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Bradley Hilltopics

Summer 2009 • Volume 15, Issue 3  

Alumni Profiles

Forties fellowship group | JOAN SCOTT WALLACE ’52: From academia to ambassador | Brush with the past: JERRY VALLEZ ’50 and DON HOLTON ’70  | MIKE BETZ ’87 and DAVID NICOLL ’93 team up for the environment at Cat | Obama campaign link — JEFF LINK ’05 | U of I business dean LARRY DeBROCK ’75 | Molly Picon actors on stage | Singer JENNIFER ROSA ’06

A link to Obama's campaign and beyond


JEFF LINK ’05 knew he was in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

At 25 years old, he had recently left his full-time job for a challenging, new opportunity with the Obama for America campaign. He was driving from his Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago to Sen. Obama’s home in Hyde Park in March 2007. Obama had recently announced his candidacy for president of the United States.

“I was most concerned about not screwing something up,’ said Link, an information technology (IT) professional for the campaign, who was assigned the task of connecting a couple of computers to the Internet in Obama’s home office. “I was pretty excited about the opportunity to be at his home. I knew going in that it would be something few other people would experience. Many people get to meet the president, many people met Sen. Obama on the campaign, but being able to walk into his house was a one-of-a-kind experience.’

As an IT support manager for the campaign, he established and monitored the help desk/technical support team at the Chicago-based headquarters and for campaign employees nationwide. Link, who found employment through the campaign’s Web site, later became a regional IT director and monitored about half the campaign’s IT directors. After the election, Link went to Washington, D.C., as a senior project manager for the Presidential Transition Team.

Link said a class with DR. CHUCK WEST, MS ’87, assistant professor of management information systems, helped to prepare him for the campaign. “Something I learned from him is that in programming, before you sit down to write code, you have to figure out the logic behind it,’ Link said. “You could figure out the entire program on a piece of paper without writing an actual piece of code. That helped a lot during the campaign.’

Link was hired in February as an IT specialist in the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), which is part of the Executive Office of the President (EOP). The office provides support for e-mail and the Internet. Link still finds it amazing to say he works in an office within the EOP and just a block away from the White House. “I don’t think I would have expected it two years ago,’ said Link, who now lives in Washington, D.C. “A lot of people say this was a series of ‘no-one-would-have-expected this.’ ’