Back in my early days, I did everything from Playing My Gibson Les Paul Guitar in a Rock-Band, Building and Driving NHRA Pro-Stock Race Cars and Dragsters in Events / Nationals ... to being a Pilot for Multiple Airlines and Corporations. I also provided Flight, Ground School and Simulator Instruction on the side and received the FAA's Gold Seal.
Now, The Whole Story
Besides from being a Ham Radio Operator since the 60's (Extra Class Taking The Morse Code Test) and being a Treasure Hunter as a GeoCacher with a GPS and using a Metal Detector for Beach finds ... my other hobby was computers. In the mid 70's I learned to program in Basic on a Cromemco (Z80-based, S-100 Bus computer) and later upgraded to a cutting-edge, Radio Shack, TRS-80 system. I also attended a Technical School and learned to program in COBOL on an IBM 360/20 Mainframe using 80-column Punch Cards (No Monitors In-Use Then). In the early 90's, I learned to develop software in Visual Basic and Power-Builder. They were the new technologies to learn at that time ... where are they now ???
In the early 80's, I built and repaired IBM PC clones ... creating a Hobby Business called "Datacom Information Systems". Software packages were also developed for local businesses using MBP COBOL and Clarion for DOS (Windows Was Not Out Then). My early Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software was advertised in the Houston newspaper and sold at the Soft Warehouse in West Houston. In 1990 "Datacom Information Systems, Inc." became a Texas Corporation.
Along the way, I met a client who owned a small airplane and he took me for a ride. That was fun and I wanted to fly a plane too. I went for training and earned various FAA Pilot licenses. I then provided Flight, Ground and Simulator Instruction to students. After building up some flying time, I moved on to become a Pilot and Chief Pilot for various Charter Companies and Corporations then becoming a Pilot for Multiple Commuter and Major Airlines.
However, During the time I was a Corporate Pilot for a government consulting firm; Things happened that changed my career.
(1) Tax laws had changed on corporate aircraft and the company I was working for was now selling their airplane.
(2) This company also won a major contract to take over the City of Houston, Houston Independent School District and Houston Community College Property Tax Collection Systems. All they needed was for someone to sit in the various Computer Centers for a while and answer the phone until they hired some new Technical People ... the plane was kept in a hanger and up for sale ... I said OK, I'll do it.
*** The Plane Was Sold ... BUT ... No Technical People Were Ever Hired For The Computer Centers ... I Was There !!! ***
Needing to keep the system running. I did everything needed ... From looking through HP-3000 computer manuals to find out what to do to fix problems ... To operations, programming, installing hardware, repairs, meeting the public and training people ... even writing-up and presenting needs and solutions to the Houston City Council to get "Fix-It" money and being interviewed by TV News stations several times.
Later in 1989 when the HP-3000 computer was getting old and dying out of the market, I attended IBM School in Houston to learn their new AS/400 system and then migrate the HP-3000 Tax Collection Software to it. There were also tons of new and interesting AS/400 technology jobs out there and I decided that it was time to move into a new computer world. I turned into a Consultant and was immediately hired for a project. I have been busy at various corporations and projects ever since.
Looking back at that government consulting firm job I happened to get by changing environmental circumstances, I am so glad that I did not get stuck in a single role. I had to learn a full-range of system activities to keep those Computer Centers running and developing new projects for the client and Up until the last couple years consulting, I provided project design, development, management, implementation and training services to everyone ranging from small Mom-and-Pop Shops to Multi-Billion Dollar Corporations and Government Agencies.
Over the last 30+ years in Information Technology, changing technology has been fascinating to work with, from connecting to Bulletin Boards of the 1980's with a tube based, 300 baud acoustic modem to connecting to "Cloud" Systems using high-speed, Internet-Based Networks.
Many jobs today have changed from that single role (Programmer, Analyst, Project Manager, etc.) into hybrid combinations of these roles where one person can become a Project Owner and is required to work across a blend of technologies, platforms, relations and responsibilities. Since I have Extensive End-To-End, Hands-On Experience in all those roles that are needed by today's project demands ... "Datacom Information Systems, Inc." was renamed to "Guru4Hire, Inc.". Attending schools to renew certifications and keeping up with emerging technologies is a necessity today, or you will become extinct.
Unfortunately, during those last couple years, my wife and I had to stop work due to three family emergencies. We traveled to a couple different states and cities to take care of the sick and other devastated family members. We had to be available for any emergency that popped-up:
(1) Elderly Step-Mom (88 years old) - Slipped, fell, became paralyzed and died 6 months later.
(2) Sister-in-Law (44 years old) - Diagnosed with breast cancer that spread quickly to Lungs and Brain. Even after operations, Gamma-Knife, massive chemotherapy and other treatments ... she died 9 months later.
(3) Father-in-Law (90+ years old) - When finding out his daughter had Terminal Breast Cancer, he had a stroke and became paralyzed on the right side. He can't walk and can hardly breathe. We help him daily along with the Mother-in-Law who is aging away too.
Today, when possible, I provide project design, development, management, implementation and training services to everyone ranging from small Mom-and-Pop Shops to Multi-Billion Dollar Corporations and Government Agencies.
That's about it. I learned a lot and did as many exciting things as I could while I had the full opportunity.
Thanks For Reading My Story.