If you’ve taken medication, had a glass of milk, or even filled up your car’s tires with air in the past 10 years, odds are that you’ve been affected by software I have developed, but more on that later. I wrote my first piece of software, a game entitled “Dragon’s Dungeon”, for the Radio Shack TRS-80 in the mid 1980’s. It received great acclaim from my peers, mainly third grade boys, and a career was born.
Fast forward to the mid 90’s when my school required students to buy a Texas Instruments TI-80 graphing calculator for mathematics courses. After spending some time with the device I realized it could be programmed to do much more than simply plot coordinates and find the area under a curve. Through trial and error I was eventually able to write programs for the calculator that could easily handle my AP Chemistry and Physics assignments. While my fellow students were impressed and offered to buy the programs, my teachers had a slightly different view and forbade distribution, but that wouldn’t keep me down.
In college I picked up right where I left off. I wrote several small applications for my Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry courses of study as well as applications for, what would come to be one of my favorite areas of study, Symbolic Logic. While these applications helped with coursework, they didn’t pay the bills. In my senior year at the University of Minnesota, I took a job with the university’s community involvement office to write an application to help match student with volunteer opportunities. Of all the software I have written since then he considers that to be one of the most important as it provided an incredibly meaningful service to the community.
After graduating I moved to Princeton, NJ where I eventually found my way to the startup ICTI. While at ICTI, I worked with three other developers to help revolutionize the way pharmaceutical companies manage clinical trials for new and experimental medications. Many of the prescription and over the counter medications available today went through clinical trials that were managed by my software.
As ICTI became successful, we realized that we could no longer continue to conduct global clinical trials for tens of thousands of patients simply using Microsoft Access and Visual Basic – crazy, right?! I was tasked with determining the company’s future platform. I spent six months comparing Java and Oracle to a new technology from Microsoft that was still in its early beta stages called .NET. At the end of six months my decision was a no brainer – .NET all the way. I haven’t looked back since.
Deep down I missed the long, cold, dark winters that one can only find in Minnesota. Eventually, I moved back to Minneapolis and joined BORN Information Services. While at BORN I managed a global development team for Cargill responsible for the creation of software to manage animal nutrition. This software is used around the world to help dairy farmers create diets for their cows that will lead to greater milk production while ensuring the health of the animal.
Wanting to build something from scratch, I left BORN to help start RBA in 2006. At RBA, I wore many hats from developer, to architect, to practice lead, to partner, to my last role as a national solutions lead. As a developer, I had a unique opportunity to work with a company that sells the air you use to fill up your car’s tires. Believe it or not, many of the air machines at your local gas station run software that I wrote that let the vendor know when they need to be serviced. In my role as a national solution lead I worked with clients in Dallas, Denver, and Minneapolis to help them better understand Windows Azure, Windows Phone, and Windows 8, and help Microsoft drive adoption.
Looking for a bigger adventure, I decided to leave RBA in December of 2012 and join Microsoft. I’m currently working as technical evangelist focused on all things Windows, Windows Phone, and Windows Azure. My goal is to get developers as excited as I am about these platforms.
I am deeply involved with the developer community. I am a regular speaker at user groups, code camps, and conferences. Over the past two years I have delivered countless Windows Azure boot camps to audiences around the country. Put simply, I have a deep passion for sharing my knowledge and helping my fellow developers keep their skills sharp and up to date.
When not slinging code or hanging out in the community, I can be found with my incredible wife and three awesome daughters. I’m usually at a swimming, gymnastics, dance, or drama practice with one of my three girls. When I’m not running around from practice to practice you can either find me in the kitchen or at the grill cooking up a gourmet meal or a culinary disaster depending on your point of view.