I enjoy the challenges that come with solving difficult problems. High growth startups, struggling products and dysfunctional organizations -- and sometimes all these things together -- present complex, multi-dimensional challenges that require a broad range of skills, including strategic sensibilities, and an understanding of personal and organizational dynamics, and the ability to understand market dynamics at a deep enough level to set priorities and establish solution constraints as the guideposts toward turnaround and success. Solving difficult problems often requires a new perspective, and sometimes entirely new approaches. Global virtual teams, strategic market analysis, software application architecture, key staff, vendor and platform assessments and understanding software and service product ecosystems often factor in solving difficult business challenges. But experience, and perseverance, more than an any particular 'cookie-cutter' approach, is often the key to success.
1986 - 1999
The College Board / Virginia Software
I've been leading teams and building solutions for most of my career. I earned my first technical position at age 16 at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, doing statistical work supporting the Sounding Rockets division. I next worked at MITre, the Central Intelligence Agency and Bankers Trust Company, while attending Columbia Engineering and earning a CS degree. From there I went to a range of consulting and financial service firms before striking out on my own. From 1986 to 1996, I built a consulting business ("Virginia Software") that sold and delivered over ten million dollars of professional services work, building complex, enterprise critical solutions for a variety of clients from manufacturing to higher education to financial services (The College Board, Sallie Mae and The National Student Clearinghouse were big clients. Some large efforts were done while partnered with IBM and other service providers). Over ten years this highly talented team grew to include 22 software engineers and professionals.
I sold the business to The College Board in 1996, and worked for them managing the financial aid software product group and an infrastructure group for three years. I then joined a venture funded internet direct marketing company as CTO, and built a 55 person technology group at Lifeminders through several rounds of public and private funding, and six quarters of rapid growth and increasing revenue. In the fall of 2000 I joined another early stage software company as SVP of Engineering, Juice Software, in NYC, where Alan Warren and a team I helped recruit built a robust and complex "BI" tool set -- which was later acquired by ProClarity, and then Microsoft.
From 2001 to 2003 I earned an MBA at Columbia, took a refersher course in Java, and classes in cross-border management at the London Business School. I also ran another small internet marketing company during this period. I next spent four years working with teams in India, Mexico and California doing work for multinational companies in Irvine, California (Mitsui, Ingram Micro and Hyundai Kia Motor Group), and began my study of Mandarin (in Beijing and SoCal). I had excellent experiences working with Infogain, and very productive engagements with staff from Xoriant and Softech.
In late 2006 I met the CEO of Hundsun Technologies, and in early 2007 moved to Hangzhou to join this Shanghai listed financial services software company. In Mid-2008, i set up my own "WOFE" (wholly owned owned foreign entity) in Hangzhou, hired a local staff (including James Hardy in the Hundsun video on the right) and developed a robust set of Microsoft based solutions (Biztalk, Microsoft Dynamics, SQL Server, SharePoint, Windows Workflow) for an international trading company (paper industry) in California. This work carried me through late 2009 when I decided to return to the USA.
After consulting for the CEO of a large enterprise in the DC area, I accepted a position in 2010 back at the College Board, where many of the Virginia Software staff remain and thrive, and currently focus my efforts on research and development of digital high-stakes testing technologies, platforms and systems. This work includes a focus on developing next-generation computer-based assessment products and services.
My home remains near Irvine, California. I hope to work nearby again one day soon solving difficult problems while building a first class technology organization. I continue to create a range of Ipad and e-learning related apps and system prototypes as a way of staying current with a wide range of evolving technology for "web scale" solutions.
Sep 2001 - May 2003
Earned an MBA at Columbia while running a small scale internet direct marketing company with several partners. My studies focused on strategic planning and marketing, value investing and cross-border / international management. Projects included execution of an online marketing campaign with sophisticated analytics; operations review and process improvement project that included working with a JV and factory visits in mainland China; and development of a strategic marketing assessment and plan for a new software product.
1978 - 1980
Master of Science
A practitioner-lead degree program focused on the creation and management of enterprise level IT applications.
1975 - 1978
Completed degree requirements in three years -- and earned Varsity Letter in Lightweight Football. Worked at Bankers Trust Company, the MITRe Corporation and the Central Intelligence Agency. Also worked at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center under an NSF grant through The American University in Washington DC. Excelled in database management system concepts and applications.
Hundson Team (Hangzhou) -- annual picnic, 2007
Logo for Newport Coast Software (Hangzhou). Click for Business License.
CB Financial Aid Timeline
Location of Prometric Test Center in Hangzhou, China
First of several Juice Software patent apps. C. Ferguson, Alan Warren et al. authors.
Virginia Software developed and suported ShelfManager for Windows. Sold to Intactix in 1996.
Virginia Software and The College Board - Reston - at the beginning circa 1996
Shows USA company (Newport Coast Software LLC) as owner / investor.
In 1991 Virginia Software was 5 years old and made Inc. Magazine's Inc. 500 (click to see rank!)
Final Road Show Presentation - November 1999
LifeMinders Scalable Architecture - September 1999