All in the Family

Author: Joseph Fowler
Building supervisor celebrates 32 years in ECE

The Devault family has given almost a century’s worth of combined service to Purdue University. Steve Devault follows in his father and brother’s footsteps; his father worked as a farm manager for the Department of Animal Sciences and his brother worked for Purdue Utilities for over 25 years. The tradition isn’t confined to blood relatives either; his wife has worked for the Windsor Dining Court for over 25 years.

Steve Devault

Steve Devault has added his 32 years at ECE to this already impressive total. “We’re a Purdue family,” said Devault. “I followed in my family’s footsteps because Purdue means stability.” He has worked for ECE since he was 18 years old, starting out in the printing shop before moving over to Building Services. For 32 years, he’s watched the department grow and change. Some the current professors were graduate students when he arrived, and he’s watched new staff and teachers enter ECE. “It feels like the changing of the guard. We have a bunch of great professors, everyone is dynamic and devoted to teaching and research.”

Not only the building allotment and project manager for ECE, Devault is also the mailing and shipping supervisor. His responsibilities keep him busy from the moment he arrives at 7:30 a.m. until he leaves at 4:30 p.m. “Getting here at 7:30 works out well for me and the department. Classes start at 7:30, so we’re already here to help the students and teachers.”

After checking the overnight e-mail requests for immediate tasks, he begins his day of meetings and projects. Professors often come to him with requests, “They come to us for a lot of stuff: the classroom is locked, there’s no power, the equipment is malfunctioning, and the like. It’s what we’re here for, the collaborative effort. We’re here to fill in the gaps, provide answers for them.”

Devault’s individual responsibilities include ordering features for the phone system, assigning office space, coordinating the mail room and managing remodeling projects where the budget exceeds $25,000. He is also in charge of replacing, copying and ordering new keys for the EE building. He is currently replacing the key cylinders in each door in the EE building. That’s over 300 doors and nearly 2,000 new keys. He expects to be busy with the project for quite awhile. “All of us look out for ECE. We all want to improve the department for the students and the professors; we’ll continue working for the betterment of them.”

“The best part of the job is the people and being part of a great staff.”
– Steve Devault

ECE has also provided Devault with the opportunity to further his education. Working around his schedule, he earned an associate degree in supervision. Because of his good relationship with ECE, he remains passionate about his job after 32 years. “I always want to do the right thing. I want to make sure what I do doesn’t hurt the department.” To him the best part of the job is the people, being part of a great staff, “I also love how it’s always changing; new projects, new problems, new solutions and new challenges.”

Devault is a devoted fan of the Purdue women’s basketball team. He’s held season tickets for over 15 years. He was also active in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program for over nine years. Devault often took his “little brother” to work and to basketball games. When he’s not at work, he’s in the field improving his 58-acre farm in Warren County. “I rent out the farmland, but there is always something to be taken care of,” he says.