Your website is very important to you and your business.
You should know who you are thinking of hiring to make sure it's someone you can communicate with clearly and effectively to get the results you want.
Over several incarnations of my site over the years, I have always included a Bio page
and my clients say it's one of the main reasons they initially felt comfortable asking me their questions while they shopped for help.
I was raised in Oxford, NC with my sister and two brothers. My parents still live in the house where we grew up. We were across the street from my aunt, uncle and two cousins, and next door to Grandma and Grandaddy Hall. It was an idyllic setting and a happy beginning.
I went to a private school, Vance Academy, in Henderson, NC until the 9th grade. My mother taught high school math and physics there. She was my Algebra I and II teacher. I took computer programming as a 7th grader during a special short program that my mom taught - my first exposure to computer graphics. My friend and I made an image of E.T.'s flower wilt and come to life again. Not many people my age started with computers or animation that early.
We transfered with Mom to the closer local public school, JF Webb, when I was in 10th grade. That was a much bigger school and I was able to join the marching band and other programs that weren't available at the smaller private school. But the academics were not at all challenging. I took the one Computer Programming class (remember BASIC on the Apple IIe?) as a sophomore with the seniors.
My junior and senior year I attended the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, NC. It was set up to provide higher level education of math and science to students around the state who were academically gifted and had already exhausted the curriculum at their local school. I lived there my last two years of high school, kind of like going to college two years early. It was the most stressful time I had ever known and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire eye-opening mind-bending experience! There was a great programming class in Pascal where I learned a lot of the coding practices I use now with PHP and ASP.
I went to NC State University in Raleigh, NC in 1987. My major was Aerospace Engineering. I was accepted into the Co-op program with N.A.S.A. and spent 5 semesters as an intern (the program required only 3), alternating between work and school. The standard program is 3 semesters, but I started with 2 semesters at Wallops Flight Facility and then transferred to N.A.S.A. Langley Research Center. Once there they requested that I complete 3 more rotations with them. I graduated with a BS in Aerospace Engineering and went to work in the Space Station Office at N.A.S.A. later that summer. I thoroughly enjoyed the Co-op experience. I got a leg up in many classes, including programming. I was asked to translate some sounding rocket modal analysis code from Pascal to Fortran before I had taken any courses. When I got back to school next semester my Fortran class was a breeze.
I went to work at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. in 1992 I worked in the Space Systems and Concepts Division which was later renamed the Space Station Freedom Office. They performed independent assessments of the space station operations for NASA Headquarters in Reston, VA. I had handled the CAE solid models of the space station as a Co-op and continued after joining full time. I soon moved into animation and became the Visualization Lead, producing computer generated animations of the space station and shuttle flight experiments. One project I created was a GUI interface to display satelite wind vector data for weathermen to use to generate video of hurricanes. In everything I did my methods involved writing scripts that I could edit and rerun until I got the effect I wanted. I use simlilar approach in my web based programming these days.
After NASA I was in California for about 10 years. One of my contractors found out I was a clever bunny and asked me to help him with his web site and company database. He knew what was possible but wasn't able to put it together. I had never seen server side scripting before, so he handed me a book in Portuguese about ASP. So first I had to figure out how to read it (7 years of French in school may or may not have helped) and then learn the syntax for the code. The first time I was able to have the web page go into a database I built and pull out the client list and display them alphabetically, I was hooked. I've been doing web development ever since.
As part of the system I built for him, I integrated Paypal into it so he wouldn't have to print and mail paper invoices and handle dozens of checks per week, trying to record on paper who had paid for what. He was constantly going between the post office and the bank. Once we had the invoices being emailed and payments coming in and automatically updating the client account in the database, it freed up so much of his time and aggravation. Then I got clients booking and rescheduling online without having to call him. The timesheets for his contractors were calculated from phone logs we uploaded to track their time as they moved from one customer's home to another. The same information was used to calculate the invoices. He went from bleeding money and time to running the business with a couple of clicks a week. He ended up buying a sailboat.
In my dealings with Paypal they invited me to one of their first developer conferences in 2007 where I took the exam and was certified in 2008, just before moving to sunny Florida. I've been helping others with their online payments and back end office systems ever since.