Employment

CoreDial

I work to improve CoreDial, our commitment of Quality Capability and Value is what drives me daily. I am the VP of Engineering and my primary role here is to drive the technologies we adapt and make them work for real. Hosted PBX, just like any other hosted application, is a great way to have a high quality and extremely feature rich system without needing to buy and maintain it. Also for small and mid-size businesses where cash-flow and focus are king it is great to be able to save money and energy for your core business and let someone else wory about the nitty gritty details of your phone system. You have all the control you could want to manage it, but if you want to set it and forget it and let us deal with the telco's and work to bring new features this is where you want to be.

CentraView

Basically here I did a little bit of everything when it comes to starting up a software company. Learned quite a bit about Java, MySQL and a bunch of different open source tools and packages for building a web application in Java. I also learned many valuable lessons in the ways of business and management.

Yeah so I left here to go to Fidelia, and then came back to help out, mainly because I didn't like the drive to princeton, and the role I was playing required extensive travel. And with my newborn daughter I wasn't prepared to spend so much time away from my young family.

Fidelia Technology

Feed my family, Buy NetVigil or Helix! Seriously as someone who has had to manage networks, it meets all the requirements of stuff you want from network monitoring and it is simple to setup and understand and very flexible.

I am right in the thick of things here in the engineering department. Sure it requires a long ride to Princeton daily but the work is challenging and fun. And the product rocks, I wish I had had NetVigil at ASPRE, and Helix would have been a nice addition for the folks at CGFNS monitoring their infrastructure.

Devon Consulting

So when I found out that I would be out of work I began a full scale search for a new job. I was not pleased at all, and that was furthered by the fact that I was having such trouble finding a job, since the last time I looked was early 2000 which landed me three job offers in about three weeks of hard looking. And prior to that I had received four job offers in 1999 when I graduated, so this problem finding a job was a new and frustrating experience to me. But, luckily Devon was able to come through about two weeks after I contacted them. I didn't get in touch with them until about mid-September, and they landed me a job with CGFNS. CGFNS was essentially upgrading the entire way it did business to a web based application running on Oracle 9iAS. They needed someone to take responsibility for the care and feeding of the networking and Sun gear. So I worked there for a short while primarily as a sysadmin, but I did get to troubleshoot some neat failures in the web application, which gave me significant experience in the architecture of the Orion Application Server and some insight into Java web applications.

BlazeNet

After working at ASPRE I had a one month part time consulting gig with BlazeNet supporting their newly acquired hosting business. It was essentially NOC monkey work, but it put a few dollars in my pocket and didn't interfere with the one unemployment check I collected.

ASPRE

Here I was the Senior Network Engineer. I got to do a lot of cool stuff, like design, implement and maintain a rather large hosting network. I also got my first real glimpse at doing software engineering, mostly it was done by intuition, which I saw as a major problem. And it turned out that it was, which is why I got called on to participate and become a key stakeholder in what was essentially not part of my primary function there.

Here is also where I got my first real taste of the wonders of Linux. Up until that point I was a computer geek who had most recently used primarily Macintosh on the desktop, and some Solaris and FreeBSD for my work at PREPnet / Verio and just reading my email in Pine on dunx1. And at ASPRE I met a lot of great people, all of them real individuals. And it was quite a collection of different levels of Linux experts, it was almost like working at a LUG. If you had questions, problems, someone there had either experienced it, fixed it, or even had the same problem that morning.

Anyway ASPRE was a great experience and gave me the opportunity to make quite a few new friends and learn significantly in many different topics.

Northrop Grumman

Spent 9 months after graduation from Drexel here. Learned quite a bit, mostly about the beuricratic structure of very large engineering places. I worked on a Communication system and for the Automatic Target Recognition group. The second assignment was my favorite, there was quite an opportunity to learn, especially about the neat problem space of analyzing tactical imagery with a computer, looking for targets. We were sort of crafting regular expressions for searching radar/IR images for tanks and stuff. I also got to upgrade my Marathon abilities here during lunch.

