I distinctly recall a night, many years ago, while mom was driving us home – I became intrigued by power lines along the road. I gazed out the window and mused about electricity, or better yet, energy. I’ve never publicly discussed this memory before.
I remember reverse engineering the power process. While looking at those electric lines I mentally traced the energy flowing from pole to pole, all the way to our house. I wondered where the source was. I asked mom, “how does the energy come through these lines to our house, to the street lights, etc.?” I think this must have surprised her, because I don’t think she had an answer for me. Or perhaps whatever answer she provided didn’t resolve my curiosity. I somehow intrinsically became aware the seemingly endless supply of power to our home via these electric lines and I was transfixed, totally mesmerized as to how it worked. I also felt connected to this somehow. I yearned to understand.
Looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t seek work for a power company – but my first job was waiting tables. And my first college course was electronics. (For years I’ve credited my interest in electronics to my dad who ran a CB radio business on the side from our home). Now I believe this early experience was the catalyst of “why” I wanted to learn about electronics, computers, and more specifically, frequency.
However, my career to date has been – computers. Early on I wanted to build them, I was fascinated with the early circuit boards. I loved using meter tools to measure how much power it took to make small lights (LEDs) come on, etc. But when that didn’t work out, I started selling computers – as well as, providing setup, delivery, and training.
Selling computers (coupled with that first electronics class) led me to a job where I could learn more, involving inputting data into database systems. My natural ability to put people at ease and be inquisitive, along with many influential people helped along the way:
- An unknown RCA technician man who told me “if you wear glasses now you won’t want to work on what’s coming” (and what was coming was surface mount technology)
- My friend Margie who took me by the hand and pushed me to register for that electronics course
- An acquaintance who suggested I apply for a job at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as we drove by on the way to pick up carpet out of his small plane which, I had offered to clean
- Bill Gates, love him or not – I’ve had a wonderful career due to Microsoft operating systems / software
Not long after I bought my first personal computer I began developing websites, and learning how to configure sections, or modules, of large and complex database systems – some proprietary and some commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software applications. The end result though was to always fulfill my clients’ needs. Most of the time my needs were met too – that of being able to work with energy – in a box kind of way.
I think in terms of “processes.” I’m always looking for ways, even when out and about, where I could take a manual process and add electronics to aid in the ease of doing something. My “process thinking” helps me quickly analyze business needs, and work at an eager pace to provide value to clients to help work flow better.
Speaking of “flow”, that brings me back full circle to where this conversation began – the flow of energy through those electric lines which, first grabbed my attention when I was just five or six years old.