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Thomas Behman: Staying Connected to Service

Thomas Behman
Thomas Behman ’09

When Thomas Behman (Computer Science/Software Engineering ’09) was looking at college degrees, the world of technology was on the edge of change. With smart phones on the rise, along with the growing number of devices connecting to the internet, it wasn’t difficult to see a future career in computer science, an area that had already piqued his interest. “I recognized that the computer science/software engineering skill set would provide many career path options in the years to come. I was interested in the way that software was changing,” he said. “PCC’s program gave me a solid foundation in computer science. The program trained me to apply critical thinking in every IT discipline that I encounter.”

Thomas currently works as an IT infrastructure architect at Consumers Energy, a public utility in Michigan. He designs and implements server and storage infrastructure to support business-critical applications, delivers enterprise infrastructure that drives business value and reduces operational costs, and collaborates with IT vendors to explore new innovative solutions to solve business problems. “Currently, I’m working on a project to transform our backup and disaster recovery strategy to a next generation hybrid cloud solution,” he said. “Our goal is to enable our 6.7 million gas and electric customers to have access to the services they need during storm and power outages. Our healthcare customers depend on our services for health and life safety.”

As technology continues to change, Thomas recognizes the importance of staying ahead of the curve. He has worked hard to keep Consumers Energy at a sustainable level of resilience, retaining a reliable production environment. “Having a productive IT career is like riding a tidal wave,” he said. “I have to ride the wave of change by staying abreast of the latest technology, or I’m going to get left behind. Know what skills you don’t possess and have a plan to bridge that gap. Learn the technologies that could transform your industry so that you can stay relevant. Keep an open mind about changes coming in technology and don’t be resistant to it. Stay well-read and informed on what is on the technology horizon. Don’t let your career go to ‘the cloud.’”

Thomas’s experiences with computer science as a student have proven significant in his current career. “PCC’s Software Engineering Project with Dr. [Michael] Geary was a valuable part of my education at PCC,” he said. “As the project manager, I had the opportunity to develop my soft skills by working among the three software engineering teams. An effective leader will nurture the strengths of his team members to bring out the best in them. I wanted to encourage our teams to be committed to a common goal.”

While he was interested in studying in computer science, Thomas Behman took note of PCC’s encouraging Christian environment. “I didn’t want to be influenced by the worldly philosophies that are so prevalent in secular universities,” he said. “The spiritual lessons I learned at PCC have had a lasting impact on me. By leaving my home for the first time, I had to decide that God was going to be my God.”

“Mr. [Mickey] Stemen showed me that I can be a full-time Christian in my IT career,” Thomas said. “He was excellent at giving deep technical explanations of the x86 CPU instruction set, but he also taught that we should demonstrate Christian ethics in the workplace. His love for Jesus was clearly seen in his teaching.”

Thomas learned quickly to keep open communication with his colleagues and an open mind to God’s direction in his life. “An important aspect of an IT career is to network with people. We often say that it’s a small world in IT. I have to be diligent about keeping a good testimony at work. You never know who may become your boss one day,” he said. “Ultimately, it was God that opened the door for me to work at Consumers Energy. My manager at Dell EMC moved on to a job at Consumers Energy and gave a recommendation that I would be a good fit for the company.”

On the path forward, Thomas and his wife, Jensine (Nursing ’09), are working toward sharing the gospel in the Philippines, where they’ve traveled on missions trips over the past ten years. “We are fully persuaded that whatever God has for us is better than what we could do for ourselves,” Thomas said. “We are thankful for the careers that God gave us, but now we are answering the call to go serve the Lord full-time. We’ll be working to plant churches in the 21,000 unreached villages of the Philippines.”

Looking over his time since college, Thomas Behman is comforted by the opportunities God has given him to serve and support ministries, regardless of his vocation. “We must remember that whatever occupation God calls us to, we need to be full-time Christians. God gives us our careers so that we can give and minister through our local church. Our end goal should be the same whether we are IT professionals or missionaries on a foreign field,” he said. “You will never regret a life lived for Jesus Christ. I think that missionary C.T. Studd said it well—‘Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.’”

Check out PCC’s engineering department for majors in computer science and information technology.

Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.