Meet the New CALS IT Director: Stefan Wahe

Welcome Stefan!

Stefan Wahe started as the new IT Director for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in early February. In this role, he is responsible for providing overall leadership and accountability for college-wide information technology services, as well as strategic management of the IT needs for the college and its 17 academic departments.

Stefan is a great addition to the CALS IT team, as well as an important asset for the college.

Get to Know Stefan:

What has been your favorite thing so far about working at CALS IT?

How excited people are about the overall missions of CALS.  The faculty, researchers, administrative, staff, and students all have spoken highly of the mission of Ag sciences. 

What has been the most surprising thing so far about working at CALS IT?

With the recent transition to Remote learning, I am impressed with the faculty for making what appears to be a smooth transition to using remote learning technologies.

What’s your favorite thing about working in IT in general?

My favorite thing about working in IT is problem solving. Technology is so pervasive in how students learn, how the university is managed, with communications, research and socializing.  I like helping solve business problems where IT and data management can assist.

What is your favorite food?

Banchan, which is served as a first course in Korean meals and is meant to be shared.  Think appetizers or tapas. These are small dishes like kimchee, sesame steamed vegetables, or tofu simmered in a seasoned broth.  My wife and I have two sons adopted from South Korea and one son from China.  This is a good traditional meal that give us the opportunity to try different tastes, textures and discuss what we like and don’t.

Where do you live?

My family lives in Cottage Grove. I have been living there since 2005 when Michelle and I were married.  We both enjoy being near Madison’s east side. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

I coach a lot of baseball and help with my wife’s on-line business.  I know helping run a business doesn’t seem like something to do with free-time.  But it is something that feed my entrepreneurial spirit. 

What was the best advice you’ve ever received?

My Father always reminded me that life is always going to get better and better as I get older.  This taught me to enjoy the present but keep looking forward (and don’t live in the past).  He was the Dean at the high school I went to and was there when I received my diploma.  He asked me, “remember what is next.” And he was right. 

What is something you’d like to learn?

I want to learn about the various types of classical music.  I often flip on the Classical for Focus channel when at work because it helps me…, well focus.  Growing up I only learned how to play the piano at a very basic level. I would like to understand more about the various of composers an how they created their works and the techniques I should be listening for. 

What is your favorite movie?

The Godfather and The Godfather II because of the story it tells of family and trying to change but being cast in a certain type of system.  The timeline of an immigrants story is interesting. 

When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a politician.  I blame this on watching the television show Benson and believing being a politician was about helping people.  Which it is but not always done. 

If you were given a free vacation, where would you go?

Well before COVID-19, the family and I were suppose to go to Costa Rica.  This would have been a completely different trip than I have taken in the past.  Staying the night in a rain forest, hiking on an active volcano, and seeing the ocean was a reward I was looking forward to and a great experience with our boys.  Last year Michelle and I took our sons to South Korea and China to visit their birth countries.  The experience truly opened up their desire to explore the world.  The Costa Risk trip is an extension of our previous experience.