Verio

Here I continued my learning about internetworking, and learned some more about system administration and operating systems. It was during my third Drexel co-op that PREPnet was purchased by Verio and I was introduced to the dot-com boom. Basically Verio was a vying to take over the service provider space by accumulating a whole lot of capital and then buying up service providers all over the country. PREPnet was one of them, and I definitely profitted a little bit from the aquisition.

I was exposed to a broader group of Internet experts, and also got to make some contacts that have kept me gainfully employed through 2004 and hopefully beyond. It was during a very busy time in late 1997 that I crossed path's with Alan Rihm, the founder of SurfNetworks in Horsham, PA, who was also acquired by Verio. I ended up working with and for him at both ASPRE and CentraView, companies which he founded, and are discussed at greater length above.

When I graduated Drexel I was still working for Verio part time and considered them for employment afterward in 1999 but didn't really receive what I thought a very competitive offer. They were continually trying to reduce the overhead incurred through all the aquisitions they made, so I moved on to Northrop Grumman.

Unisys

My second co-op, I was here from the September 1995 until sometime in April 1996, and to this day battles it out with PREPnet/Verio as my best co-op experience. Here I learned a whole lot about how computer hardware works, and I also was introduced into the world of finance. The group I was working with was creating a I/O controller for a mainframe. They had designed the hardware, and were writing the controlling firmware. My position title was "Firmware Engineer Co-op," and my responsibilities were initially to run through tests of the firmware on a PC based emulator of the hardware. There were many pre-existing tests that were written in Ada that had to be interpretted compiled into some byte code (a 108 bit word) and run through the emulator, that had the firmware compiled and loaded into it. When tests failed, I had to find the cause, which ranged from bug in the firmware implementation, to bug in the test, to sometimes the specification had changed and the test was no longer valid, or some of the assertions were no longer valid.

I did that for quite a bit of time during my 6 months, and eventually I came down to a bunch of tests that were failing because the code to be tested was not yet implemented. So to fix those problems I actually got to look at the specification implement the code, and submit patches. So if you are running an Unisys A series mainframe you may actually have some of my code exectuting every few milliseconds.

The other important thing I learned here was about investing. The engineer I shared an office with, Steven Leibowitz, was very interested in investing, and gave me some advice and books to get started with. And I can't thank him enough for making me more saavy about finance, by making me actually pay attention to it.

So through programming and testing at the very low microcode level, I was able to learn quite a bit about how these general purpose computing engines actually work. It made me very confident when I was completing coursework for my Computer Engineering degree.

PREPnet

One of the benefits to come from my work at the TDEC labs was occasionally I would read The Triangle, Drexel's student run newspaper. When my Co-op was coming to a close, I had just recently been granted my yearly raise at my review at CVS and was unhappy to find the 3% of $5.50 an hour is still pretty insignificant. So I started looking for more lucrative part time employment, with the thought that I should find something that may help me in my professional career. Boy did I. I found that PREPnet was looking to open a Network Operations Center in University City in Philadelphia. PREPnet (Pennsylvania Reasearch and Economic Partnership Network) was basically a non-profit entity formed by the Universities in Pennsylvania to help interconnect with each other on an IP network, and probably do a whole bunch of other stuff that I forgot to mention and am misrepresenting. But anyway at the time PREPnet was the Internet Service provider for a bunch of schools and companies in PA, including Drexel, UPenn, LaSalle, Temple and many others. If you look hard enough you can find pictures of their network topology and members a few years before I started there. Anyway, they had a plan to open a NOC in Philly and they wanted to bring a few students on to help them get started. Well I don't know how many were intereviewed but I was one of two people selected to start their team, the other was my soon to be good friend Dave. So I got my introduction into the real interworkings of the Internet, TCP/IP, and all kinds of other great stuff. Here I learned how to make a Cisco do what I want, and I also learned what I might want it to do, and why I might want it to do that, they even paid for me to go to the Introduction to Cisco Router Configuration (ICRC) class, from which I still have the certificate at home. I got to learn about and respond to the land.c attack and help some of our customers configure their largish networks to not be good smurf attack intermediaries.

