and looks forward to learning more about it as he spends more time in town.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up on East Coast, in New Jersey.
Q: What brought you out to the Midwest?
A: I think what brought me out here was the change of scenery.
Q: What do you like about Lake Zurich?
A: Environmentally, Lake Zurich has a lot to offer, like the shopping on Routes 22 and 12. You also have the downtown area where you have the opportunity to walk down the street and look at the lake. I think it’s just a great environment to raise a family in.
Q: What is your favorite community event?
A: I’m going to have the opportunity of experiencing all those events, so you’ll have to ask me next year.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant?
A: My wife and I maintain a “date night” on Friday night at a restaurant in Des Plaines called the Sunrise Grill, and we enjoy going there as part of our Friday night event.
Q: What is your favorite entertainment venue?
A: Our son is a music education major who has always been involved in music, and in the summer we go to drum corps competitions for the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps in Rosemont. They spend 12 weeks throughout the summer traveling throughout the U.S. in a convoy of buses and trailers and they perform almost nightly in different towns, with a final competition in Indianapolis in the middle of August.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
A: I previously served as an IT operations manager in Oak Park and as an IT director in Des Plaines. I’ve always been interested in how we can make the most of what we already have. Sure, I can fix your software, but my true passion is really with IT strategy.
Q: If you weren’t in IT, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
A: Brewing beer. I’m a home-brewer, and I brew as much of a variety as I can come up with. I think most people start out brewing lighter beers and venture off into darker stouts and porters. I’m kind of in between, because I like to have a variety of brew recipes that I’m working on.
Q: What are your future goals?
A: My goals are more modest at this point in time. Collectively, as a family, we are focusing more on making sure our son is successful in college and is able to find a job or graduate position at the end of it.
Q: What are you reading?
A: I spend way too much time reading tech journals and white papers — those types of business-oriented articles. I’m not reading anything really recreational at the moment.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: “The Hunt for Red October”
Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
A: I used to listen to radio all the time on my way to work, but I hardly do anymore. Now I listen to a lot of talk radio. If I do listen to music, it’s more rock and roll.
Q: What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
A: We tend to go to Germany on a more of a frequent basis.
Q: Do you prefer summer to winter, or vice versa?
A: I am seasonally agnostic.
Q: What is your favorite Chicago sports team?
A: The Chicago White Sox.