Steve Wakefield grew up in Sylacauga, Alabama. He attended Auburn University where he co-opped for a chemical company and received his Chemical Engineering degree. He worked in Baton Rouge for Exxon and then had the opportunity to attend graduate school at the University of Alabama Huntsville for Systems Engineering with a Focus in Artificial Intelligence. After earning his Master’s Degree, Steve went to work for a defense contractor where he developed and managed a multi-million-dollar research and development segment focused on artificial intelligence and decision support systems for the Army, Air Force, and NASA. During this time he also attended night school, earning his Industrial and Systems Engineering PhD (all but dissertation) with a Focus in Artificial Intelligence.
Around the time he finished the PhD coursework, he launched his own consulting company focused on technology and process improvement for commercial manufacturers, particularly in the print and automotive industries. With two small kids, he had to choose between writing his dissertation or writing proposals and deliverables for his own company…writing documents that paid the bills always won out! Steve founded Sword Microsystems in 1992 and focused on helping corporations drive more value from their business processes through the application of technology. The primary business was consulting, software development, and systems integration to improve business processes, consolidate operations, and apply new technology for manufacturing and distribution clients. Responsible for all strategic direction and tactical execution of the Sword business plan, in just over 12 years, Steve built a multi-million-dollar business servicing dozens of customers, culminating in selling the business to Sword’s largest customer. He went on to work in corporate technology leadership for 17 years as Senior VP of IT for large print manufacturing company. After 17 years he decided to escape corporate America as his children had grown up and were off the payroll. He decided to start a local small business with a couple of trusted business partners. Easyl Engraving opened in March 2022, where he has enjoyed being able to offer creative and tangible products while providing extra services his clients need. He and his team focus on service and products instead of appeasing unhappy executives, attending board meetings, cutting staff, and grinding to meet budgets.
You might wonder how the owner of a local engraving company finds himself a member and board member of the Huntsville/Madison County Hospitality Association. The Hospitality Association was one of the first organizations Steve joined to make connections with the people he wanted to serve. He said, “The hospitality association has been a wonderful avenue for meeting people that can use our services and for gaining referrals to people and businesses that can use our services. It has also been helpful learning about the city and employment, the FBI, Redstone Arsenal because having knowledge and understanding about the community ultimately helps our business. I have truly enjoyed making new friends and supporting this industry and the people who are so passionate about serving visitors to our community every day.”
Steve has been married to his wife, Robin, for 39 years. They have two grown married sons; Ross (Sara) and Alex (Lexa) and one precious granddaughter, Addi, who is 5 years old.
In his spare time, Steve likes to hob nob with hospitality industry professionals. ;0) He also loves the outdoors, snow skiing, and salmon fishing with his family.
Keep up the great work, Steve!