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Steve Baker

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Steve Baker, 38
President and CEO, Smart Technology Services, a computer service firm
Lives in: South Loop
Backstory: Baker started his firm in 1998 after working as director of minority business development for Sayers, the local technology company founded by the Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers. “He’s my mentor: he helped me start my company,” Baker says. The son of ordained ministers, Baker grew up in Anderson, Indiana, and attended Anderson University. Though he majored in marketing and philosophy, Baker dedicated much of his time to music and playing the drums. Baker worked as a jazz and R&B drummer for about six years and still plays today, traveling around the country on his personal time with a Scottish bagpipes-and-drums band. “Yes, I wear a kilt,” Baker says. “It’s just another one of those things my friends tease me about.”
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What is your necessary extravagance?
Macallan 30-year-old Scotch.

Favorite TV show?
24.

Favorite magazine?
Stuff.

Favorite Web site?
ESPN.com

What CD/playlist is in heavy rotation right now?
Earth Wind & Fire’s “Greatest Hits.”

Item of clothing you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing?
A white belt.

Item of clothing you can’t throw away?
A pair of Nike running shoes. I ran the Chicago Marathon in them.

How do you order your steak?
Medium rare.

What’s your drink?
Macallan Scotch on the rocks.

Use two words to describe yourself in high school.
“Shy dancer.”

When it comes to dates, what’s your secret weapon?
Eye contact.

What song would you sing if you were forced to do karaoke?
“Always and Forever,” by Heatwave.

WBEZ or WXRT?
WBEZ.

Deep dish or thin crust?
Thin crust.

Describe your exercise routine.
30 to 45 minutes on the bike or elliptical machine; and three sets of bench press, three sets of shoulder presses, three sets of back exercises, and three sets of crunches, three days a week.

Favorite time of day?
Thursday and Friday nights when you’re out and it’s about 10 p.m. It’s really social—there’s no business to be done.

Morning person or night owl?
Night owl.

How much do you tip?
No less than 20 percent.

Favorite bar in Chicago?
Junior’s Sports Lounge. I’m an investor there.

I own too many . . .
Yamaha drums. I have all kinds, from Latin percussion to African percussion, to jazz and rock, and I have duplicates of everything.

What color is your bathroom?
All white.

Bad habit you wish you could break?
Staying up too late, like 4 a.m.

Ever been skinny-dipping?
Yes.

Recently?
Three weeks ago at a buddy’s birthday party.

I could not date someone who . . .
Lacked self-confidence, intellect, or a positive attitude.

Cubs or White Sox?
White Sox.

My idea of a perfect vacation is . . .
Barbados, with a beautiful woman.

What’s on your nightstand right now?
Satellite radio, candles, A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruíz, The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie, and The Storehouse Principle: A Revolutionary God Idea for Creating Extraordinary Financial Stability by Al Jandl and Van Crouch.

Last movie you LOVED?
Finding Forrester.

Favorite meal?
Ruth’s Chris filet.

If you could have dinner with three living people, who would they be?
Gale Sayers, Muhammad Ali, and my dad.

What’s a fun fact about you?
Tying cherry stems with my tongue. Or, catching coins off my elbow: 48 are pretty easy and I’ve done 60.

Guilty pleasure?
Cuban cigars.

How much was your last haircut?
I shave my own head, so the Mach 3 blade, which is about $11.95.

At which store would you max out your credit card?
Porsche Design on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

I can’t stand people who . . .
Bring others down.

What do you do when you’re bored?
Ride my Harley.

If money were no object, I’d go back to school and become a . . .
Professional drummer.

 

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