I received a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours; Electrical Engineering; Computer Option; Minor in Management) from McGill University, Montréal, in 1988. In my spare time, I was president of the Interfraternity Council, VP of my fraternity, started a newspaper, played on 3 broomball teams and coached a fourth, and worked part-time writing assembly language software for microwave landing systems for jet fighters at Canadian Marconi (the MLS system I worked on was installed on Air Force One in March 1988).
After graduation, I moved to Toronto and worked at IBM Canada Headquarters on their volume products (e.g. PCs and components) inventory forecasting and supply/demand systems–heavy mainframe programming in PL/I, DB2 databases, and ISPF.
A couple of years later, I broke away and started consulting, working under the auspices of ProCom, doing mainframe database and ISPF projects for Esso Petroleum. While at ProCom, I developed and taught a C programming class, helping bring their staff of very experienced COBOL programmers into the (then) modern world of C.
In 1992, I picked up my life and moved to Portland from Toronto, going to work at Intersolv on the PVCS version control developer tools for several years.
In the late 1990’s, I was a consultant at STEP Technology in Portland, Oregon, and worked on teams creating everything from Windows applications to e-commerce websites, with a number of very large projects in the online banking and real estate industries. In my last year at STEP Technology, I created a small team of highly specialized experts (including Scott Hanselman, Bruce Wilson, and Rob Vieira) that consulted to all of the company’s projects.
In 2001, I co-founded TheBigDay.com, a honeymoon registry and travel company with Terry Beard, Dan Skerritt, Phil Stevens, and Larry Custer. Here is where I “went to school” on SEO, learning how to get our webpages ranked in Google for key honeymoon travel phrases such as “overwater bungalows” ahead of the giants in the industry like Expedia and Travelocity. As well, it gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about business and entrepreneurship–especially from Terry, who also introduced me to the Rotary Club of Portland, which I joined in 2003. One of our proudest moments at TheBigDay was receiving a Better Business Bureau “Business of the Year” award for Oregon.
In April 2011, I launched Visual Itineraries, a sales closing and lead-generation tool for travel agents which allows the agent to present a trip itinerary consisting of a custom selection of resorts and points of interest, each with photo galleries, videos, virtual tours, webcams–all shown on a dynamic Google map.
As well as my independent consulting, I am an Associate at Moz, answering questions from PRO members in their Q&A forum, and contributing articles to the Moz main blog fairly regularly. I’ve been on the board of SEMpdx as well: a non-profit that puts on monthly educational events and the annual Engage (formerly SearchFest) digital marketing conference. Since moving away from Portland to Bend, I’ve left the SEMpdx board, and will be helping with the Swivel digital marketing conference here in Bend.
I enjoy photography, riding motorcycles (I raced with OMRRA for 7 years), travel extensively, mess around with collector cars, and a few years ago became a private pilot (although I’m not current).
I’m fairly active on Facebook as well. I post a lot on Twitter, but really just for SEO benefits for my sites and my clients’ sites. See my recent Tweets. Slide decks from my public presentations are available on SlideShare.
You can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. If you think LinkedIn is ugly and old-school (I sure do!), check out my BrandedMe site here (they build the site by pulling your LinkedIn content…pretty sweet!).
Got a smartphone (Android, iPhone, etc.)?
Take your favorite barcode reader app (I like QRafter), and scan this QR barcode. It’s got all my contact info in it.