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Spotlight: Drums dominate free time for Ford School IT worker

Some kids grow up wanting to be a rock star. Crystal Borgman became one, at least locally.

Borgman, a desktop support specialist at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, spends her extra hours playing drums in a local band, Lagerhaus5. "The name was derived from my husband's and the lead guitarist's shared love of home brewing (beer)," she says. "And also the book 'Slaughterhouse-Five' by Kurt Vonnegut."
(Photo by Scott Soderberg, U-M Photo Services)

After first playing snare drum in her sixth-grade band class, Borgman moved on to other types of percussion. She was involved in marching band, music competitions, and was accepted into the Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra.

"The first time I played a drum set was in a jazz band led by my middle school music director," she recalls. "But I didn't stick with the drum set very long."

She spent more than a decade without playing the drums regularly, but in 2006, after turning 30, she decided to try again. "I picked it up again in earnest, I think as a way to feel more youthful," she says. "I was pretty rusty. But years of musical training in my youth really came in handy and it came back rather quickly."

Her husband, the bass player for Lagerhaus5, inspired Borgman to join a band. "He had just formed his classic rock cover band," she says. "I, on the other hand, had a difficult time forming a band."

Borgman answered an ad on Craigslist for an all-girl rock band — The Damn Damsels. "That was fantastic for about seven months," she recalls, saying that she played with the band until it broke up in January of this year. Borgman then transitioned to playing drums for her husband's band. "We rehearse on the weekends in my basement," she says, "and play at bars, bowling allies, festivals, weddings and private parties."

Born in Saginaw and raised in St. Charles, Mich., Borgman didn't expect to become a music-loving drummer. She graduated from Portland State University in 2003 with a degree in business administration, specializing in computer information systems.

Borgman first worked at the university as an administrative assistant before deciding to apply to an IT support job. Now a desktop support specialist, she provides "computing and instructional technology support for the Ford School." She also serves as the school's information security administrator and manages its network firewall, coordinates security responses and is involved in the day-to-day IT security practices.

On a typical day, Borgman solves technologically related problems of all kinds. Because of the amount and types of technology and the small size of her IT department, she has to "wear a lot of hats. I have to know at least a little something about everything."

Looking back, Borgman knows she made the right career decision. "I wasn't sure I wanted to be an IT professional," she says. "As it turns out, I really like this line of work and it seems like a wise career choice as the role of technology in every day life is always increasing."

The weekly Spotlight features staff members at the University. To nominate a candidate, please contact the Record staff at

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