Tell us a few things about yourself. Where did you study, where do you work?
I have a degree in Biochemistry from Michigan State University (Go Green!) and a Masters degree in Finance from Wayne State University. So, of course I now work in software. I am a Technical Evangelist for Microsoft.
What is your typical day at work?
I have no typical days. That's one thing I love about my job. Tomorrow (Tuesday) I'm delivering classroom training all day; Wednesday, I'll be answering questions online during a Microsoft Virtual Academy session; Thursday I'll host office hours for tech startups; Next week, I'm participating in a 3-day hackathon, speaking at a code camp, and mentoring a school hackathon.
What inspired you to be active in the community?
I began attending a local user group years ago. I got a lot out of the group and so I began volunteering. Before long, I was an officer and then the President of the Group. During that time, I visited other groups - sometimes to deliver a presentation and sometimes just to learn. I loved the passion that people would bring to user groups, code camps and conferences. I draw energy from this passion and I take it back to my job.
Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
Many things. I wish I had asked more questions; I wish I had sought out a mentor; I wish I had the confidence to take more risks early on.
Could you recommend some books, resources that young IT professionals might find useful?
You could buy the book I co-authored
What you do to "recharge your batteries"? What are your hobbies? Do you have time for them?
My biggest hobbies are travel, photography, and watching sporting events. It's hard to find the time but I've been able to take advantage of some of the travelling I'm doing for work in order to see games in stadiums across America, visit some fascinating places (like Romania), and capture these places and events in photographs. You can see some of my photography (and some of my travels) here.
If you could go back in time and choose a different profession (outside of IT), what would it be?
This is a funny question for me because IT was not my first or second choice for a profession. I studied something completely different in college and I was a 29-year-old unemployed accountant when I decided to switch to software. I've been a laborer, a high school wrestling coach, an accountant, and a teacher. I have to say, software development is the one I enjoy most.
What do you think about ITCamp, and what brings you here again?
This will be my second ITCamp. I love the perspective I get from meeting developers in a different part of the world. I also like the high quality of presenters that attended last year. I learned a lot from them. Also, ITCamp spoils their speakers with good food, good drink, and a fancy hotel and I love to be spoiled.