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Overview

I am a dedicated, dependable Linux Systems Administrator and FLOSS-oriented general technologist, skilled at managing diverse needs in challenging, fast-paced environments. I advocate for the use of free/libre and open-source software (FLOSS) as my "tools of choice," though I have been known to use proprietary products in certain specific cases (most often Microsoft Windows & Office and Atlassian JIRA, Confluence, et. al.) I am incredibly driven to solve problems through regular, iterative improvements with measurable/observable positive impact for the end-user.

Peers and other co-workers often describe me as "friendly and energetic," with "top-notch" communication and customer service skills, as well as a proven ability to mentor peers and clients while ensuring systems' security, performance, and availability through "meticulous" and "methodical" practice. Personally, ever since working in a movie theater in high school, I feel that I am always able to maintain a professional decorum, even in periods of intense pressure or stress. (Communication, in my experience, is much easier and more effective when all parties are calm and clear-headed.)

have always had a genuine passion for learning and trying new things, particularly those of a technical nature (at this time, I am pursuing a certificate from IBM via edX for Python/Data Science, and I am especially intrigued by Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies/utility tokens as well as blockchain technology in general—I am even learning about dApps on platforms such as Ethereum, EOS, and NEO), as well as a love of comedy and virtually all genres of music—live or recorded (or recorded live!) In fact, one of my only major non-technology possessions (and one of which I am very proud, personally) is my hand-built collection of >500 vinyl albums.

In summary, if you are looking for someone to help solve problems through the use of (mostly free—as in both "freedom" and "beer") technology, improve employees' day-to-day work experience, ensure customers that interact with your company come away with a positive view of your technological "wizardry," and help delight customers and end-users alike by always minding the dual philosophies of "never make promises you aren't absolutely positive you can keep" and "always under-promise and over-deliver," please reach out to me; I think we will work well together!

Summary

  • Savvy and motivated Linux technician, offering hands-on experience administering complex server environments with a 24x7x365 service availability mindset
  • Rock-solid problem-solving skills, including familiarity with issues and challenges that arise at scale
  • Excellent communication; able to adjust language and jargon on-the-fly to match the intended audience and explain complex technical concepts in a relatively non-technical way
  • Affinity for learning and applying new information, outside-the-box ideas, and unfamiliar technology. Able to get up-to-speed quickly and tackle projects with minimal rampup time, hand-holding, or oversight.
  • Early explorer of blockchain technologies; currently learning about how to build custom dApps and potential business applications for "distributed ledger" (blockchain) databases
  • Data Scientist-in-Training: enrolled in and currently working on completing a five-class certification from edX with a focus on using Python for Data Science, Machine Learning, etc.

Career experience

2018-072018-11
All Star Directories

Systems Engineer

  • research Barracuda Essentials for Office 365 to learn how to implement the suite of products
  • develop deployment plans for BESS, BCAS, and BCCB including all implementation & documentation steps
    • execute BESS email cutover plan at agreed-upon time/date:
      • coordinate email “cutover” with Sr. Staff -- once for “inbound” email, and once again for “outbound” email
      • write end user documentation to provide step-by-step, non-technical guides for common product use-cases
      • automate installation of Barracuda Outlook plugin via O365 Exchange administration settings
    • implement Exchange mail connector to forward all incoming mail to Barracuda archival mailbox
      • retain messages indefinitely in their original, unaltered state
      • users have access to restore mail from their archives, but not change or delete anything
  • troubleshoot Azure AD account “corruption”
    • determined root-cause, but the solution was potentially more destructive than the problem (at the time); months later, this solution ended up solving the problem
  • Atlassian JIRA rebuild/migration/upgrade (7.2 -> 7.12)
    • planned maintenance steps written up in detail and reviewed/signed-off by team/peers
    • Nagios monitoring/alerting improvements added as a result of the productivity lost throughout the company during JIRA outages
      • event handler with “automatic” process restart script acting as a “watchdog” substantially improved uptime immediately as we decided what to do longer-term
    • After JIRA upgrade/server & database migration, the crashes stopped, we were able to enjoy new features introduced since JIRA 7.2
      • a common problem caused by the use of MariaDB in the old JIRA system was solved by moving to PostgreSQL in the new system
  • develop migration plans for moving the “PERF” environment out of the office data closet to AWS with a re-tooled build process based around GitLab and Kubernetes
2016-102018-07
All Star Directories

