Get to know one of our uncommon Concordians, Director of Buildings and Grounds Steve Hibbard.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the spring 2023 edition of Hearts Together, a magazine publication of Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor.
As Concordia University Wisconsin celebrates the 40th anniversary of its move to the Mequon campus, it’s the perfect time to highlight the person who knows more about its buildings and facilities than anyone else. Sure, many know Steve as the guy who has been keeping things together since 1999—and maybe some have noticed him playing organ during Chapel services from time to time. But there’s more to know about this musical, multifaceted Concordian than first meets the eye.
What brought you to Concordia in the first place?
My wife, Suzanne, had just started taking some classes when we drove up to Concordia from Hales Corners in 1989 to hear the new Steiner-Reck organ in the Chapel. After she decided to continue her education here, she became Concordia’s first graduate of the Master of Church Music program and later was Dr. John Behnke’s assistant director for the Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble. Meanwhile, I took advantage of the opportunity to study organ under Dr. Behnke. We became lifelong friends with John
and his wife, Chris.
Where does your love of music come from—and does it go beyond the organ?
I started young on the piano, and since my dad is a pastor, I started to play for church services occasionally. As a young man, I played in a professional music group, doing shows around the Midwest. From 1989–92, I was chief instrument tester for the Frank Holton Company, which made high-end brass instruments in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. I never got to meet Miles Davis, but I worked on his horns. In addition to playing occasionally at CUW, I am organist-choir director at Faith Lutheran Church in Cedarburg.
What’s your favorite story to tell about your job?
There are so many! Like when the NFL’s St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams had a three-week camp here in 2008. That was really exciting. But by far the biggest event was in 2004 when U.S. President George W. Bush came to campus to give the commencement speech. I got word of it on April 1, so when I tried to tell the team they all thought it was an April Fool’s Day joke! We had just six weeks to accomplish a lot of things for the May 14 graduation.
What’s the best part of the job—and what’s a pet peeve?
Favorites are working with the people and enjoying the view every morning when I arrive on campus. I always drive along the lake and never take that beauty for granted. As for a pet peeve, it’s definitely when people want to give me verbal “work orders” when I’m walking in the hallway. Please use the link on the portal!
How important is it to have a great team in your job?
Super important! CUW is blessed to have great craftsmen working on our campus. In addition to our skilled maintenance team, we have dedicated and thoughtful housekeepers led by Laurie Strommen, one of the most caring people I know. I enjoy coming to work every day and being able to interact with the entire team.
Steve and his team are able to keep Concordia functional and fresh thanks to support from the Concordia Fund. The Concordia Fund is a yearly giving opportunity that provides critical operational revenue for the university. Gifts are used in the year they are given, allowing the university to offer Concordia student the increased quality and excellence they deserve while offsetting the cost of tuition.
The spring 2023 Hearts Together magazine hit mailboxes in April. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, email Jennifer.Hackmann@cuaa.edu.