So, how does a MBA/Business School grad ever end up in computing? Blame it all on one OpenVMS system named shire.lyon.edu and an overactive curious streak....
It all starts with education doesn't it? I grew up in the small town of Grubbs, Arkansas which, like many small towns in Arkansas was a farming community. It was in a rice field that I was convinced that I never wanted to work on a farm again, so after graduating from Weiner High School in 1994 I went to Lyon College graduating in 1998 with a degree in Economics. After Lyon, I went to the Sam Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and completed a MBA in December, 1999. I was also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the CIMBA (Consortium International University) Summer MBA program in Asolo, Italy during June and July 1999. I think that of all the educational experiences I've had, this was the most life changing. That's what education is supposed to be though, right?
Besides the aforementioned rice fields, I've worked a variety of jobs ranging from Golf Course Marshall (best job I ever had!) to computer telephone support whipping-boy (worst job ever!!). My first "real" job after grad school was at ProDentec, where I was first Special Projects Manager which transitioned into Corporate Investments. Hating finance, and loving technology even more, I left and went to work at Lyon College where I worked maintaining the campus network, among other things. After about a year at that, a position came open at UACCB for a faculty member teaching business and computer courses. Jump ahead 6 years, and I'm still here and have climbed to the top of the geek hierarchy around campus. I never left my love of technology and have been fortunate enough to share my expertise in all things UNIX for several companies in town I've done a lot of work for my friend and colleague Karl Kemp at Ozark Information Services and for the last 4 years have played "Admin By Proxy" for Pleth, LLC.
OpenVMS right? It wasn' my first foray into computing. I had a TI 99/4A back in the day, and later had a Laser branded PC/XT with 512k ram running at a whopping 4.77mhz! When I was in 2nd grade, my elementary (Tuckerman) got some Apple ]['s and I was one of the handful of students they let play with them. I remember that they gave us a book with BASIC programming stuff in it, and I quickly read enough of it to make the screen flash "School Sucks." The teacher though it was "neat", but when she asked me how to stop it, I told her that I hadn't gotten to that page in the book yet...lol. Anyway, Lyon's email ran on an old MiniVAX system named shire from the early 80's until 1996 when it transitioned to a newer MicroVAX called lorien. I remember the day in 1995 I was sitting in the computer lab in the Lyon Building and seen some student typing some stuff on this blue screen. I asked what it was, and he said "e-mail." Needless to say, I had to investigate. Within a month, I had crashed shire a couple of times and lorien once (a few years later, I packed up lorien and sent it to Argentina for OpenBSD development). Karl let me play more than he should have (he used to be the director of Information Services at Lyon) and before it was over, Karen Austin (lab manager) had let Tsanko Stoev and I have a DEC LPc 486/sx 25 with 12meg ram and 160meg HD to load Linux on. It took us a week to download Red Hat 4.0 from a FTP install. After we finally got it working, we didn't even know how to login! It didn't take long for me to find, purchase and read UNIX for Dummies about 25 times. I found myself the crappiest computer I could (a 100mhz pentium named tombigbee, which I upgraded into a 850mhz Athlon and at this very moment is still running!) and proceeded to learn all things Linux as fast as I could. I can proudly say that I've been Windows free since 1999! Besides my professional experience, I've been certified in Solaris 7 and 8 and hacked around on about every UNIX variant inbetween. I've came a long way no?
So when I'm not working on computers or playing Econ professor (which these days is almost never) I try to find things to keep me busy. I LOVE to fish, although I don't get to enough. I've got a 16.5ft Mon Ark bass boat that is begging me right now to put it in the river. I also LOVE cars. All cars. Period. I am currently restoring a 1966 Ford Galaxie Custom 500. My dad has a 1966 Pontiac GTO that he's also working on. My current daily driver is a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and I also have a 1987 Dodge Ramcharger LE 150 with near enough to say 300,000 miles on it. My other big passions are food (I'm a hardcore foodie...mmmm stinky cheese) and travel, which needless to say go hand in hand. As I mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough attend grad school in Italy during the summer of 1999. That single experience changed the way I see the world in so many ways. Once you've traveled, you never see things the same way again. Culture is a good thing right? Since then, I've been to 15 European countries (France is my favorite, but Bulgaria runs a VERY close 2nd!), about 25 US States, and have friends from 6 continents. I've got 2 wonderful nieces, a 17 year old cat named Buster, one crazy sister who loves to pull my strings, and am married to the most wonderful girl in the world. Life is good!