My life to date has taken me to amazing places and provided incredible opportunities ranging from the electronics assembly line at Texas Instruments to Entrepreneur. My professional journey began shortly out of high school with the military equipment group of Texas Instruments (TI) as an electronics assembler. Over time I progressed to performing the mechanical repair, maintenance, and rework (RMR) activities. Working with these systems was interesting, but it was the dawn of the small computer age. I had a fascination and a talent for things technical and complicated. But due to frequent childhood moves, I did not have the education. I found myself primarily in remedial programs.
Using the internal placement system at TI, my next opportunity was a data entry clerk, this provided opportunities for training, mentorship, and support for developing software. While in this role a clerk, I developed the Software Configuration Management System (SCMS), also known as the Baseline Management System (BMS), for the Electro-Optics Division. The Avionics Division later adopted this system. This position facilitated my introduction to computer center operations. For this effort, I became one of the first software technicians at Texas Instruments. At this time I began pursuing a degree in computer science.
We can train a biologist, geologist, etc. to program easier, than we can teach you to understand biology…. They had skills and experience, but they were going back to school to acquire a domain in which to program. With extensive software development and operations experience, I decided to pursue my 5th-grade dream. I wanted to be a marine biologist and work with marine mammals. I changed my major from computer science to marine biology. Little did I know how many other people shared that vision and how difficult it was to achieve, but achieve it I did.
Agency.com provided the opportunity to become a member of the core strategic and technical leadership teams that helped bring corporate giants such as 3M and Halliburton to the internet. These were very successful engagements, and I was privileged to play a role. But the bubble burst, and after years of layoffs, that occurred at an all too regular pace, it was finally my turn. But lasting almost 3 and a half years it was quite a ride and a fantastic education.
The next steps are what I often refer to as the lost years; in reality, they were anything but lost. They were rich with experience. I had the opportunity to work at the University of South Floridas' College of Medicine, studying the effects of stroke and how it might be mitigated, also developed the online presence for the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
During this time I served as a guide and crew for dolphin watch trips on sailboats from Boca Ciega Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, earned my captains license, and started a business, Digital BioTech, LLC. The business' primary goal was to manage genetics data for small to mid-sized research labs. This online system was an application of cloud computing in the Software as a Service (SaaS) model before cloud computing was defined. A secondary objective was the development of image analysis software for brain research. Just as things were stabilizing the economy wasn't. Once again a shift was required.
There was a need to provide quality health care for my family, and Disney had excellent health care. If I went to work for another firm I would have to abandon all Digital BioTech efforts, so next stop Walt Disney World (WDW), EPCOT to be exact. Time there was anything but wasted. My first role was a presenter at Innoventions. I presented on recycling, ran robot races, presented new technologies, and became a trainer for presenters. After EPCOT I captained boats and became a trainer and mentor for new captains.
These opportunities allowed me to hone my presentation skills. It also allowed me to come into direct contact with almost 270,000 guests from around the world. Granted these individuals were self-selected to have a preference for the Disney experience, but culture is culture. I was able to actively interact with people from all over the world, from many countries and cultures such as Americans, Brazilians, and Bhudist Monks. Because of my time at Agency.com I took this as an opportunity to observe the interactions and various demographics from the perspective of an online company meeting the global population that constitutes its base.
Time for a new challenge. I accepted a position with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), the research arm of Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). This role required all of my previous skills to be brought to bear: project management, software development, database administration, operations, wildlife science, leadership, and more. I was able to grow the team from two to nineteen through active participation in the granting and budgeting processes. I also acquired an excellent understanding of how state government works, along with interactions at the international, federal, regional, and local levels. As a team, we migrated the Institute from a Java/Oracle infrastructure to a C#/SQL Server infrastructure; it has been perhaps the most challenging of my career. As a state entity, we had strong governance concerns. We supported everything from coral research to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
I can't wait to see what's over the horizon or just around the next corner.