Systems Administrator

  • provide assistance engineering, implementing, and maintaining our technical infrastructure (the majority of which is hosted using AWS cloud products)
  • maximize service availability and end-user experience
    • monitor application/API response times
      • Apache Tomcat/httpd response times for requests received
      • overall time for infrastructure to return data to user's browser
    • ensure timely renewal of verified HTTPS certificates
    • automatically alert on application server [5XX] errors
  • secure infrastructure to protect against potentially malicious actors
  • configure automated monitoring/alerting
    • develop scripts to "auto-heal" problems, where possible
  • develop and maintain scripts to automatically deploy software to the production environment
  • plan and execute production software deployments with no service interruption
  • record and analyze server metrics and log data to proactively plan for future system maintenance/potential scale issues
  • research new technologies and evaluate pros/cons regarding implementation into our systems
    • build quick "proof-of-concept" deployments to test viability/provide ROI estimates for implementing new tools/processes
  • collaborate with developers to identify and eliminate problems in our CI pipeline, general process bottlenecks, and "knowledge silos"
    • replace our current CI tools and implement more cohesive CI, including CD
2015-102017-11
Sondry

Technology Consultant

  • design, build, and maintain the systems that run our website
  • ensure around-the-clock availability and a user experience that is fast, stable, and secure
  • provide robust systems that scale on-demand to handle periods of high traffic while minimizing day-to-day operating costs
  • collect and analyze production data and make it available to teams within the company, while monitoring for real-time problems and alerting stakeholders about any issues
  • improve internal processes to reduce friction among teams, reduce the time between "conception" and "release," and help maintain a sustainable and bug-free product
  • take ownership of software development lifecycle:
    • prioritize and manage development tasks
    • review code changes
    • develop and maintain tools to assist with testing and code rolls

In late April, 2016, I moved from full-time contract work with Sondry to an "as-needed" consultant position due to the company's difficulty in securing necessary additional startup capital. Although I maintained full administrative access to the company's infrastructure, I was no longer involved in day-to-day operations; I simply made myself available as a resource to keep the site online and provide advice when requested.

In November, 2017, Sondry decided to cancel its contract with its hosting provider, and (since the infrastructure I had built was no longer around) we decided it was a good time to end my "as-needed" consultant/support role.

2013-042014-03
Accretive Technology Group

Linux Systems Administrator

  • administer over 1200 (physical) servers running Debian GNU/Linux and FreeBSD
  • ensure completion of routine tasks
    • review system logs
    • confirm that backups run correctly
    • grant/revoke employee access
    • apply system updates
  • document internal processes and provide training for other team members
  • identify bottlenecks or potential vulnerabilities and offer possible solutions or improvements
  • act as the “front line” of defense for production systems
    • respond to live issues
    • resolve immediate problems, immediately
      • work towards identifying root-causes to prevent issues from reappearing
  • effectively use tools such as Nagios, SEC, logwatch, munin, and others to form a real-time understanding of what is happening in a highly complex and ever-changing environment
  • assist Sr.-level administrators with various projects
    • rebuild a large number of bare-metal hosts (40+) as VMs
    • build/test new Redis hosts and deploy to production without affecting live traffic
    • migrate guests in a Ganeti cluster away from one node for hardware replacement
    • build Puppet modules to automate deployment of new development team server instances
2012-122013-03
Rackspace

Linux Administrator, Cloud Support

  • develop documentation and provide support for constantly changing, bleeding-edge technology in the cloud computing space
  • install, configure, update, and troubleshoot services for customers
  • proactively reduce the number of incoming support calls by teaching customers "how to fish"
  • explain complex technologies to customers of virtually every technical skill level
    • gauge customers' current technical knowledge/experience and adapt my language and use of jargon on-the-fly to ensure clear communication without potentially sounding insulting/condescending
  • collaborate with fellow system administrators and support team members to ensure that all customers have a positive support experience
  • recommend products that would be beneficial to the customer and notify the sales team regarding any potential leads
2012-012012-12
Online-Access

Systems Administrator and Support Team Lead

  • design, build, deploy, and maintain servers for running both client-facing products and internal productivity tools
  • work with developers to design system architecture changes, investigate potential ROI, and develop an execution plan for changes we decide to implement
  • provide internal Help Desk support for employee PCs and VOIP phones
  • develop automated tools to assist the Customer Support team, saving man-hours and preventing human error
  • manage Support Team to provide a structured environment and consistent customer experience, as well as provide internal assistance so that all client-facing tasks are completed successfully and on-time
    • ensure all customer issues, bugs, tasks, Sales leads, etc. are documented in internal request tracking system
    • work directly with clients and vendors to bring sites live and define requirements for website updates and maintenance
    • design/implement new site content
    • optimize websites and Google Local/Google+ profiles to increase local search rankings
2009-082010-07
MyBuys (now Magnetic)

