I reside in Stow, Ohio with my wife, Dawn, and two sons, Michael and Nathan. My family completes me. I love coming home from work and seeing my kids playing with their toys. One thing I have learned is that life is short and I need to enjoy every aspect of it. My journey to Stow was not smooth and I do not see my journey ending anytime soon.
I am living proof that hard work and patience actually rewards. Approximately, eight years ago I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma which turned my life upside down. I had to drop everything I was accustomed to and only worry about my life. This means moving closer to University Hospitals because the treatment I received was so bad for my health that I was not allowed to live outside a 20 mile radius. That alone made me switch gears. Also, during this time, I met my wife and she became my biggest supporter. During my 22 day stay at the hospital for my bone marrow transplant, she stayed by my side every weekday from 4 pm to 10 pm and spent the whole weekend at the hospital. Having family support was extremely important to me during this time.
After my brief stay at the hospital, I was determined to get back to work so I could put my life back together. Six weeks after my transplant I started off working on a small Six Sigma project that would introduce computers and data collection of discreet qualitative analysis to the manufacturing shop floor. In the beginning, it was difficult because my identity was not established. “Am I a programmer”, “What was my role in QA”, “Am I a methods engineer” or “Do I belong in IT?” The answer was a little bit of everything. My identity was answered with “I am an MES Analyst.”
MES stands for Manufacturing Execution Analyst. To be brief, this is a hybrid of an IT System Analyst, QA engineer and Methods engineer. Understanding manufacturing processes from a 50,000 foot view, allows others to depend on me when processes need to be improved by introducing technology.
My love for computers and technology started back in the 1980’s when my family purchased its first IBM compatible PC. I was introduced to PC’s by using DOS and Microsoft was just starting to take off. I can remember when Windows 3.1 came out and I just hated it. My family never switched over and remained a DOS family until Windows 98 was available. My family was an IBM family using Lotus 1-2-3 (later using Quattro Pro) as the spreadsheet tool and Word Perfect for word processing. My love for baseball and stats would then play a role in my future in Information Systems.
Growing up, I played three sports every year from the age of four to about 16. I played baseball, basketball and soccer, but baseball is the sport that part of me wishes I could play professionally. Everything in baseball can be interpretted by stats and this is what pulls me to this sport. By taking my love for baseball and mixing it with my newly found love of technology, I was able to teach myself how to record stats from baseball cards in spreadsheets.
Doing this, taught me the foundations to relational databases because I got tired of typing a person’s name over and over to identify him to a particular aspect of baseball such as type of baseball card, manufactured date, estimated value. Soon enough, I was able to distinguish identifiable traits that should be separated to maintain the data integrity. The early spreadsheets did not have the capability to guide the user using wizards and tools to set up a database, rather I would have to set up the data sources, the fields and test my queries to see if everything worked out in my head as planned.
Since I can not play baseball professionally, I can always pay a tribute to my favorite sport by looking back at my career to see how much that time of my life affected my future. One of the things I love about Information Systems is that it is not in a constant state. It is always changing or as some are saying “Coming to a full circle.”
I had a setback early in my life, but I was determined to make a splash once I recovered. I quickly learned having a long term goal is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be difficult to achieve since there are many obstacles. So I decided to break down my long term goal into short term goals with the long term goal in mind. My first five years, my goal was to survive and reestablish my employment. I did this and luckily my employment happened to be involved with technology. I have entered the second phase of my goal which is to complete my undergraduate studies and enter grad school.
I am currently enrolled at DeVry University studying Computer Information Systems with a concentration in IT Security. I have a few semesters left and I am shopping around for grad school. I will not be attending grad school online as I feel I would miss out on networking potential that occurs with the professors and students. My goal is to study Management Information Systems and possibly obtain my MBA at the same time. I believe there is a need in security as well as business intelligence.
I believe obtaining a couple of these degrees will open doors for me and provide a great life for my family. Who knows, I may go to law school or get my Phd or get a job where I manage security for a cloud computing system. All I know is I am having a lot of fun and I hope my kids see that and want to do what I do.