I got my first computer in 1983. I was thirteen. It was a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer 2 with 16K of RAM. I even got code published in one of the popular magazines for the “CoCo” as it was called. From those humble beginnings in BASIC, I clicked and clacked and soldered and disassembled and reassembled software and hardware and I’ve never really stopped. This is where the fire started for me.
In 1992 I graduated with a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech, now with satellite communications and link budgets and antenna theory and PASCAL and FORTRAN and matrix math in my repertoire. I met my soon-to-be-bride Pammy there, and as she started her electrical engineering career at Goddard Space Flight Center, I started at defense contractor Lockheed Martin.
I’ve always enjoyed working with both software and hardware, and while at Lockheed I did work as varied as writing tests for the Space Station Freedom, to antenna angle predictions in PASCAL for the XTE spacecraft, to patch array antenna testing with TDRSS satellites, to Unix/C++ telemetry and commanding code for the ground segment of the Globalstar satellite phone system.
In the late 90’s we welcomed our daughter and headed West to follow the dot com boom, starting at Wavtrace (now Harris corporation) where I led a group of engineers assembling an automated RF test lab for terrestrial OC-3 distribution over millimeter wave wireless, with Java and IEEE-488 controllers and waveguide attenuators and Bit Error Rate testers and the like. After Wavtrace, I moved onto Terabeam, where RF was replaced with lasers, where Java was traded for Visual Studio C++, and where we welcomed our son to the fold.
And then, after Terabeam, a crash course at another small dot-com in C# and then on to Philips Healthcare where THz and MHz gave way to MHz and kHz and 3D imaging (and patents) as I worked on ultrasound image quantification tools. And served as Technical co-lead in a successful transformation of old ATL/COM code into C# and WPF, all while Pammy and I worked our butts off on the side to get a small web design firm off the ground.
On the side, I’ve recently started creating my own open source satellite tracking mobile app as well. I’m experimenting with software defined radio and amateur radio satellites and open source hardware like Arduino.
And I want to pass all this fire – hardware and software and always learning, always experimenting, always sharing – on to the next generation – the generation that will make this world a better place and that will set foot on Mars. That’s the legacy I’m shooting for.