Linux Systems Administrator

  • work with managed hosting provider to ensure efficient operation of production systems
    • perform basic system administration
    • configure monitoring and automated scheduling
    • analyze available data to assist in capacity planning
    • end-user troubleshooting, support, and emergency response
    • serve as an escalation path for data center issues and emergencies
  • create, document, and follow operational policies to mitigate risk
    • recommend improvements for processes and standard procedures
  • identify root causes for problems and develop solutions
  • work with QA, Product Development, and Professional Services teams to maintain timely and high-quality email message deliveries, web recommendations, and client deployment/upkeep
  • design, build, and maintain all local technical infrastructure for Ann Arbor office
    • ensure smooth network communication between offices in Ann Arbor, MI and Redwood City, CA
2005-102009-04
ePrize (now HelloWorld)

Associate Systems Administrator

  • apply communication, analytic, and problem-solving skills to maximize the benefit of IT system investments, including over 300 Linux servers
  • design and deploy new applications and enhancements to existing applications, software, and operating systems
  • gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of existing systems
    • develop and implement strategies for improving or further leveraging these systems
    • monitor and test server and network performance
    • prepare and deliver system performance statistics and reports
  • collaborate with network staff, Windows Server administrators, and software engineers to ensure smooth and reliable operation of software and systems
  • design, develop, document, and maintain Perl modules/programs/scripts and bash scripts to both save man-hours and minimize the possibility of human error by automating routine processes
    • lead the creation of the "Code Services" group, working closely with Project Managers and Account Executives to provide end-user-friendly tools/processes and documentation, facilitating truly secure file transfer to all clients/third-party partners regardless of media/transmission requirements, logistics regarding file size, or the technical aptitude of the file's recipient
  • create and maintain documentation for internal systems and tools

Certifications / Education

05/201906/2019
IBM via edX

Python 101 for Data Science

PY0101EN
Final Grade: 100%

2005-072008-03
Kettering University

B.Sc (partial)

Program: Computer Science, with a focus (aka, "minor") in International Relations

Left school voluntarily as a Junior (based on credits earned) to accept a full-time position with the company at which I was interning (ePrize).

20082009
Oakland University

B.Sc (partial)

Major: Information Technology
Minor: Music

Upon leaving KU, my original plan was to complete my B.Sc. at Oakland. I later learned that, although virtually all of my credits from KU would transfer, they didn't directly correlate with the requirements of OU's program. For example, CS-101 at Kettering translated to something like IT-302 at Oakland; as a result, the completion of my degree would require time/money spent attending classes that were literally designed as precursors to many of the classes I had already passed (and for which Oakland had decided to give me credit).

I decided this was not a good use of time or money and left OU to pursue my career full-time. I believe I have earned enough credits to technically qualify as a Bachelor of Science, but the classes to which those credits applied didn't add up to a "full degree," by Oakland's standards.

Skills

Linux OS Administration

RHEL; CentOS; Arch; Debian; Ubuntu; Fedora; Gentoo/Funtoo

Scripting/Automation

Bash and shell; Chef; Python; Puppet; Perl

Virtualization/Cloud

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Rackspace Cloud; Vagrant; VirtualBox; Proxmox CE; Ganeti; Docker; LXC (OpenVZ); QEMU/KVM; VMWare vSphere vCenter/ESXi

Databases/Data Warehousing

MySQL/MariaDB and PostgreSQL (both self-hosted & Amazon RDS); MongoDB; ElasticSearch; Redis; Redshift; Aurora

Server Administration

Apache httpd, Apache Tomcat, nginx, Nagios, GitLab, Rsyslog, Elastic ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana) & Beats, Graylog, Atlassian products (primarily JIRA, Confluence, Bitbucket), email

Networking

TCP/IP (IPv4); VPN (OpenVPN, PPTP, IPSec); NAT; routing; load balancers; subnets; virtual private cloud networks; extremely basic IPv6; AWS VPCs, ELBs, Security Groups, general cloud network security

Concepts

"Agile" methodologies ("DevOps," CI/CD, etc.); Infrastructure-as-Code; Just Enough Documentation/"self-documenting" code; High Availability/no single-points-of-failure; A/B infrastructure; actionable alerts & automated recovery; file versioning; configuration management & server orchestration

Data Science/Visualization

Python (Pandas, NumPy, SciPy, matplotlib), Machine Learning

Volunteering / Organizations

2016-092017-03
Libertarian Party of Washington State (Snohomish County chapter)

Precinct Committee Officer (PCO) - Johnson for President

  • participate in strategy meetings and sign-waving events
  • place road signs in as many places as legally possible
  • distribute door-hanger literature; knock on doors to talk to people about the candidates and issues (if they are willing)
  • hand out flyers, cards, stickers, and other marketing paraphernalia to people on the street; attempt to engage in conversation whenever possible
  • participate in live phone-banking, calling as many constituents as possible to inform those that care to listen about the Johnson/Weld ticket and platform, as well as answer any questions or discuss any concerns they may have

REFERENCES

References are available upon request.