I worked my first paying job involving computers in 1984. After a degree in computer science from the school of engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, I started quite the run as a computer consultant. My first jobs involved building custom computers and networks and programming the computers! I’ve had a fabulous career as a consultant, and worked with a lot of fantastic people. But I realized a while ago that I wanted to be something else when I grow up. I just had no idea what that was.
In 1995, I started as a volunteer for the National Ski Patrol, and soon after joined the local fire department. That helped me clarify what I wanted to do, which is to help people. I also began teaching class for the Ski Patrol, and realized the two main benefits of teaching: 1) Helping others by sharing your knowledge, and 2) You really have to know your stuff if you want to teach it!
I’m still very active in the local ski patrol and the local fire department as a firefighter/paramedic, working nights and weekends. I often get asked why I do the long nights at the department knowing I have to go to my full time job the next day (sometimes on no sleep). The answer is simple. If I have a really good day at the computer, I write code that doesn’t have any bugs and perhaps makes someone’s job a little easier. If I have a good day at the fire department, I might just save a life.
So I knew I wanted to spend my time helping people (and in return, getting better myself). Several years ago, I was asked to speak at a local Code camp. I had been an instructor for a lot of years by then (also teaching technical classes to clients), so public speaking is something that I’m accustomed to. I learned that I could help people do their jobs better, and at the same time learn an incredible amount not only by teaching, but also from the fellow speakers and conference attendees.
Today, nobody can know everything, and our industry calls for a finer degree of specialization. Since the advent of .NET, I have focused solely on that platform, and really enjoy working with customers to develop smart client applications (developing the occasional enterprise web application along the way to keep my skills sharp). I’ve also become very active in the agile community, creating a non profit company to host Day of Agile events.
Through these activities, I have been fortunate enough to be awarded MVP status from Microsoft twice, and got involved with Telerik products in several of my projects. What amazed me the most was the level of support they offer their customers. There have been occasions at conferences where someone would tell me about an issue they were having, and I would send an email off to the product team detailing the problem. Usually, before the conference was over, I would have a reply that either explained a better approach, or that they indeed discovered a bug and that the fix would be in the next maintenance release. Their motto “Deliver More Than Expected” applies to not only the people using their tools, but it also applies to the team of people creating their tools!
As I got to know more of the people that work for Telerik, I learned that they are some of the smartest and most passionate group that I have ever met. They consistently win best of show for their tools, and the rate that they are producing additional products is astounding. Although best known for their Developer Productivity tools, they have grown to include Team Productivity, Automated Testing, and Web Content Management as well!
I wanted to be a part of that team, and at the same time continue working with the community. The match just made sense. Telerik’s goal is to help developers and project managers be more productive, and have been staunch supporters of the community. Perfect alignment. So, starting September 13, 2010, I will be taking on the role of Patterns & Practices Evangelist. My mission? Continue to be a strong contributor to the community, teaching Agile practices, WPF, and all things .NET, continuing to grow myself to be a better developer, and also help you Deliver More Than Expected!