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What I Can Do (I've been a hands-on kind of guy)

Intimately know Web technologies, mostly from the server perspective, though some of the engineering going on to support sites like Facebook is way beyond my non-Computer-Science brain.

But I have colocated my own servers for 14 years now, so I tend to build or install my own services. Lately I prefer PHP, the CodeIgniter framework, and the ExpressionEngine CMS from the fine people at EllisLab.

Who is this guy?

I've been working professionally on the Web since 1994, when I was first introduced to NCSA Mosaic. I became one of those evangelists running around campus espousing the virtues of the Web, and even started a consulting company named after Ravenna, a city in Italy famous for mosaic works of art.

At the time, AOL users couldn't access the Internet, and a Web developer couldn't center things on a page. HTML was interesting, but dove headfirst into CGI and world of "dynamic" Web pages. 

I've had a long work history, building up knowledge and professional experience for the last 12 years.

Through working for many companies in several industries, and studying along the way, I finally feel confident and knowledgeable enough to execute on my visions.  I'm ready to make my mark.

To do so, I will finally start a blog under my name, and as for execution I am working on turning my creation into a household brand. It gets a respectable amount of traffic for a site that I've mostly neglected, but 2008 marks the year where I will be capitalizing upon social media to spur its new incarnation. You can hear me speak about it in this interview with Chicago Tech Report at the TechCocktail Conference in Chicago.

One way I intend to grow the site is internationally. I need to get a better understanding of the world, especially China! The United States economy will continue to face enormous competition from China, so it would be wise to try to understand the Chinese culture and begin to craft a product offering that would delight those families.

For the first time, I feel my mind is completely awake to this country, economy, and this political season, and I intend to use the China Business Network to jumpstart this understanding.

Oh, and I'm into wine lately, and have met Gary Vaynerchuk twice. (I may not be somebody yet, but he is and I'm overjoyed he knows me.)


Bill Swislow

Bill has known me professionally the longest, and fortunately I get to work in his product development organization right now.

Together we built the first database-powered real estate listings search for the Chicago Tribune back in 1996. It won numerous awards, and was in use until 2002, which was a testament to how good of a product it was for the user.

Frank Gruber

Technically I was Frank's manager for a short while, but Tribune couldn't hold Frank back for long. He has done well for himself, becoming known on the Web with his blog SomewhatFrank, co-founding TechCocktail, and helping AOL drink the social media Kool-Aid.

I'm proud to count Frank as one of my colleagues in the Web 2.0 era.


iCal Exchange

Interests (what I read about)

Web sites have gone from being functional to being usable.

I believe the next step is being hospitable.

I have to credit the restaurateur Danny Meyer for mentioning in his book that when dining, things should happen "for you, not to you". I believe the same principle can be applied to the Web, and this notion will be a focus of some of my blog writings.



Master of Business Administration

Concordia University

Specialized in Entrepreneurship.

Business plan written for


Master of Science

University of Illinois

Computer-aided instruction and the World Wide Web

Built dynamic graphics processing routine for campus maps.

Built Web-based online course prerequisite checker.


Bachelor of Science

University of Illinois

Secondary field of study: Non-destructive evaluation (x-ray, ultrasound, etc. for testing materials and structures)

Vice-President of Student Government Association

Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity

Worked at a number of places during school, including full-time as assistant manager at Blockbuster Video

Work experience

Apr 2006Present

Director, Technical Product Development

The people in charge at, whom I had worked with 10 years before at Chicago Tribune, knew I was back in town and created a position for me to come over and help them continue to grow.

Oversee front-end Web development.

Expanded the team from 5 to 11.

Work in Product Development/User Experience group.



Ravenna Communications Corp.


Built various Web sites in the mid-90s

Own and operate iCal Exchange and

(see sidebar for more details)

Oct 2005Apr 2006

Product Manager

Tribune Interactive

Found my way back to Chicago, managed product development of internal publishing systems that powered network of Tribune sites.

May 2004Sep 2005

E-Commerce Manager

Barbeques Galore

I left PacifiCare because they started to offshore IT, and climbing the corporate ladder in the healthcare industry was not appealing at all. This job represented a significant pay cut, but allowed me to begin to apply what I was learning in my MBA program.

I would like to have stayed, but after a year they couldn't compensate me enough. In retrospect, it might have been a good thing that I didn't stick around.

Sep 2001May 2004

Principal Developer


Accelerated Development Center

I remember having a phone inteview on the morning of 9/11/01.  It was surreal.

Jul 2000May 2001

Director of Technology


At the time, ARTISTdirect had just gone public and had "buckets of cash". It was fun while it lasted, which wasn't that long. Still, it paid well, I got exposure to the music industry, and I became intimately familiar with the various ways to commute between central Orange County and West Los Angeles.

I should add that my son was born during this time, and my wife was in the hospital for 10 weeks on bedrest! My daily routine consisted of wake up, feed the dogs, visit the hospital, drive to LA, drive home, feed the dogs, visit the hospital, and go to bed. Even with all that, he was born a month early, but perfectly healthy.

Jan 2000Jul 2000

Manager of Technology Integration

Zeal Media


Integrated Google via API for search results

Acquired by LookSmart, because LookSmart's human-powered directory didn't look too scalable at the time, thus purchased Zeal for the community-published, rated, and reviewed directory of Web sites.

Unfortunately it no longer exists.

Apr 1999Dec 1999


Ingram Micro

Integration of Vignette content management system.

Actually I was technically an independent contractor through Sai Software (a placement firm), who subcontracted to KPMG, who contracted to Ingram Micro. My take-home hourly rate was quite healthy at the time, so I can't imagine what Ingram Micro was paying for me in the end.

When I phone interviewed in the morning, Sai Software asked if I could be at Ingram Micro that afternoon to start work!

Jan 1996Apr 1999

Various job titles

Chicago Tribune

In the Digital Publishing group. Went from Associate Systems Analyst, to Systems Analyst, to Project Coordinator, to Technical Development Manager. This was my first real job after graduate school, and they hired me for my CGI skills, to help build their first real "dynamic" Web site.

It was also here that we realized we needed a content management system soon, and I had read about CNET building their own CMS called "Prism", and then licensing it to Vignette for commercialization. Chicago Tribune was one of Vignette's first customers, and I did my fair share of referral calls. I like to think that I had a small part to do with their initial success.