Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Hanz Shawel came to the United States in the early 1990s and moved to Glencoe five years ago. He and his wife, Tara, have two children, Bella and Sebastian, and a 4-year-old dog named Sky. He works in the world of information technology.
Q. Was it difficult being in the U.S. given this country's involvement with Iraq over the years?
A. Not really. I went to school with a lot of military personnel and I did not have any difficulty mixing in. People respected where I was from and politics had nothing to do with the people of Iraq. We are Christian-based so we don't agree with a lot of the things happening there but we felt we were respected here and not judged by whatever the government was doing back then.
Q. What was it like living in Iraq during the wars?
A. I lived through the Iran one and I lived through the first Gulf War. It was not fun but it was an experience you live with and learn from. You don't want your kids to go through it so that is why I am here.
Q. How did you come to the United States?
A. My grandparents were here as they came to the U.S. in the '70s. I wanted to finish school here and I didn't want to study in Iraq because of the war. I came here to pursue my schooling and to have a better chance of raising my kids in a peaceful country and not having to deal with war and collapsing currencies, as one example, and all the other stuff that was happening in the war.
Q. What was it like watching the second Iraq war from the United States?
A. I knew the outcome would be bad knowing the region. I was surprised by some of the decisions made by the U.S. to tackle that regime. It was a little too aggressive in my mind and I knew there would be more issues after the war.
Q. How did you get interested in IT?
A. I was studying engineering in '92 or '93 and that was when the Internet boom was starting and I was really interested. That was when I got started.
Q. What do you enjoy about your work?
A. Every couple of years (and now it is more often than before), it changes completely. There is a brand-new technology and new ways of doing things and it evolves more than any other business and it shapes the future for other businesses.
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