It is easy for me to summarize myself as a man: I am always working harder at becoming a better father and husband to my wicked-awesome wife and 3 diverse kids (two of them are Royal Canadian Air Cadets!). When it comes to me professionally, well that’s a little more challenging. Why is that? Well, that’s because I’ve spent a number of years working with startups.
A Little Back-Story
My design background began as a child with piles and piles of drawings. My eighth grade teacher guided me into Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA) because of my drawing talents – thank you for that, Mrs. Dressel. After high school a good friend introduced me to a small college downtown, the International Academy of Design & Technology (IADT), and encouraged me to attend – thank you for that, Mr. Nelles. In 1997 I graduated from the IADT with a high honours diploma in Computer Graphic Design, a program that focused on using design software to create print media but did touch a little on HTML.
Designing for print was frustrating when it came to colour control (onscreen to final print), but the web was entrancing because of the dynamic content. I was compelled to learn more and so I began teaching myself how to design and code for the web, a process that has never ended. Looking back I would have done well to study to become a LAMP developer.
What I’ve Worked on
- My first exposure to startups came fairly early on in my career when I picked up a production design role within a company that just graduated from their garage. I was elevated to manager of the design team within a few months of my arrival.
- Two of the programmers from there started a company of their own and brought me on board. Together the three of us built a 5 million member site within four years, with me juggling a diverse set of roles. Officially I was the Director of Sales & Marketing, however I was the only person involved in design, public relations, human relations, hiring and training the English-speaking staff, office manager, and I even appeared in US court on behalf of the company.
- I was recruited to work for a company in Los Angeles, where I remotely managed the design and production department as Director of Operations.
Once again I found myself working with some familiar faces on another social network, again wearing multiple hats as the Manager of Sales & Marketing.
- I took a detour into México and taught English to children for a few months.
- I am now (September 2015) Project Manager for hundreds of national energy conservation projects for large Canadian brands like Shoppers Drug Mart, Canadian Tire, Walmart, Chapters, FedEx, Staples and Sobeys. This position will terminate on October 2nd 2015.
Freelance web and print design projects have been a staple throughout my career. In 2014 I built my first iOS app! As I write this I have no client-driven projects on the go as I am focussing my efforts on full time employment opportunities. I do have several mobile app ideas that I will be putting into play following completion of iOS app development courses that I have lined up for the fall. Check these UIs out:
Business presentation launcher
Business presentation help screen
I’m Good At
I’m a problem-solver, I’m technical, I’m organized and I strive for efficiency in all I do. Public speaking is no problem for me, and it is something that I quite enjoy.
- Whenever I’m in an uncertain situation I either find a way or I find the people with the way.
- I have a very strong grasp of Windows operating systems and an admin level understanding of the Mac OS. I don’t mind diving into necessary software and figuring out how to accomplish required goals. I have a high proficiency with the Adobe Creative Suite as well as Microsoft Office.
- My file/folder structures are clear and organized; anyone who accesses my files will identify the naming convention and find what they’re looking for with relative ease.
- I don’t like to waste time nor effort. I invest my time identifying areas for improving management and productivity processes so that future workflows are smooth and unencumbered.
- For me, my attitude towards work is simple: always consider how what I’m doing will benefit the team and the company, then head in that direction.
What I’m Looking to do Next
To be honest, I have found it challenging to find a company looking for someone like me as I don’t fit into the clean and neat little categories HR managers are trying to fill. Currently I am looking for opportunities where my diverse skill set can be put to good use, both for my professional benefit as well as for the team that I join. I very much want to make a positive impact in the world while providing for my family.