My mother was a teacher (my own first-grade teacher, in fact) and from her I derived my love of reading and learning and an insatiable fascination with Reader’s Digest that lasts to this day.1 My father was a technician at the local Goodyear Beaumont Chemical plant, a business at which I worked for two hot summers after high school, thus utterly cementing my desire to flee the area at the first available opportunity. From him I inherited a love of gadgets but not his mechanical skills.
Growing up in Beaumont, I was introduced to some of the beautiful things on this earth: we spent many weekends and weeks camping, fishing, and generally enjoying the beaches, woods, mountains, and lakes all over the United States. We took summer vacations to the Grand Canyon, the Great Salt Lake, Yellowstone National Park, Big Bend, the Appalachian Mountains, Florida, New England, and most parts in between. I have been blessed to travel immensely, and will be eternally grateful for the experience, though I may not have shown my appreciation at the time.
In Beaumont, too, I was introduced to music. I played drums in the band; more importantly, I learned to write music and was encouraged by my band and orchestra directors. My high school orchestra (Forest Park, now called West Brook) won Texas State Honor Orchestra during my senior year. Our conductor, Dean Fishburn, was a man of poor morals and huge passion who somehow converted a truly rag-tag bunch of students into the finest high-school orchestra in the state. At the same time, we formed a jazz band led by the inimitable Don Knapp—since the jazz band was formed ad hoc and thus had no budget, we used his “book”—an amazing collection of original scores of the greatest Big Band hits of the 1940’s and 50’s.
My love of music led me to attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas, on a music composition scholarship. While there, I helped form a Christian rock band named SpiritWind, one of the first CamelCase bands in existence. We toured and performed, and I loved every minute of it. Ultimately, however, I tired of music and finally graduated with a degree in English Language and Literature, which I promptly ignored.
I left Waco and moved to Austin to take a job with a good friend of mine who ran a small startup computer company. I wrote device drivers in Z80 assembly code and acted as an onsite consultant to our customers. Ultimately, a failed investment by Ross Perot led to the closure of the company, and I took a job with the Texas Education Agency, where I met (and married) my lovely wife, Anita. I worked for a while for BMC Software, then went to work for another startup, Evolutionary Technologies International (ETI).
I was with ETI for nearly eight years; the last four of which I lived and worked in Europe. Living as an expatriate was a life-changing experience; there’s nothing like living and working in a foreign environment to teach you how to relate to people of different cultures.
Eventually, I moved and and came to live in Silicon Valley in 2000. After a string of startups and lengthy periods of unemployment caused by the 9/11 incident and subsequent economic downturn, I went to work for Yahoo! News in October, 2004. I have played various roles in launching and upgrading many sites within the Media division of Yahoo!
In 2009, I became interested in the ukulele, mainly through the influence of such musical geniuses as Jake Shimabukoru and Julia Nunes. I enjoy the ukulele but I am basically competent and not skilled. The ukulele has an advantage over the guitar in that it’s more portable.
In 2010, we moved back to Texas when I took a job with Rackspace in San Antonio. I started out as an integration architect on the OpenStack team and I later help start the Developer Relations Group.
In 2015, I moved on to an engineering manager position with Amazon and moved to Seattle, WA. In October of 2015, we purchased a house in Lynnwood, WA, where we live today.
I drive a Jeep Wrangler and my amateur radio callsign is K6GEC.
» Click here to see my current résumé
You know, I think I’ve realized that I no longer have an “insatiable fascination with Reader’s Digest.” ↩︎