As an IT computer-services specialist in the office of the State Public Defender, it’s Marshall Reeves’ job to ensure lawyers can do theirs.
Being able to perform this function is a blessing, he said.
“I’m supporting the people, the public and the attorneys who support the public who don’t have the means to pay for representation,” said Reeves.
“It’s just a blessing, and it actually means more because I’m helping those who don’t have anything.”
Reeves provides support to all the public defenders offices in the state. He works with investigators and lawyers to ensure the technology they depend on is functioning properly.
He also writes procedures and manuals for staff so they know how to use certain equipment. This requires him to think and write in a way that someone who isn’t an IT specialist can understand.
The same strategy applies when he is helping someone who is having trouble with a piece of equipment or a computer program.
“I always treat every individual in such a way that I put myself in their shoes and see things through their eyes,” he said. “That’s how I approach every problem, and that shows I always communicate.”
Reeves also tries to make sure all dealings with others are as personal as possible. If, for instance, someone reaches out to him because he or she is having trouble with a computer, Reeves will often pick up the phone rather than send an email. This is his way, he said, of letting people know they have his full attention.
“I really, really value that,” he said.
Reeves worked as a technician for Motorola before earning a degree in computer-information sciences. He then held several contract positions in Illinois before he found work at various state agencies in Wisconsin, either as a contractor or as a full-time employee. He joined the public defender’s office in 2015 after performing similar duties at the Department of Justice for nearly four years.
When not on the job, Reeves can be found helping out disadvantaged people in a different way. He, his wife of 21 years and his children regularly volunteer at the Rockford Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in northern Illinois.
Reeves said the satisfaction he gets from volunteering is similar to what motivates him at work.
“My philosophy is you have to give back and make an impact on somebody else to make life worthwhile,” said Reeves.