In college for art history I got my first computer. I started spending my nights playing with Photoshop and building Java applets. I was quickly hooked.
Starting in tech support trenches as the "Mac guy", I moved into their web department designing and developing sites for clients including Cinergy (Duke Energy). These projects and freelance work exposed me to HTML, Perl, and the fundamentals of web design. My first freelance project was building a website for a friend's father's industrial equipment company in 1996.
This gave me experience building a team and digital practice inside of a traditional print advertising agency. I standardized us on PHP and we did work for sports clients like Yonex and the San Francisco Giants.
As the agency grew from 12 to 60 employees, we worked for high profile clients like Autodesk, Sun, HP, John Muir Health, and UC Berkeley. I worked for the author of the first book on PHP to develop an early PHP framework and many other technologies.
After my first daughter was born, I decided it was time to move back to Cincinnati to be close to family and to start my own web development business. It started out as part time freelance work from home and grew into an office space in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood with four full time developers and numerous contractors. Fortunately I was able to maintain many of the connections I had from San Francisco and had opportunities to work on projects for major brands like Adobe, AT&T, Autodesk, Cisco, Clorox, Fleishman-Hillard, Philips, Sandisk, UCSF's Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, and Visa. This role gave me the opportunity to expand well beyond technology to all aspects running an agency. I also had exposure to new technologies going deeper into content management systems and mobile development, including the development of Clorox’s first, award winning, iPhone app called myStain.
I had the opportunity to work with a team of a dozen people in Cincinnati and over 100 in Bangalore India to develop software for mid-sized companies. The role taught me a lot about software development best practices, Agile project management, and working with offshore teams.
I joined a 280 person agency to start an open source practice but moved on to lead a large technical team of developers, QA, business analysts, and technical project managers. My client portfolio included a diverse set of Fortune 500 companies.
After 20 years, I have stepped back from full-time agency work to join the biology department at Miami University and work on software for Project Dragonfly. It is an international ecology research and education program that includes zoo exhibits, publications, PBS shows, master's degree programs, and field studies in places as far flung as Mongolia and Galápagos. This role gives me the opportunity to return to hands-on development for a cause I am passionate about and more flexibility to pursue personal and freelance projects.