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I have been in leadership positions since the third grade. I was president of my Church Youth Group in both Grade School and High School. I also held Student Body Officer positions the last three years in High School. I graduated from the US Navel Academy, an institution that prides itself on training leaders.
After my first tour in Vietnam, I recruited and trained a Peace Corp. Team to go back to Vietnam and work for the State Department. Team training included everything from language training to survival school and my team broke most all existing team training records. I successfully completed my second tour of duty in Vietnam as the equivalent of a Command Officer at the age of 23.
On returning from Vietnam, I went into graduate school at Stanford University where I was President of the Engineering Society and a Student Body Senator. Most all my positions after Graduate school have been as either a Department Head, Assistant Department Head, or Project Manager.
I have been successful as a leader, because I see myself as someone who provides the necessary resources to the people who do the work. It's not they, who work for me, but I who work for them, making sure they have what they need to get the job done. This includes recognizing an individual's strengths and weaknesses and structuring the work to take advantage of the former and minimize the later. When I was in charge of Design and Construction at Sprint Communications, I instituted the concept of lunch time training for my Project Engineers in such things a Letter Writing and Contract Law as a example.
Most of my career has been as a Department Head, Assistant Department Head or Project Manager. I have a Master's degree in Project Management from Stanford University and have taught such things as Project Scheduling in the course of my employment with the Federal Government. My first CPM schedule was drafted and calculated by hand for a petroleum tank farm I was constructing as a Civil Engineer Corps Ensign in Vietnam.
I see good Project Management as having a complete overview of what is to be accomplished, a through understand of the interfaces between the team members and the ability to balance competing pressures for time and resources. I believe in early-on good communications of a project's scope and commitment and accountability of the team members.
Since my first erector set, I have always excelled in creating new and useful things. In College, I created a solar powered refrigerator that had no moving parts and I won the School Science and Engineering Prize for it. As a side benefit, it allowed me to be the only student to have a officially sanctioned refrigerator in my dorm room.
One of the reasons my Peace Corp. team did so well in training is that we were always able to scope out what was required and do the other teams one better. Creating a hand held calculator program to support price negotiations had never been done before I created one for the Western Division of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. I later made presentations on my program to other Engineering Commands, some of which adopted the it.
"Templates of Doom" was a stroke of sheer creativity. Imagine a fun and humorous way of learning a spreadsheet like Lotus 123 or Excel? Imagine a tutorial disguised as a game if you will. When I originally wrote "Template of Doom" on Lotus Release 1a. The supporting programming language had to exist on the same spreadsheets as the game area. Only one file could be opened at a time and Lotus had no way of maintaining code from file to file. I figured out a way to add persistence where no one else had ever done it. I created a common set of code to run on the various Lotus look-a-likes, each of which had some major differences. I also independently came up with the concept of Guerrilla Marketing. Imagine walking trade shows dressed up like Indiana Jones to push a product called "The Templates of Doom"?
The concept of EdUGames was creative and unique enough to be awarded a patent by the US Patent Office at a time when they were not awarding patents for software. I independently created the concept of the Cyber Organization four years ago and have taken steps to implement it on the Internet using the EdUGames.com web site.
I wrote may first computer programs in 1962 at San Diego State College as part of a National Science Foundation Program for high school students. The programs were written in assembly language because FORTRAN had not yet been invented. I learned FORTRAN in College and when Basic came out a few years later, I learned it on my own.
Over the years I have learned many different programming languages and can pick up a new language in from a few days to weeks. One of my more recent languages, other than Java, is CGI/PERL, which I learned by reading books and on-hands development in support of the EdUGames.com project.
When I was in charge of contract negotiations for the Western Division of the US Navy, I developed programs on hand held calculators to aid face-to-face A&E Services negotiations. I also created programs on Government Mainframes to evaluate complex turnkey proposals. My first job on leaving the Navy was as the MIS Director for the Elk Hill Oil Development Project for the Department of Energy. In this capacity, I used numerous application programs to schedule and monitor the $400 million project.
When I left Sprint Communications, I wrote four books on programming and taught numerous classes on computer use and programming. I wrote the highly successful "Templates of Doom" in Lotus 123 macro language, with follow-ups in six different spreadsheet languages including Excel, which completely changed its macro language 3 times over the years.
While not developing my own software, I have done contract work for others, usually in the area of Spreadsheet Applications. In many cases, I have had to come in and fix or extend a program written by another person who has left the firm and is not available for help. In many cases, I have had to figure out code with little or no documentation. In other cases, I have created programs from start to finish. I pride myself on being able to see through complex issues for the underlying problem and its solution.
My first experience with a GUI development was the "Templates of Doom" project where I made a game out of learning to use a Spreadsheet over 15 years ago. My latest project is the "Author Tool Sets" that are still under development as part of the EdUGames.com project.
GUI is both an Art Form and a Science. As a systems engineer, I first outline what it is I need from the user and what it is I want to show to the user. I try to make everything as simple as possible. If there is any way I can avoid asking for information and reducing the steps, I do it. I am always looking for possible ambiguities in the interface. I also try to put myself in the mind set of the user. I have never been satisfied with the first menu setup in any application and now write menu code to be as easily changeable as possible, knowing that it will change several times in the course of development. I am good at recognizing good or bad interface, not just in computer programs but things like BART Ticket machines and often make mental notes of what works and what doesn't.
I originally Researched and Developed the EdUGames concept on the Macintosh computer using HyperTalk, which is close to being an Object Oriented Programming system. A long time ago I got into the mind set of creating small portable code sets attached to objects with associated event handlers. I still often use HyperCard when I need to format, parse or validate data because of the vast storehouse of reusable and portable code I generated over the years.
When I rewrote EdUGames in Java three years ago, I was able to use many of the same object structures I Developed in HyperTalk. I now think of program development in terms of what objects (classes) are needed, how they will interrelate and how data is contained therein.
My first PC database application was db2 on a CPM machine. I have used numerous applications since then with the latest being Access and Fox Pro. I have also used SQL calls to server side database's. I know how to lay out a database and have created my own database management systems in PERL and Java. The EdUGames project involves some very complex data formats with up to four levels of imbedded structure. I can learn a new database application if a few hours to a few days.
I am proficient on Windows, UNIX and the Mac OS. I presently have both a Window and Mac computer connected to my desk monitor. In the past, I have used most all relevant Operating Systems from the original IBM to hand helds. I can learn a new OS in a few days.
I have had a web site up and running since 1994 and presently own three domain names. I recently created a separate web site for my condominium complex. Unique about the site is that it allows residents to post notices to the site interactively through the use of HTML forms, CGI/PERL programs and CSV databases.
I have been writing Java code full time for ten years, starting with Java 1.0 and 1.02.
In addition to the Game, there are numerous support applications also being written in Java to facilitate the creation of content. This is done in two parts, the creation of Rounds that are placed into the Master Data Base and the assembly of Rounds into Sets by Teachers and Game Masters. The concept is that, in as much as the end product is not tangible, it can be created in CyberSpace by people anywhere in the world.
I eat drink, sleep and breath Java, I religiously attend the Java SIG of the Software Development Forum, get two weekly Email Java letters and two monthly Java Magazines. The present Java project involves multiple separate applications and with each application, I get better at defining the classes and their interrelationship. I closely follow all new developments in Java.