My Work Story
For over 20 years, I have worked in Information Technology in various capacities, from my role as a Computer System Specialist in the United States Marine Corps to being a Software Engineer. I have rebuilt the internal and external websites at Idaho’s Public Employees Retirement System and now work as a Senior Help Desk Analyst.
I have made invaluable connections and advanced my tech skills significantly with every new role. For me, computers have always been a passion. When I joined this field in the Marines in 1994, it felt like I had finally found my calling and professional purpose.
Throughout my career, I have been proud to say that my work as an IT professional has been more than just keeping data systems secure and updated seamlessly; it has also brought people together and solved their biggest challenges.
In my role in the Marine Corps, I was responsible for ensuring that the PCs that keep our nation safe were up-to-date and operational. Starting as a Computer System Specialist, I eventually worked my way up and became Data Chief and Network Administrator. Before finishing my military career, I was a Computer System Specialist Course Instructor to teach the next generation of IT Specialists.
After the Marines, I worked with North Dakota State University as a LAN Administrator before moving to Boise, Idaho, where I worked for the internationally-known HP as a Phone Tech Support Specialist. I have extensive experience in tech support and possess the technical ability and knowledge necessary to help even the most frustrated people find a solution to their tech problems. I then worked for PERSI for about seven years in a hybrid role as Software Engineer (SDET) and IT Systems Integration Analyst. I currently work for Truckstop as a Senior Help Desk Analyst.
Continuing education and certifications are crucial for being successful in IT. Because of this, I have worked tirelessly to remain up to date with the latest in the industry. I am certified in Network+, Ranorex Test Automation, and about 60 other IT certifications. I received my Associate in Networking in 2005 and my Bachelor’s in Software and Mobile Application Development in 2016.
My Personal Story
I was born in Fargo, ND, and grew up near the small town of Horace, ND. I spent most of my childhood outside playing baseball, kickball, or running around in the woods behind our house with my younger brother and neighborhood friends. I enjoyed climbing trees and playing with Star Wars toys in the sandbox.
Winters are brutal in North Dakota, so we were often on our snowmobiles or building snow forts on either side of the driveway. When the weather was incredibly unpleasant, we were inside playing on the Atari, Nintendo, or with LEGOs. Sometimes we would also try building robots from scrap parts in our dad’s workshop.
Most of our summers were spent at our grandparents’ lake cabins on Pelican Lake, MN. Conveniently enough, our moms and dad’s parents had cabins on the same lake. We would swim, water ski, or play in the sand on warm summer days.
Right before middle school, my parents got divorced. My brother and I moved with our mom to West Fargo, ND. We would split our time between our mom and dad for the remainder of our schooling. Starting in middle school, I participated in band and art classes. Since I enjoyed art, I continued with art classes throughout the rest of high school. My weekends were mainly spent playing Nintendo or with some friends playing Dungeons & Dragons.
Towards the end of high school, I took some small engine repair classes and worked at the local Menards (a Home Depot for anyone who has not heard of Menards). Outside of that, I did not know what to do once I finished high school, but I knew I did NOT want to go to college.
In my senior year of high school, I suddenly decided to join the Marines. The funny thing is, after getting out of the Marines, I went to college not only once but twice.
I had to pick a career path when signing up to join the Marines. All I knew from high school was art and small engine repair. My mom encouraged me to sign up as a “computer person” because “computers were supposed to become some big thing.” My brother was into computers in high school, and I did not want anything to do with them.
Well, nothing to do with computers outside of playing Oregon Trail and Where In North Dakota is Carmen Sandiego on the Apple IIe. Taking my mom’s advice, I joined the United States Marine Corps as a ‘Computer System Specialist.’
People would always ask, “why the Marines?”. In my mind, it was pretty straightforward; If I was going to do the military thing, I might as well pick the hardest and do it right. The only other family member that served in the military was my paternal grandpa, who was in the Army during World War II.
During my last few years of high school, I always looked for a way to make money without having a ‘normal job.’ Anything from Don Lapre’s ‘Tiny Classified Ads’ commercials back in the ’90s to about anything else I could find. That also kept me busy in my free time during my eight years in the Marine Corps. I could never find anything that worked.
I was in Boston for some final Marine training classes when I ran into a guy who introduced me to a way to make some extra income. The ‘new company’ he introduced me to was called Quixtar. Later I found out this was Amway trying to move to an online company while doing a re-branding for themselves. After Quixtar successfully launched, they returned to their original name, Amway.
I was stationed in California during my last few years in the Marines. This is where I got started with Amway and direct selling. To learn and grow professionally, I read over 200 books and listened to over 100 audiobooks on leadership, self-help, and personal growth.
After being honorably discharged from the Marines, I moved back to North Dakota and went full steam into this direct selling. After moving back, I also met my wife and married after a few years. She joined Amway with me, but we only managed to make a few hundred dollars a month.
We were tired of the cold in North Dakota and decided to move somewhere else; we did not know where. My mom and brother moved to Boise when I entered the Marines in the mid-’90s. My wife’s sister also lived in the area. We vacationed in Boise to see our families since my wife had never been there. She enjoyed the area, and we eventually decided to move to Idaho.
Shortly after moving to Boise, ID, I gave up on the Amway plan and started looking into this new thing called ‘Online Marketing.’ Finding the likes of Frank Kern, the StomperNet crew, and later Russel Brunson, I was soaking up all I could learn about this new Online Marketing thing.
Unrelated to this, I also divorced shortly after moving to Boise. I fell into a black hole at this time. A lot went wrong, I was depressed, and things were just a mess. I had taken a break from listening to or reading anything for a few years. When I finally started climbing out of my hole, I listened to many podcasts and YouTube videos on tech-related things.
I started to find more podcasts on all topics that interested me, and I got back into audiobooks. I stopped keeping track, but between YouTube tech videos and all the podcasts, I think I was very close to 1,000 hours. Having a two-hour commute every day helped to get through audiobooks.
Fast forward through the next eight years of shiny object syndrome, and I was doing just about the same as Amway, only a few hundred dollars a month.
P.S. The Internet is STUFFED full of people trying to sell you their course, mastermind, or product on ‘How To Make Money Online.’
P.S.S. 99% of it is pure and utter crap. I have a hard drive full of courses and products to prove that.
Although I learned a ton about marketing online, I found out that most courses or products people sell, ‘To Make Money Online,’ do not work. The online thing that seems to work is by being the one selling the courses to the people looking to make money online.
I finally gave up on all that and decided to start building websites. It was the one thing I knew how to do. So, I started making site after site, but not sure why they were not getting much traffic. I then searched online to see what was new in blogging and making money online. Come to find out, not much has changed, just the same old courses on SEO and Blogging.
Then I came across a video called ‘Link Building Is Useless. Do This Instead.’ I thought, well, that certainly is different than what everyone else teaches, and the one thing I have learned over the years is to observe the masses and do the opposite. That video was part of a channel called Income School with Jim and Ricky.
I then spent about six months watching all of Income School’s YouTube videos and reading all the free stuff they had to offer. They also provided a course on how to make money blogging. Yay, he said sarcastically—another course on how to make money online.
BUT… I discovered they were doing everything (well, mostly everything) differently than everyone else was teaching. I figured if they were doing things a bit differently than the masses, their course would be worth it.
That brings us up to date. I currently have about 14 sites that I am actively building. Income School has a certain way they develop and structure their sites, so I am trying to get all my sites to conform to that standard. Getting these sites cleaned up how I want them will be a long process, but it will be worth it. I am already making some money, and it will go up.