If it’s something media related in East Chicago, it’s likely to have been produced, or in some way contributed, by Steve Segura, the city’s multimedia director.
“I work on the city’s website, run the government channel, take photos, write, make signs and produce them,” said Segura, who was born and raised in East Chicago, a city he will always call home.
Segura has worked for the city for 15 years now, serving a vital role in promoting everything positive about East Chicago.
While much of the job as multimedia director is behind the scenes, such as editing television shows as part of ECTV’s primary function to broadcast public meetings, Segura has had the chance to interview current and former East Chicagoans who have done great things as part of a regularly-aired human interest show.
“We recently did an interview with (Carolina Panthers defensive tackle and East Chicago native) Kawann Short,” he said. “Bernie Williams, Globetrotter Haley Grant , Miguel Torres, E'twaun Moore have also been subjects as have Chelsea Clinton and Jesse Jackson when they came to town.”
Segura’s role with ECTV has evolved steadily since he became involved years back, expanding from being responsible for one show that aired for one hour a week to full responsibility of the 24-hour government channel.
“We saw an opportunity to branch out in television and grew from there,” he said. “All the responsibility fell on us. It’s tough to produce 24 hours of programming with a limited staff and resources, but we have managed to pull it off.”
The city of East Chicago has been the home of a number of stellar athletes that have gone on to play collegiate and professional sports. One of the most notable ones was Kenny Lofton, the longtime Major League Baseball centerfielder that appeared in six All-Star games and won four gold glove through a 16-year career playing for 11 teams. Lofton, according to Segura, worked with him several times with the East Chicago Little League - an organization Segura is extremely familiar with, serving as president for two years.
“It was lot of fun,” said Segura, who also served as president of the Harper Little League where he coached for several years, which have provided him long-lasting great memories.
“I remember having a real underdog Cubs team that had two of my sons and a nice bag of misfits,” Segura said. “Our record was less than stellar and my buddy coached the Sox, who were a winning team. They were killing it the whole season, but I told him ‘we will beat you one game and beat you good.’ And boy did it happen. We beat them a good 15-8. I remember showing up to the game with red shoes, tapped the ruby slippers and then beat them.
“They still took first place, but we beat them that one time and that made me happy.”
While Segura, who has been married for 22 years with five children, says he will volunteer a lot more in the community once he retires, that won’t come anytime soon. After all, he has seen the highs and lows of the city through three mayoral administrations.
“My job isn’t done here yet,” he said. “There are things that need to be changed here and I want to be a part of it.”
Some of those changes, he says, are the possibility of the city adding a movie theater and bowling alley.
“A lot of what people take for granted in a community we don’t have now,” he said.
But that will soon change, as has the direction of the city under Mayor Anthony Copeland.
“Under Mayor Copeland, we have went from $15 million in debt to being in the black now, independent from gaming revenue,” Segura said. “That allows us to take the gaming revenue and invest it in improving the city by fixing infrastructure - something that should have been done to begin with. We are investing $2 million in the parks with new grills, shelters and an outdoor gym.”
Crime in the city has also decreased thanks to the “Stop Team” set up by Police Chief Mark Becker, among other programs.
“I am glad to see more community policing and a sub-station built on one side of town,” Segura said. “If you are worried about crime, crime is everywhere. We are not deterred by crime. But the changes that have been made - if you are a criminal in East Chicago, it is not going to be easy anymore.”
In 10 years, Segura sees East Chicago return to its “glory years.”
“There will be major quality of life improvements, with more Mom n' Pop stores, better walkability and shopping options and infrastructure that will be geared to the future. If we can get all those components together, things will be a lot better.”
Did you know?
Segura, a graduate of St. Lawrence Seminary in Wisconsin and the American Academy of Art in Chicago, owns his own freelance business and is hired as a disc jockey at events and parties.
“I do weddings, clubs, comedy shows, birthday parties and any type of social event,” he said.