I've described myself as a cuckoo. I was dropped into the nest of opensource folks 10 years ago, and ended up making it my family. I'm that fellow who took a different path in making a technology career. I think that describes a lot of us in the Drupal community though. My background is in Theatre and Visual Arts. However, I have a certification in non-profit management and my Master's focused on technology and governance. This is the VERY reason you should re-elect me to the Drupal Association Board.
If you want the shaggy dog story of how I found my way to Drupal, this is how it happened. (I think the read is worth the time.) When I completed my degree at Bishops University in Quebec Canada, I had a pretty marketable skill.
- I could read lighting plans for the theatre and I could hang and focus lighting instruments.
- I knew the difference between a fresnel and parcan.
- I knew how to run a followspot and how it differed from an ellipsoidal.
- I knew that a gel wasn't something that you put in your hair and a gobo wasn't really a character from Fraggle Rock.
I supplemented my income as a bookstore manager with lighting work. I did pretty well at it, but quickly realised that the hours were hectic and the work was exhausting. I enrolled at the University of Ottawa and completed a certification in Arts Administration and I focused on Nonprofit Organizational Management.
One of the main requirements at the end of the program was to work in an Arts Organization for several months. I found work at an experimental dance company in Ottawa, Canada called Le Groupe de La Place Royale and quickly dug into helping produce marketing materials for the annual fund raiser called "The Edge". The year I worked "The Edge", the team had set up a wonderful experiment between dance companies across cities to allow real time collaboration over high speed video link. I want to point out that this work was being done in 1995 - it wasn't the norm. It was mind blowing.
I had been accepted at Virginia Tech to complete an MFA with a focus on Marketing. When I arrived at the school, I explained what had happened in Ottawa and how it changed my perspective. I explained I wanted to work using bleeding edge technology to create multi-cast immersive works that would allow for real time interaction between performers and audiences who were distributed. In retrospect, I know where my love for distributed teams really came from. I produced three pieces of work over a two year period and promptly started my professional career in the Department of Continuing Education teaching the use of Internet Technologies for artists and nonprofits.
So a quick recap of my Education:
- Bishops University - BA in Fine Arts and Theatre
- University of Ottawa - Certificate in Arts Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Organizational Management
- Virginia Tech - MFA in Theatre with a focus on Nonprofit Organizational Management and Technology
I flourished early on with a non-profit called the Western States Arts Federation. This is a nonprofit arts organization that has focused on building custom PHP MySQL applications for other nonprofits, NGOs, and government entities. I was hired as the Senior Director of Technology and I also ran the grants program there for a time. I was the architect of systems like CultureGrants Online, ZAPP, CaFE, ArtistsRegister, and ArtJob. I managed a distributed team who developed the applications. I worked with the Board of Directors. I learned of Board dynamics and how a Board worked. I did this from 1999 - 2007.
In 2006 I found Drupal while exploring how to build Custom PHP MySQL applications more efficiently and became friends (and a student) of the Bryght guys and gals and with Raincity Studios. In 2007, I made the move to Drupal 100% when I joined pingVision. In the days after pingVision, I co-founded a small boutique Drupal Shop called Vintage Digital. My role has been as the business manager, business developer, and project manager - this small company still exists and is a microcosm of excellence. All of this segued into the most crazy, fun, and intense time of my life with Examiner.com where I was the shepherd of an amazing team of developers. We did good work. I worked for a short time with Trellon as CTO. After that, I was the acting COO for Five Rings Web. I spent two and half years as VP of Project management with Aten Design Group. Currently, my main focus is as Engineering Lead for Pfizer's Health Care Provider Portal Platform. So, I've worked as an independent contractor, as leadership in agencies, a founder of a Drupal shop, in Media, and in the Corporate world.
A quick recap of my Technology work history:
- Pfizer - Engineering Lead
- Aten Design Group - VP of Project Management
- Five Rings Web - COO
- Trellon LLC - CTO
- Examiner.com - Senior Director of Technology
- Vintage Digital LLC - Co-Founder and Principal
- pingVision - Senior Web Producer and Operations Manager
- Western States Arts Federation - Senior Director of Technology
- Virginia Tech - Internet Trainer in Department of Continuing Education, Research Associate, Lab Mechanic, Graduate Assistant
This sets up two pieces of the puzzle. I have the education for nonprofit management - with exposure to governance. I have the experience in technology. There is a third leg to this stool -- my experiences as a volunteer. I was the VP of the PTA for my kid's school. I was on that Board for a couple of years. For the last four years, I have sat on the Board of Directors for the 501(c)3 that governs Crown Pointe Academy. I was part of the policy committee for the school and was central in rewriting several of the policies for the non-profit. I have also been the elected board At Large Board member with the Drupal Association for the last two years.
One more recap:
- Board of Directors for Drupal Association
- Board of Directors for Crown Pointe Academy
- Policy Committee for Crown Pointe Academy
- Local organization committee for Drupalcon Denver
- Lead on the Drupalcamp Colorado organizing Board
- 8 years at the Western States Arts Federation, a nonprofit technology organization
- Writing since 2004 on nonprofits, technology, open source, and Drupal - Dogstar.org
I'm committed to Drupal, I have board experience in multiple capacities, I worked directly with the Drupal Association, and I have governance experience. You add to that the education and the technology background, it paints a picture.
- 20 years in the technology space
- 18 years in the open source space
- 8 years of nonprofit management including grant making and board management
- 9 years in the Drupal community
- 2 University programs in non-profit management
Let me know if you have questions regarding my experiences - I'd be happy to answer them. I really hope you'll look at my overall experiences and my commitment and come to a conclusion. Saunders is somebody I should vote for March 7th - March 18th.
Please help me by sharing this across your social networks. I NEED YOUR HELP!
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Photo by the League of Women Voters of California under a Creative Commons License.