I come from an Air Force family. My dad served for 20 years, so I got to experience a lot of different cultures and parts of the world. That also meant changing schools and getting a different set of friends every couple of years.
One of my dad’s assignments was in a little town of a few hundred people in Alaska. There, I got my first real glimpse of technology. The library was open every Wednesday afternoon during the summer, and I’d want to go and use their computers and play games. But, even more so, I wanted to learn how the computers worked and that’s what I’d do every week.
During the late 90s, while in middle school, I gave my life to Christ, and started really seeking Him. I wanted to do something to make a difference. During that time, I played some online games and was involved in a Christian gaming group (clan), where I’d eventually be placed into leadership and worked on managing the discussion forums. Honestly, I had no idea what “leading” even meant at the time – I was just enjoying what I was doing.
Around the same time, I became interested in programming and I started working on modifying the discussion forum system that we were using for the clan. Several of the changes and additions actually were related to the graphics systems, and many of the changes I made were put into the release of the system.
Soon after, I wanted to build my own discussion system from scratch, which I called E-Blah. I worked on E-Blah while I was in highschool and much of my college years. I learned a lot about leadership, systems, and managing software releases and documentation. At its peak, E-Blah had thousands of users from all over the world and helped me pay my way through college.
While in college, I got involved with a Christian Music Forum, which was rising in popularity, and I also got involved in the moderation team there. I learned a lot about how to understand and work with difficult people doing that forums moderation work.
In my last year of college, I started working at a small company of around 20 people that did e-commerce. That work experience was probably one of the most fun, challenging, and interesting places I’ve worked. I learned how to be a better leader, how culture can either nourish or kill a company, how to plan and implement systems, and how to organize and lead a small team. I was given more favor there than I honestly deserved.
While working there, I was asked to be part of a board of a small local church. While there, I learned, among other things, about leadership and why systems, and following the systems, are important. I was with that church until 2010 when I felt called to join the church I serve today.
While many of the opportunities I’ve had has taught me a lot about the business, practical, or system side of things, where I work and serve now really has taught me how to care for the people that I lead and influence. How I wish I could go back to that e-commerce job with the things I know now! Much of what I did there was without grace, I wanted things to get better, but I couldn’t get that vision to the people. I always had the blessing and approvement of the management who was over me, but I did not always have that from the people I was leading or trying to influence.
This is brief overview of my history and how I got to where I am now. It’s obviously missing a lot of the in between details. That said, various things I may reference later on will tie back into this introduction. I’ve never written out my history like this – I can count on one hand the people that know all of this. I’ve been reluctant to share my story for many reasons, but, I’m slowly understanding that God has put me in each of these situations, positions, and areas for a reason. I’m still growing and learning a lot, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.