About the Author
I have had a few requests to put out some information on who I am, and where some of my experience has originated. I assure everyone it’s really not that interesting, but here it goes:
I started working with computers at the age of 10. We were a lower middle income family and my first system was a DOS based Tandy computer with a 5.25 floppy drive and a DOT Matrix printer. These humble beginnings in the mid 90’s would essentially pique my interest in computers and computer systems. My father was a mechanic by hobby, so I think I developed a sense of curiosity in how exactly things worked, so I did a lot of experimenting (breaking) on a lot of toys and other items. In my young age, I would generally mess with something on the new (to us) computer, and without fail, I would cause some sort of issue that would cost my parents $25-$50 to repair, and earn myself a chore to pay it back. Not to mention I wouldn’t have the computer anytime soon. You can imagine this got old quickly, so I started figuring out to repair the issues before they discovered there even was an issue.
This pattern eventually led me on a path of upgrading our home systems. Our next system came with Microsoft Windows 3.1 Installed, and I managed to get that particular system to Windows 95, then even to Windows 98 after some hardware upgrades. My father managed to get his hands on an old Office workstation that ran Windows 2000, and we eventually purchased a newer HP system that ran Windows 98SE, and I took that system to XP, where we owned it until I went off to college. This is all relevant because it gave me a ton of experience in almost every version of Windows before I even started to attend High School. I learned a lot about how to troubleshoot hardware and software in computer systems, how to build them, how to upgrade and keep them running. When the internet came along it was an entirely different ballgame, I was able to see more, learn what others knew already. I was absolutely hooked on these incredible machines. Napster was big, AOL was popular, Time Warner just started coming out with cable internet connections. I was looking into all angles of network and internet security at this point, and it really drove me to understand hacking.
While in High school I learned the Technology Coordinator actually was taking assistants. I interviewed for the job and was selected, and began working as a Student Technology Assistant. It was here I learned about Windows Server, Domain Networking, Switching, Application and File Servers. I now had to solve more complex problems, deal with widespread virus outbreaks, students attempting to circumvent security measures, and manage upgrading equipment and setting up multi-computer labs. This experience was invaluable. It really boosted my knowledge on business systems and how to organize and maintain an infrastructure. By the end of the school year I was subcontracting for the school over the summer and discovering new ways to improve their systems. At the end of my senior year, I decided to attend the University of Toledo, and I left home and all the opportunities I built to that point.
During my time at Toledo, myself and a few other friends got tired of the file sharing hubs on campus getting shut down. We started one off campus and gave the school a run for their money. We eventually got shut down. I went home on spring break and ended up getting in a terrible car accident that would force my permanent residence back to Youngstown. It was then that I got hired at Best Buy selling computers, and then moved up the ranks into a full time spot on the Geek Squad as their Lead Advanced Repair Agent. I saw a lot of consumer related issues here, a lot of new systems, and a lot of advancement in technology. The Geek Squad taught me more paperwork and organization, but it really fine-tuned my skills in troubleshooting and seeing the bigger picture in small business and home networks. I learned about business and supervising, but more about how to explain very technical things to the general public. I helped several local area small businesses in this time including doctors’ offices, restaurants, plumbing companies, and accountants.
I left the Geek Squad for my career at the City of Canfield. It’s been a very rewarding and educational seven years. I started working with newer server operating systems, and learning about VMware Virtualization. We started integrating newer systems, and worrying about redundancy for dispatch. Somewhere along the way, they wanted to make me a Police Officer, I accepted. Now, I do a lot with Cisco Switches and IP Telephony, HP SANS, and HP ESXi servers. I’m called upon to have the vision of what’s possible, and make them happen by managing the projects here from start to finish utilizing the right people. I not only give them insight into what we can do, and what we should do, but I also help make it happen and keep it running. I’m directly responsible for many of our improvements technologically and we continue to strive and stay on the cutting edge. The past seven years has been filled with excitement working on a few big criminal cases, getting featured in State Tech Magazine for designing and moving our server room, and receiving an employee of the month award.
I enjoy my job at Canfield, and I’m doing great here, but I saw other area businesses and local governments struggling with technical issues, and having questions that were unanswered. This technical aspect is an area these organizations struggle in, either due to financial constraints, staffing constraints, or just not knowing where to turn themselves. I want to help the area of Youngstown improve and become a better place, I want Police to be safer; I want civilians to have things that make their lives easier. I look forward to continuing this journey.