Technology and science are part of my DNA. I grew up in a bi-lingual house where discussions ranged from military history and science fiction to war novels and the poems of Longfellow and Tennyson.
My father was a Navy man and an electrical engineer and entrepreneur. My mother was a microbiologist. My grandfather introduced me to the amazing principles of chemistry and held a patent on the chrome plating used on autos.
There were books everywhere (art, literature, science fiction, science, engineering). I spent hours upon hours with my Dad on his ham radio, connecting with people all over the world, and also learning to use a soldering iron to build additional electronic gear. He taught me photography at an early age – not just taking pictures but also developing and printing them.
My home environment was, frankly, more than just stimulating. It was intoxicating, filled with exploration and discovery and a healthy respect for the past. It was also filled with unconditional love.
It’s probably safe to say that given the fact that I learned how to use litmus paper and a soldering iron at the age of 4, I was likely destined to pursue a lifetime of learning based in science. And, as it turned out, technology was just a natural next step.
I obtained a degree in biology and chemistry from Eckerd College. My parents wanted me to go to medical school, but I chose to go on to graduate school at the University of North Carolina where I obtained a PhD. in Biochemistry. It was during this time, I began to work extensively with computers, and also helping others to do so
I’m was – and still am – particularly good at the vigorous pursuit of science, enjoying ‘going deep’ and getting lost in all of its nuances and details. But here’s the catch that I discovered once I had my PhD. All of that focus and work, driven into a narrow pathway, restricted my desire, even my ability, to explore and find other areas that I would have loved and enjoyed, and to which I could contribute.
So while the completion of my doctoral program should have felt wonderful, it left me with a mysterious empty feeling. I had dreamed of being a scientist since I was young. But I had selected a field of employment that didn’t offer a lot of divergent avenues, was highly politicized and offered poor compensation. This was reality, the way it was, and I had to tell myself that.
Or was it?
Opening the Job Section of the Washington Post one day, I realized that there was an overwhelming number of jobs – in technology, also a science-based profession.
I decided to walk away from what was my seemingly ordained professional path. With complete honesty, I can say that it took quite a while for me to accept this, but I learned that while the ground may move beneath us, it’s possible to still stand upright.
Change is a constant. I knew it was time to move in a different direction and I was open to what the technology field had to offer. I was ready to once more apply my knowledge and skills for analysis, solutions-based approaches and high-level design to the burgeoning, innovative world of computers, networking and automation.
I became an IT solutions engineer working for major systems integrators in the government market. My career was forged on the understanding of what strategic perspective coupled with pragmatic approaches and adherence to quality execution can bring to the ultimate success of any project.
I’ve been involved in technology advancements for so long that I can date my career starting before the first IBM PCs landed on our desks (My first home computer was a Northstar Horizon, running CP/M. Yes, really.) But after all these years, I believe that my depth of knowledge and experience, especially in the federal systems integration marketplace, has positioned me well to serve this industry sector as a consultant.
There have been many opportunities to explore innovative, strategic thinking and how to realistically consider it in light of an organization’s goals, culture and resources. I’ve concluded that all tenets need to be vigorously reassessed or reasonably challenged at some point with the acknowledgement that changes were likely to result. This is an important aspect of technology environments even if it means that a level of risk needs to be assumed to advance, execute well and achieve a successful outcome.
Over the course of 33 years as a solutions engineer, 19 of these years at Northrop Grumman, I became a huge proponent and change agent for conducting more comprehensive evaluations covering past, present, and future states. I based this on continuous study and consideration of emerging technologies as logical alternative approaches for data centers, applications development, project management, cloud migration and service delivery.
I’ve learned a lot after 33 years of vision development and strategic planning. Mix that with high-level systems, application and data center design, as well as lots and lots of hands-on implementation. I’ve often been brought in on short notice to rescue projects or to troubleshoot an operational problem with significant business impact.
In 2016 I decided to head out on my own under my own company, Hydratech. I can offer actionable strategies that deliver tangible results through an approach that conveys clarity of vision, strength in leadership, and effectiveness in execution. I can also roll-up my sleeves to design and implement complex systems.
Vision2ActionSM is the process I have developed and base my work upon today. It is a collaborative engagement process that encompasses all levels of organizational personnel, from C-level to systems engineers, who are critical if there is to be the most comprehensive decision-making required to reach vision goals.
I have worked toward the Vision2Action process for my entire life. It maximizes what I have learned and what is natural to me because of the influences of my family and path through life. It may actually be in my DNA!
Vision2ActionSM and Hydratech embody principles based on enthusiastic exploration mingled with pragmatic experimentation and excellence in achievement. Throw in a healthy dash of respect for the past and eagerness to peer around the corner and see what’s coming and what I offer you is the art of the possible!