Originally from the Lake Ontario snowbelt of Upstate New York, I’m a People Leader and Full Stack PHP Developer living in southeast Arizona. The weather is much better here.
My interest in technology started in my single digit years when visiting a local Sears Department Store. The chain had recently installed their first electronic point of sale system, a Singer Business Machines system featuring cash registers with 2K of RAM talking to a Singer System Ten backoffice system. Of course, I didn’t know the details until I was much older, but I was fascinated by these high tech machines.
I became more and more interested in computer technology as more local department store and supermarket chains installed electronic point of sale systems. This kicked into high gear with a local chain installed an IBM 3680 Programmable Store System. I promptly began writing BASIC programs on an Apple ][+ after class hours in high school to replicate what I was observing on the IBM 3680 system at the local chain. I would then write the same programs at home on my VIC-20, which quickly taught me the differences between platforms. All of this led to my building a point of sale and accounts receivable management system for the family business. Originally written in BASIC on a TRS-80 Model II with dual 8-inch floppy disks, it was converted several times to modern (for the times) computers. I’ve been online in some fashion since 1985, and I sold quite a few copies of my point of sale software as shareware through local BBSes. A company eventually bought the code from me and it went off and did its own thing for MS-DOS computers.
My interest in the early point of sale systems continues as a hobby, and you can find more about my interest at the Vintage Point of Sale site.
My interest in technology has never waned and at age 19 I was hired by Digital, commonly called “DEC”, formally known as the Digital Equipment Corporation. My position at the time was Department Coordinator III, which was a generic title for the person that maintained a selection of desktop computers, VAXstations, and other Digital specific equipment for the Corporate Employee Communications group in Concord, Massachusetts. I was part of team that authored their registration software for their big State of The Company and DECtop events. I even had the opportunity to meet and shake hands with CEO Ken Olsen. We had a brief, pleasant conversation about the registration software we were working on.
After Digital I made my way through a couple of other career choices, including a stint as a radio DJ and Program Director of a Top 40 radio station in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York. While working at the radio stations I also maintained all of their computer equipment, including new at the time studio automation software, networking within the entire company and eventually VPN connectivity between the corporate buildings and transmitter sites spread over 65 miles. This was in the mid 1990s and I had just discovered the original Red Hat Linux 4. I had the opportunity to learn about Linux in its early years and I built a few audio, file, and print servers with Linux which continued to serve the radio station long after I left in 2004. I also dabbled in several Linux distros, including Corel Linux, Linux Mandrake, and Debian. I even made a few contributions to the Ximian Gnome project.
I decided to jump back into technology with both feet and landed in telecommunications. I started as a Network Operations Technician with a small CLEC. We did everything from diagnosing all sorts of connectivity issues to working with Internet customers to troubleshooting wiring in the Central Office. The whine of a Motorola Pager still gives me a start as it reminds me of my on call days.
From the small CLEC I moved onto a larger telecom and was hired into their Network Operations Center. I was hired to fix all of their internal applications. With my NOC background and my programming abilities, I was able to fix several broken home-grown applications that had been left behind by a previous member of that team and greatly expand their capabilities. When I left that company in 2015, all outage and trouble information was managed on software I had authored, as well as their central office power management systems and their change management system.
I was wooed away to another telecom of the same size and continued the trend of building and fixing existing web applications, but this time it was for their Service Delivery, Order Processing, and Reporting Teams. I’ve been working full-time from my home office since taking this position. By all internal measures, I am quite successful in what I do. I now lead a team of nine developers (and some off-shore contractors) and together we build, maintain, and implement mission critical web applications for teams across the entire company. Some of our special projects include automating data exchanges between legacy and new software packages, as well as coming up with creative solutions for task management across the provisioning teams, to keep orders moving through the process and with little friction as possible. I am still with this company as I share this story.
My interest in Linux has not waned since discovering it in the mid 1990s and I work in Linux everyday. I am most productive and on my game in a Linux or MacOS environment (I actually prefer a Mac for professional use) but I can play with Windows if that’s what’s required in a particular environment.
My journey has taken me through several decades of technology, four states, and lots of keyboards. At work I use RedHat and CentOS Linux, at home I have a couple of Debian based setups, including Pop!_OS running on a resurrected Lenovo ThinkPad T460s. I’m also impressed with Apple Silicon and enjoy an M1 Mac mini.
If you want more details, feel free to contact me and I’ll happily share my resume with you. I’m also on LinkedIn.