PREPnet was so great, I ended up working there for my third Co-op. The team there was awesome, and I was glad to learn from such a helpful, friendly group of people. Eventually PREPnet was acquired by Verio during my co-op and I continued to work there part time. You can read more about that above.

Drexel University TDEC labs

My first Drexel Co-op, was at Drexel itself. I was disappointed in this job, mainly because I didn't really want it, and I felt pressured to take it. Basically there are multiple rounds of co-op job selection and Drexel has a system for matching candidates with offers. I had qualified alternate for a position at Lockheed Martin and I ranked it first. And I had an offer from Drexel and I ranked it second. So unfortunately the person who was offered the lockheed job, took it, and I fell to the TDEC job. The way round two of the co-op selection process was presented in the co-op class, made it seem like a wasteland of janitorial and secretarial jobs. At least that was my impression of what would have happened if I didn't get the lockheed job and didn't rank the TDEC job. But the job itself was basically a student assistant and caretaker of The Drexel Engineering Curriculum (TDEC) labs. I had to do work to keep the lab clean, prepare for the weekly labs and experiments, point the TA in the right direction when he gave the typically confusing unprepared introductory lecture about what the experiment was about and what they should know and learn. And primarily we had to go around and help the students when they had questions or struggled to complete the lab. I also believe I did well there, just because even though I was unhappy with the position, I still wanted to do well in it and worked hard. There were two full time people who directly managed the labs and the six or seven co-op workers. Eventually while I was there one of the two full timers left, and I was entrusted with the day to day management in that lab, I mean not officially, but I was stuck in there, and did my best to keep it status quo until my time there was over. So anyway I think I made the most of it, I used the time on campus to take a C Programming class, and also to learn some more of the inside track of how to make my time at Drexel. I also was able to learn many of the things I missed the first time through those labs.

CVS Pharmacy

I started here in 1993, and worked as just a regular crew member for about a year, I was able to take significant time off during high school football season which was very helpful. And eventually, during the offseason, I realized that just by working hard during my whole shift, and doing what I was told, I was able to outperform most of my peers, it also helped that I could count (so my drawer was never off). So sometime in 1994 my manager took a risk and promoted an 18 year old to be his Shift Supervisor. I am sure it happens all the time, but thinking back it was significant, I was trusted with keys to the store, an alarm code and the combination to the safe, I was asked to manage the time and activities of people who were older and sometimes had been with the company longer than I had been. Plus during Christmas time our deposits sometimes approached 10 - 15k, which was more than I would make in a whole year of working there part time. I worked here until sometime in the spring of 1996 when I found a part time job that was more slanted toward my professional interest as well as about a 60% an hour raise. I continued working here while I was doing a summer construction job and while doing my first Drexel Co-op.

Chili's

The spring that I turned 17 (1993) I got my drivers license, one of the stipulations was that I had to pay for auto insurance, and of course put fuel in the car (Thank's Dad, learning responsibility is good) I worked as a cook at Chili's for about 3 weeks. It didn't take me long to realize this was not something I enjoyed. I mostly made those Chicken Fajita Nachos and a few other appetizers/salads. I hated making them, but I sure love eating those nachos. Anyway I remember being very upset when I told my Dad that I didn't like that job, and wanted to quit. I guess it was the first time I was officially going on record as having stopped doing something that I started of my own volition. Anyway I left there and shortly found a job at CVS.

Woolworth's

Basically a chain general purpose store, the one in Roxborough had a lunch counter. I worked here for a summer in 1992. I think I was making minimum wage and worked 3 nights a week and my friend Joe Jacobs worked the other 3 nights. Basically we would come in for 2 - 3 hours and do janitorial stuff. Take out the trash, sweep the floors and mop the lunch area. It was a great first official summer job.