I’ve been avoiding this post because I’m a chronic avoider of bad news.

But I’ve learned I can only avoid bad news for so long before it catches up. And so, friends, I must acknowledge that we’ve reached the end of an era.

To be exact, we’ve reached the end of a decade. Ten years ago this month Andy Altepeter joined Bethel as the first full-time web employee. Today, we’re saying farewell and wishing him all the best as he leaves his post for a new career opportunity.

Andy’s Contribution

To many of us, Andy often seemed like the man behind the curtain. We didn’t always understand what he did, but we knew that his work was crucial to making our web systems run. And we appreciated the fact that we always had someone to turn to when we ran into bugs and big issues.

For those of you who have heard the name Andy Altepeter but don’t know much about what he’s done for Bethel, I’d like to highlight just a few contributions he has made to our community.

  • Introduced the first content management system to Bethel far ahead of other universities.
  • Served as a key member of the team that launched Blink.
  • Rebuilt Bethel’s content management system for the web redesign project.
  • Grew from being a single-staff operation to managing a team of staff and student web developers.
  • Provided Bethel students with real world computer science experience to prepare for competitive careers and grad school programs.
  • Kept Bethel’s 50-plus web applications up, running, and improving.

Our Appreciation

Beyond his technical expertise, Andy has influenced all those who have had the pleasure of working with him. Whether it’s sharing a recipe for the best homemade bread, answering our repeated questions, or validating our personal gifts, there’s a lot we will miss and appreciate about working with Andy.

Here are a few things the web team has appreciated most about Andy:

Rarely do you come across a developer who is so gifted technically, yet also cares about the user’s experience. This makes Andy truly unique!

– AnnMarie Vennerstrom

Andy is committed to excellence. He sweats the details and has a high level of focus to make sure a job is done to the very best of his ability. Andy cares for the people he serves and uses his talents to provide them with great experiences.

– Jacob Johnson

The thing that I appreciate most about Andy is how approachable he is. He’s interested in and knowledgeable about a lot of different things, and he’s a really great teacher. He’s extremely patient and helpful, especially when it comes to sharing his tech wizardry.  I feel like I learn something new every time I talk to him. I also respect how hard he pushes himself to learn new things and innovate. He’s always searching for better solutions and looks for the right answer to a problem, not necessarily the easy answer.

– Erik Gruber

Most often humor is lost on technical people. The jokes they tell other people don’t get, and the jokes other people tell they don’t get. Not with Andy. I rarely run into someone who appropriately delivers well timed “one liners” that you can’t help but have a permagrin for the rest of the day. I will miss 10 years of well timed humor. Oh, and he is a mad coder. I’ll miss that too.

– Michael Vedders

To his technical colleagues Andy is always the teacher. When we ask a technical question, Andy generally uses that as a teaching moment. His response is “have you looked at the log,” “have you considered this resource,” “what action have you taken to correct the problem.”  By using that approach, he helps all of us grow and become better in our own jobs. I have developed some habits and specific responses because of that methodology and it has made me better at responding without having to ask next time I encounter the problem.

– Rod Larson

One of the things I most appreciate about Andy is his approach to explaining and teaching. Not only does he do a great job explaining abstract or difficult things, but he is genuinely excited when he can tell you understand.

– Tim Hammer

I admire a lot about Andy, but I know I’m allotted only enough room to simply touch on one area that stands out to me… I’m amazed at the knowledge Andy possesses. There have been so many times that Andy has called me over to his desk and gone through something or another, and after he’s finished I returned to my desk wondering how much of my ignorance he noticed—hoping the smiles and nods hid at least some of it. Over the past year, I can honestly say that I’ve exponentially increased my knowledge of the web and web technologies. The tools and knowledge that Andy has taught me in the past 425 days has been mind bending, and believe me it was sincerely mind bending. Even so, it has been worth ever minute to study under the expert tutelage of such a fine man; a man I can now proudly call my friend. Thanks Andy for the best 425 days a colleague could ever imagine!

– Eric Moberg

Web Services Team

Top row: Andy Altepeter

What’s Next?

For those of you who have worked closely with Andy or the systems he’s maintained, you might be wondering what’s next. Although we’re sad to see Andy go, we’re excited about his new career opportunity. As for the web team, we have a short-term plan that will allow us to keep providing services as scheduled. We’ll update various groups as necessary if there are any changes to our services.

If you have any questions about this time of transition, email web-services@bethel.edu.