I was with a client last week and he asked me how it all started. He really wanted to know how I developed my unique ability to quickly understand what the business needed and then just as fast translate it into a technical plan that was easily executed.
My First IT Project
In the early 90’s there was a new game called Fantasy Football, or at least it was new to me. We pretty much played touchdown leagues because we calculated everything by hand from Monday’s USA Today sports section. I didn’t realize it at the time but my passion for sports introduced me to the rest of my professional life . . . computers.
My story isn’t like most computer guys. I didn’t start by taking things apart or building machines in the garage. I wasn’t even a gamer. I started as a word processing user.
My first computer was an IBM PS/1 that I bought at the now defunct Montgomery Wards, so that I could have spellcheck when I wrote my papers in college. It was a modern convenience that would quickly consume all my time and take me places I would have never thought I could reach.
I became the Data Guy
Before I knew it (and between homework assignments), I was building workbooks in Microsoft Works and calculating all the fantasy football points for the entire league This saved everyone hours and hours of painstaking work. Before long I was able to run dozens of these leagues with very little effort and my reputation as the “data guy” was born.
By the mid 90’s, I was beginning to use my schooling and passion for making things easier with computers and wrote some simple menu systems for DOS based point of sale systems. It wasn’t much, but it was the first time I used my skills and got paid. It was a turning point for me and made a career in computers seem obtainable.
I am the glue that keeps things together
After several years studying how to code, I moved on to network engineering where for two years I learned how to put more than one computer together and get them securely working on the same tasks. This, added to my software development and business acumen became the launching pad for my career. I was able to sit in a room with the a business unit, software developers and the IT guys and totally get what everyone was saying. But the true value came when I could easily see when one of the groups was not on the same page and I had the soft skills to quickly remove the confusion and right the ship. I quickly became the glue that made all these disjointed groups work together, which quickly moved me through the ranks.
Getting to work with the best
Over the years, I have worked on some incredible projects with amazing people. I have worked with fellows and executives from Stanford, Intel, GoDaddy, Dell, UNFI, Cardinal Health, Booz Allen Hamilton, Arthur Andersen, SAP, Siebel, Sage, SugarCRM, SalesForce, and TASER International to name a few. I also have had the pleasure of working with dozens of small business owners in retail, grocery, construction, manufacturing, machine shops, restaurants, sports clubs, nonprofits, HOAs, real estate, ecommerce, commercial diving, and many other industries.
To this day, I continue to do what I did during the early day of Fantasy Football. Take a painful task and make it painless. I have hundreds of contacts and colleagues at my disposal. So, when a company works with me they get my years of experience and all the expertise I have collected and am connected to around the world. I always work with less than five clients so I can focus and my availability can remain flexible.
I am originally from New England and moved to Sarasota in 1996. I love baseball, fishing and anything outdoors. I have been married for 25 years, have a teenage son that attends Pine View School for the Gifted and Swims for the National and State Champions, Sarasota Sharks.
If you are not sure about hiring a consultant, my favorite thing to do is to sit down with an owner or executive officer and see if I can help. (Especially over a beer or cup of coffee.)