Meet Kevin H.

"When you can put in a full day’s work and be proud about the work you’re doing, it really makes a difference to how you feel about your place in the world."

Senior Manager of Business Systems Kevin H. shares how his career with NIA changed his relationship with the nonprofit community.

Kevin H., Manager, Business Applications at NIA, stands with office cubicles and lights in background

Meet Kevin:

I currently live and work in Santa Cruz, CA. I’ve been married for 26 years and have a 20-year-old daughter who is currently a junior at UCSC.

I have a degree in Literature, but I learned how to create websites during the first wave of web developers in the mid-to-late 1990s. From there, I grew within the IT world and learned “on-the-job” for the next 30+ years.

Where are you from, and where do you live now?

I was born in San Jose, CA, and moved to Santa Cruz to attend UCSC.

We liked Santa Cruz much better than San Jose and decided to stay (sorry San Jose).

My daughter is a Santa Cruz local, but I’m probably still considered a Silicon Valley person — even after 30 years…

Kevin meets NIA:

How long have you worked at NIA?

I’ve officially worked for NIA since March 2007.

What did you do before that?

Before officially starting at NIA, I worked for a local company that made websites. We helped with NIA’s first Business-to-Business website in 2003.

So, I had experience with NIA and its mission prior to working officially for NIA.

Kevin and Rebecca Huth signing and playing instruments

Kevin H. and his wife, Rebecca, share a passion for music.

How did you come to find NIA?

When the downturn in the economy made the website service industry challenging in 2006-2007, I was hired on full-time with NIA.

This seemed to be a natural fit because I was already very familiar with the NIA business portal.

The other aspect of NIA that really fit for me was NIA’s mission.

While working as a “hired gun” on web projects the prior 10 years, it seemed like everyone had a “get rich quick” scheme they wanted built for them.

With NIA, the focus on helping nonprofits that help MANY people was very appealing. And, with one job, I could actually help 20,000+ nonprofits (now more than 25,000) all at once.

Just think about how many hours you’d have to volunteer at individual nonprofits to make the same difference to the nonprofit community!

How did your job interview go?

I actually didn’t have a job interview — so lucky me!

Because of my past work experience with NIA, I was uniquely qualified to fill the position. In fact, I believe the position was created specifically for me when they heard I was available.

Kevin’s NIA Career:

Tell us about the growth of your career at NIA.

I started as a web developer. Over time, I was given the opportunity to progress in my career.

I was promoted to Architect, then Project Manager, then IT Manager, and am currently working as Senior Manager of Business Systems.

Do you like working remotely? How often do you go into the office?

Prior to the pandemic, I didn’t really like working from home. I wasn’t set up ergonomically.

During the first week of the pandemic, we purchased a standing desk and a new set of ergonomic gear.

And over the pandemic, I came to enjoy working from home (or more accurately, came to enjoy not driving to work).

I’m currently in the office on Mondays and Wednesday, and it’s a nice balance – as I enjoy seeing folks in the office.

Do you feel you have a good work/life balance?

We’re in the middle of a very large, multi-year project at NIA, and that’s often challenging with work/life balance.

However, I think I’ve been able to mostly keep a balance that’s working for our family.

As the project ebbs and flows, there’s times when we put in a bit of extra effort, but that comes with the job when you work in IT.

Often, you need to do your work in the off hours when the majority of the staff are not working. But we really try to balance those times and make sure they are not every week.

Are your ideas heard and acted on? Can you provide a short example/story?

Yes! Before the pandemic, I’d recently read an article that suggested that people “sleep in their car at lunch” to help make up for missing sleep due to long commutes.

In our office, we had two rooms in a suite that had been vacated by a local nonprofit that was renting space in our building. I wrote up a detailed request (including the article) suggesting we turn the empty offices into “nap rooms”.

The idea was sent through the proper channels, and they did end up creating spaces for our staff to rest during breaks.

Have you taken advantage of any of the continuing education opportunities that NIA offers?

I’ve taken numerous technology courses over my time at NIA to keep myself current in the ever-changing world of tech. I’ve also participated in the Project Management courses at UCSC extension.

Overall, I think I’ve learned a lot using the continuing education opportunities.

How is working here different from other jobs you’ve had?

For the first part of my career, I worked in a service-type job. We were always looking for our next client.

While having new and different projects did provide for some variety, I think that working for a stable company has been very good for my family. Even in the hard times, people still need insurance.

The other big difference I think is NIA’s focus on nonprofits, it really helps me sleep at night.

When you can put in a full day’s work and be proud about the work you’re doing, it really makes a difference to how you feel about your place in the world.

What is your favorite thing about working at NIA?

I think I really like the people I work with most of all.

Working for a large number of nonprofits is very high on the list, but if you can’t enjoy the day-to-day aspect of working, even the most ideal mission can become a drag on overall wellness and life-balance.

Even when we’re working on a challenging project, really liking the people you work with makes all the difference in the world.

Do you feel supported and respected by the people you work with?

Yes, I do feel supported and respected. I’ve built many great relationships with my colleagues over the 16+ years I’ve worked here.

I think one of the reasons why I’ve stayed so long is the fact that I really do enjoy the people I work with. I’d say you get as much as you give. If you try to make and nurture connections with your colleagues, they’ll have your back when you need them.

Kevin H. in front of window in office

Working at NIA allows Kevin H. to have a flexible schedule, allowing him to work remotely as well as at NIA’s Santa Cruz, CA headquarters.

Kevin’s Impact:

Can you tell us about some of your favorite/memorable nonprofits that we work with?

Since I’m in IT, I actually don’t get to work directly with the nonprofits. My work is done for the overall good of ALL our nonprofit members.

So, unfortunately, I don’t have any great stories about working with specific nonprofit organizations.

That said, when I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer, I really enjoy working with Second Harvest Food Bank (loading boxes).

And I actually use a local nonprofit we insure in Santa Cruz called Grey Bears for most of the donations we give (clothes, housewares, e-waste, etc.)

How has your work at NIA affected your life and/or community involvement?

I have volunteered more after joining NIA than prior to my working here. I also think differently about donating to nonprofits than I did before starting at NIA.