County I.T. Manager Set to Retire After 31 Years With Polk County, LIVINGSTON, September 7, 2015 - After 31 years of serving Polk County as the I.T. manager, Steve Hullihen is set to retire at the end of September. Steve went to work for Polk County in October of 1984. He was hired by then, County Tax Assessor, Bob Willis (Willis is now a County Commissioner). Initially, Steve managed the county's end of data management that was managed at the other end by a company called Western Data Services. Western Data Services would take the data from Polk County and print and mail out property tax invoices and provided multiple other services for Polk County. The cost for Polk County was over $70,000 per year. Bob and Steve teamed up and lobbied for the county to get it's own midrange computer so that Polk County could manage it's own data. The cost of the System 36 was around $30,000. With the System 36, Polk County would eliminate the need for Western Data Services (and their 70 grand per year cost), and for the price of the System 36 would handle their own data management all within the county. After a few years, the System 36 was upgraded to a new midrange computer called the AS400 (Applications System 400). In time, all Polk County offices were tied into the AS400 and data management was better. In April of 1992, Steve, after running I.T. by himself 8 years hired me (Willie P. Openshaw) as the second employee for Polk County Data Processing. As the years went by, the County became very PC (personal computer) oriented. The IBM AS400 evolved with the times and integrated with PCs. To this day, Polk County still relies on an AS400. Steve not only managed the AS400 but could be counted on during election nights to run the vote counting machine for Polk County. During Steve's time with Polk County, he raised his two daughters and helped put both through college. Now that Caley and Kelsey are properly educated, he decided that it's time to retire. I had the privilege of working side by side with Steve for 17 years before I chose a new career as a reporter. When I left the county in 2010, a capable young man named Mike Ainsworth filled my vacancy. Steve will probably still be around. He's content to call Polk County his home (though he was raised in Ohio mostly and is a graduate of The Ohio State University).
Congratulations Steve!, and Good Luck!
Willie P. Openshaw, Editor
Editor's Note: The description that I've provided above is very brief. There was much much more involvement for the Data Processing Department than is actually described above. But I chose to keep the article user friendly and not bore folks with computer and tech. stuff.
(L - R) Steve Hullihen, Gina Hullihen (Steve's Wife), Polk County Commissioner, Bob Willis, Marion "Bid" Smith. Bid became Tax Assessor after Bob left the Tax Office.
At Steve's retirement party, he provided some old data processing stuff from years past. Other items included a county brochure that has a picture of then Polk County Judge, Wayne Baker.
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