My brother and I grew up in our grandparents’ small engine shop. We were working on lawnmowers and building mini bikes and various other things long before I turned 9 years of age. We spent a lot of our teenage and young adult years building cars. We wrenched on everything from muscle cars to Volkswagens.
I got my first post high school job in October of 1985 Chief Auto Parts. I worked my way up from a counterman to the night shift manager and eventually to what they called an Associate Store Manager. Basically, a Store Manager without the paycheck. This was a pretty enjoyable time of my life. My store manager was a great guy who I learned a lot from and I had a great crew. at one point we were the number 6 store in the entire chain of about 700 stores. We did that by sourcing things for the customers that they needed from local warehouses.
I went to work for a friend who had a Carquest franchise in 1991. That relationship ended in the middle of 1992 for personal reasons. It was a good job and I made some needed improvements to the inventory system but there were some complications we just couldn’t get through.
In mid-1992 I took a job with CSK Automotive which was known as Kragen in California. I was commuting quite a ways from home at first but eventually got transferred to a local store. After about a year there, I and one other employee, transferred to the corporate office in Phoenix Arizona where we worked at the internal order desk handling special order sourcing and orders for the retail store personnel. I ended up leading a team in the call center which eventually led me to join the technical support staff that handled support for the store POS systems. There, I went from being a tier-one tech support person to the night shift leader and then eventually doing QC work on the parts catalog. That then led me to a role that combined hardware troubleshooting with Unix Administration.
Sometime in 1998 an ex-co-worker called me and asked me if I would be interested in a Unix Administration position which led me to be hired by Inter-Tel. This was a company that supplied PBX systems for small and medium-sized companies and they were on the verge of growing quite rapidly due to them being on the bleeding edge of IP Telephony development. I started as a Unix administrator but eventually was recruited on to the e-commerce team Where I became the team’s own internal tech support and did light SQL work such as building queries and filters for merging data between ORACLE databases. During this time I was also involved with two other people in an ISP called NETWRX.
In 2003 the wife and I decided that we didn’t want to raise our young children in the city and move to rural Western Colorado where her parents had retired. Originally I had a job offer from a small mom-and-pop software company but that ended up collapsing. Being a rural area IT work wasn’t exactly available everywhere. I had turned down an offer from Montrose County because their pay was ridiculously low. So I fell back on my automotive parts career and got hired at the local AutoZone. I quickly worked my way up to Commercial Specialist and even spent some time as a temporary store manager at another store in a nearby town. Then in 2005, we moved about 30 miles away to another town so that my wife could help her father take care of her mother.
The 60-mile round trip commute just wasn’t financially viable and I ended up landing a job at Long Haul Folding Kayaks as a Woodworker/IT person in 2005. My main job was working in the woodshop building frames for skin-on-frame kayaks, but I was also responsible for the IT/Telephony infrastructure and the website. Some of our largest contracts started coming to an end in 2007 and we were having our hours cut. I hung in as long as I could because I really liked the job but eventually I had to pursue other income.
At the beginning of 2008, I went to work for the local NAPA auto parts franchise and spent almost two years selling parts, turning rotors, and making hydraulic lines until I was laid off.
From September 2009 to the middle of 2012 I did freelance IT consulting for small businesses. Most of the work was web design and marketing, but there were some spreadsheet development projects and other things sprinkled in.
In mid-2012 I went to work for StarTek in Grand Junction as a Local Support Specialist. We were contract workers for AT&T and coordinated the installation of high-speed data lines into new bank branches for clients such as Wells Fargo. It was a good job but the long commute made it a financial loss.
In 2013 I went back to AutoZone to work as an assistant manager in a local store. We had a great crew but this was temporary until something else came available.
In 2014 I was contacted by a friend who I had done some contract work for in the past. He inquired about me doing some more work for him and during that conversation, I made the remark that he should just hire me full-time as it would be less expensive for him. Two weeks later he called me and asked me to come on board as a Process and Quality Control Engineer. As sales and profits increased and we expanded our capabilities I eventually worked my way into the General Manager spot and ended up being responsible for the day-to-day running of the company. I was the General Manager, Sales Department, Quality Control Department, Purchasing Department, and the IT department all rolled into one. It was a good time and we made many profitable changes during my time there. I resigned at the end of 2019 after an ownership change which put me in a position where I had to make a moral choice.
Currently, I’m looking for employment while pursuing some of my own projects. As you can see I have a pretty varied background. That wide range of knowledge and experience coupled with curiosity has led me to many new things. And with that, I look forward to tomorrow.