In the early 90's, after several years in various sales positions, I made the decision to take a business course at CompuCollege School of Business in Halifax.  My focus at the time was to learn accounting and become a bookkeeper since I have always had a knack with numbers and a pretty good head for business.  The admissions advisor at the school convinced me to add some computer courses to the mix and broaden my experience a bit.  I really had no interest in computers at the time, but I didn't figure it would hurt me any.

One year later, I finished my diploma program in Business Administration and Microcomputer Business Applications with a high 90 average and took a position working as a bookkeeper at a prestigious dining club in Halifax.  My role was basically that of an intern, entering receivables and payables on a daily basis and handling the envelope stuffing at the end of the month when statements were printed and sent to the membership.  The part of the job that I really enjoyed though was creating massive spreadsheets to manage inventory and working on membership databases for mailings.

After about a year, I took on a position as the accountant for an organization working out of the Nova Scotia Hospital that provided employment for clients of the hospital as a sort of therapy.  The organization lived mainly on ACOA funding and grants with a small portion of its operating budget coming from sales of its cat furniture and packaged pet foods.  Again, the bookkeeping parts drove me nuts, but I enjoyed crafting cash flow models in spreadsheets and implementing the organizations first computerized accounting system.  Eventually, lack of funding caused the accounting function to be absorbed by the hospital and I left.

I ended up back at CompuCollege, this time teaching basic computer courses on a part time basis.  After about a month, this turned into a full time gig teaching nothing but computer courses and eventually taking on the development of courses for continuing education classes in the evenings.  It was here that I developed an interest in networking and the Internet.  I took on the task of figuring out how to get the school's two campuses connected to the Internet, which back in the 90's was a difficult thing to do when you didn't have the budget for it.  My new found expertise got me working with several organizations during the evenings and weekends setting up office networks and Internet gateways.

The next year or so put me with two of the city's largest corporate training organizations: Software Experts (otherwise known as Keltic Learning) and PBSC (otherwise known as Polar Bear Software and now Nexient Learning).  For me, this was the fast track in learning the latest in software technology during the time when Microsoft Office was gaining ground and Windows Networks were beginning to be the norm.  During this time I certified in several technology areas and began teaching advanced technology courses and office software on a full time basis.

As things began to get in full swing in my teaching career, I received an offer from someone who I did some network installation work for to come and work for him at an international engineering firm located in Dartmouth.   The position was to manage their entire wide area network and solve the support issues that had been causing them grief for years.  This was a big move for me, and in truth I was a bit out of my depth, but after some careful consideration, I jumped in and spent the next few years learning about wide area networks, firewalls, server hardware, storage area networks, backups and everything infrastructure.  We built a distributed support team across the organization, standardized systems and implemented enterprise business systems on a scale that I would never have dreamed about at the time.  It was there that I started getting involved in building applications using Microsoft tools at first, then on to LAMP technology (although it wasn't known as LAMP back then) and then Java based systems.

A few years into my career at Jacques Whitford, I had the opportunity to take on the role of Manager, Information Systems and spent the next two years managing IT operations for the entire organization.  Still hands on, I did lots of technical work during that time as well as management duties.  I found that even though I had the management skills and responsibilities, I enjoyed solving the puzzles much more.  Finally, after about two years, I left and went to work for a tiny startup company that was building a voting machine just around the corner from my office in Dartmouth.

Since then, I have been the team lead for a small group of developers building one of the worlds first secure, auditable, remote Internet and Telephone voting system.  My role is not only team lead, but architect, administrator, analyst and developer.  This new technology has exposed me to advanced cryptography, transaction management, clustering technology, Voice technology and web services to name a few.  We have also gone Agile using Scrum and XP practices including Test Driven Development and Continuous integration.

For more details, see links to project details that I have worked on and of course my current resume.
Subpages (3): Projects Resume Skills Matrix