Professional Life

My interests for as long as I can remember have always been technical in nature.  My career has reflected this since joining the U.S. Air Force just after high school in 1985.  Technical positions fit my personality because I like challenges that require a methodical process to solve a problem or fill a need.  Situations that require unconventional thinking and unique solutions will endlessly keep my attention until solved.  Throughout my career I have paid attention to my social skills as well. This allows me to find best fit solutions to customers’ wants, needs, budgets and business processes, even when the customer isn’t sure what those are.  I work well as part of a team or as an individual, but I am also comfortable in a lead position.

As I mentioned my career started in the Air Force.  I was trained as an electronics technician and worked on satellite ground stations.  During this time I was able to hone my troubleshooting skills and learn the importance of working quickly and efficiently to maximize uptime.  As my experience increased I was given the opportunity to train and manage newer co-workers.  After my four year tour I left active duty but stayed with the Air Force six more years as a reservist and retrained as a jet engine mechanic.

After my active duty Air Force tour I held briefly held positions as a quality control inspector and appliance repair technician.  Ever looking for new challenges, I decided to attend the University of Delaware full time in the Electrical Engineering program.  While attending U. of D. I took a position at MBNA, beginning as a night guard/ground crew in the aviation department.  After a while I started assisting other staff with computer issues and eventually was offered a position managing the department’s computer systems.

In this position, I acted as the systems administrator and used Visual Basic to automate Microsoft Office solutions.  Through technology, I frequently identified cost savings and efficiency improvements.  When the department required new technologies, I did whatever was required to gain the knowledge to provide the desired solutions, including gaining my MCSE certification.  When I assumed the responsibility of the Aviation department’s network, it consisted of 9 Windows 3.1 computers and one Novell 3.12 server.  To keep up with the demands of the department, I expanded the network to three NT servers and more than thirty NT workstations.  Later, I accepted the additional responsibility of the Fleet (ground transportation) department.  Immediately after assessing the needs of the users, I implemented a server, workstation standardization, disaster recovery and audit procedures.  At the time I left the transportation environment included seven 2000 servers, 60+ 2000 workstations, and 60+ users in two separate locations.  Also during this time, I developed several Microsoft Access database solutions that reduced man hours by 40% and errors by 90%.  My largest development project was a vehicle management database which tracked vehicle inventory, lending, maintenance (work orders), parts inventory and accident reporting.  This project resulted in approximately $300,000 in cost savings for the company.  Shortly before accepting a reduction in force buy out from the company, I started working in the Technical Security team managing the servers, network and databases for the company-wide door access and digital video surveillance systems.

With severance package in hand my wife Liz and I set out to found Cool Fire Technologies, LLC, now Cool Fire, Inc (http://coolfiretech.com).  With Cool Fire I designed, implemented and managed IT solutions for small businesses in the upper Chesapeake area.  For the most part all the systems were Microsoft solutions, however I was able to squeeze in a few Linux (Ubuntu) servers in here and there.

During the fall of 2007 Cool Fire started looking to branch out into building websites.  We had done some SharePoint work, but we were looking for something much more flexible, versatile and more importantly, open source.  After testing several platforms, Drupal shined to the surface.  Starting with version 5, we began to build small websites using the Drupal CMS platform. 

During the time since, we have practically phased out all other aspects of Cool Fire and now dedicate our efforts to web development.  Our focus is almost entirely Drupal along with languages and systems it is built on, including PHP, HTML, JS, jQuery, MySQL, etc.

I have a much better understanding of Linux systems, I’m still running windows on the desktop, but exclusively develop against Linux virtual boxes.

Besides the technical knowledge, being self-employed has enabled me to learn and understand the concepts of marketing, business planning, purchasing, budgeting and finance.  Overall, my 29+ year technical career has gained me knowledge and experience from a wide range of areas and industries.  I look forward to many more years in Technology.



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