The Brief Bio
Glendora High School - Class of 1982
Harvey Mudd College - BS Engineering 1986
Cal State Fullerton - MS Computer Engineering 1990
Hughes Aircraft Company (now Raytheon ) - Fullerton,CA. [July 1986 - Oct 1995]
Gencorp Aerojet (but the Sensing division has been sold to Northrop Grumman ) - Azusa,CA. [Oct 1995 - March 2000]
Vendare Group (formerly Jackpot.com) - Pasadena, CA. [March 2000 - May 2003]
Yahoo/Overture - Pasadena, CA [May 2003 - March 2005]
Snap.com - Pasadena, CA [March 2005 - March 2006]
Microsoft - Redmond, Wa [March 2006 - present]
I graduated from HMC with a general engineering degree and started work at Hughes as a systems engineer. I worked on an Army/Marine communication and location system (EPLRS/PLRS) and its various R&D projects. I slowly migrated into the software side of things and eventually ended up on loan to the software department coding in Ada and C.
In early 1995 the Fullerton portion of Hughes was relocated to El Segundo (for financial reasons). Rather than commute for an extra 2 hours a day I did an in-company transfer to become one of the 1000 people who stayed in Fullerton. Unfortunately the project I transferred to had some major management problems. Fortunately I received a job offer from Gencorp Aerojet (4 day work weeks and a 10 minute commute) in October of 95. So I went there.
I started at Aerojet writing Ada for a prototype CPU card from Honeywell. Unfortunately the CPU card didn't support interrupts and had some other problems - so I was unable to use tasks and had to use a background loop.
I migrated to the SBIRS proposal effort (initially working on the Software Development Plan - keeping it from being too unrealistic). After the program was won (vaporware always looking better than real hardware) I stepped into the vacant position of builder/configuration manager. This involved teaching myself ClearCase (the CM tool that had been decided on) and moving the existing RCS baseline to ClearCase control. I also had to design an "Intro to ClearCase" class and answer the questions of the coders using it. I then transitioned the build portion of my job to a new hire and tried to fully document the coding process on our project.
In January of 2000 Heather took a job with Idealab! - an internet incubator. After visiting here there (in the Internet bubble months of 2000 :) I was struck with job envy and got a job at one of the Idealab! incubatee's (Jackpot.com) as a software engineer. Jackpot.com's president (Keith Cohn) was a master of getting additional funding and merging to keep the business alive (more info here) and by the time I left it was the VendareGroup and I had transitioned to the role of the data/stats guy. I ran SQL queries for both analysis and data sales operations and was also responsible for creating web pages to display various site statistics.
In May of 2003 I had the opportunity to go to work back in Pasadena at Overture where I was hired by Jody Biggs to work on the BIG (Businees Information Group) dev team. This mainly involved perl coding on the ETL pipelines that converted the logfiles into database entries and perl reporting scripts that pulled data from the Oracle database. In July 2003 Yahoo acquired Overture and eventually drove out the managers of the BIG team. [In April of 2004 our daughter Noelle was born as well]
In March of 2005 I returned to an Idealab! startup - Snap.com - where I worked with 6 people who had also worked on the Overture BIG team. The goal was to figure out how to do CPA (cost per acquisition) search advertising. This is tricky because a lot of advertising doesn't end up in an "acquisition" (that is why there is CPC [cost per click] and CPM [cost per N impressions] advertising). While there i basically implemented a perl based ETL script that processed logfiles into metadata driven data files.
In the winter of 2005 Heather and I decided we had to make some sort of change since Noelle was closing on 2 and our commute/work/daycare situation was becoming annoying. I responded to a recruitment pitch from Amazon and flew up to Seattle in early 2006. While there we visited with my former boss Jody Biggs and his wife. Jody was working at Micorosft at what would eventually become AdCenter and he arranged for me to come back up for a Microsoft interview. I was offered a position in late February and by the end of March 2006 we had prepped our San Dimas house for sale (sold it at the peak of the LA market :) and moved to Bellevue. Since late March 2006 I have worked for Microsoft AdCenter - mostly on logfiles, ETL pipelines and data analysis.
As a systems engineer who currently works the software side of things I am a great believer in adequate requirements and requirement flowdown. If you give programmers incomplete, inaccurate, or minimal specifications - then you have nobody to blame when the product you receive does not work like you expected it to. If you can not point to a document and say "Right here it says the software will do X", then you can not realistically expect X to occur.
I am also a believer in adequate documentation of code and processes. One of the things I was doing at Aerojet is making sure that the man pages and help documentation adequately explain the software we are delivering. I was also involved in an effort to make the software itself easier to use and deliver.