I graduated from Clark High School in Las Vegas in 1969: it was my third high school. I attended Folsom High School (Folsom, CA) for 9th grade and Western High School (Anaheim, CA) for 10th and half of 11th. Then the family moved to Las Vegas where I finished high school. In my senior year, my folks moved back to California and I stayed with family friends (Jim and Jean Helleso) to finish high school with my friends. I also worked that year at Von Tobel's Lumber Yard. Las Vegas was a great place to live, but since everyone was so mobile, I have not kept up with any of my friends from there. (On the other hand, I still have friends from Folsom and Western -- go figure!).
I went to college at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. This was my first real experience with culture shock: after Las Vegas, Indiana was like another world. I majored in Linguistics and East Asian Languages and graduated after three years with honors and a BA. I then went to Cornell University in upstate New York for a year of graduate work studying Japanese in an intensive program which culminated in a summer living with a Japanese family in Musashi-Koganei-shi near Tokyo. The group of us studied in Tokyo during the day and went sightseeing in every free moment. Courtesy of the Japanese Ministry of Education, we also had a three-week tour of the country. Speaking Japanese opens doors, and I fell in love with the country during my time there.
In the fall of 1973, I enlisted in the US Navy. The Navy was great and I enjoyed my time there to the fullest. I was stationed in Monterey, California, to learn Russian then went to Japan for two years. I attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, RI, in 1978 and was commissioned an ensign. I was sent to Washington, DC, for two different jobs at the National Security Agency before returning to Japan in 1982 for another three years. Then I went to Italy (quite a change after Japan) before returning to Washington in 1987. I ended up my time with the Navy with tour of duty with NATO where I traveled to Europe about once every two months. NATO gave me the opportunity to work with some truly outstanding people who were devoted to making the Alliance work. It was a great way to finish my naval career.
One of the things that I enjoyed most about traveling with the Navy was the opportunity to work with people from around the world. My first experience was in Japan in the 70s. Later I got to work with the Australian Navy when I was on loan from the US Navy in 1982. That was when I realized that just because someone speaks English, doesn't mean that there aren't cultural differences. After some adjustments, I had a great time in Australia. In 1985 I was posted to Italy as Operations Officer which was a wonderful opportunity to begin to know Europe. I was able to learn even more about Europe during my four years with NATO -- that was one of the most exciting jobs I had and one of the most fun. I enjoyed the people I was working with even more than the travel.
I retired from the Navy as a lieutenant commander in 1993 after a twenty-year career: the time just flew! In 1994, I went to China where I worked for half a year with a start-up advertising company, then for almost two and a half years at the Shangri-La Hotel in Shenzhen (across the border from Hong Kong) teaching English. Shangri-La Shenzhen is a 5-star hotel and as such has some of the best facilities available in the city. China turned out to be a very exciting and interesting place to be, and I enjoyed traveling around the country and absorbing the rich culture and seeing the many fascinating historical sites. The best thing about China is the people who are warm, friendly and outgoing.
In August of 1997, I returned to the United States. Much as I enjoy traveling, it is always good to be back home. Also, I begin to get wanderlust after living in the same place for more than about two years. I am now living in California's Silicon Valley. I started working for a start-up company, NetAdvantage, but in 1998 the three co-founders and I were hired by GetSmart.com to be part of the Technology group. GetSmart was acquired by Providian Financial in 1999 and moved from Burlingame to San Francisco in 2000. I was Vice President of Architecture & Capacity Planning there until early in 2004. I then moved to another startup, FastFind™, where I am the Chief Technology Officer (CTO).The job is a lot of fun, I have a great team to work with, and going into work is always exciting.
Best of all, I've been able to spend time with my family (Mom, Dad, my brother and my nephew) for the first time in many years: having the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) with them is great!!My plans now are fairly open, but I now that I'm back in the United States, I plan to use my GI Bill to help defray the costs of the MBA program I am enrolled in at the University of Phoenix online. The best and most exciting thing that has happened to me since returning to the United States is meeting my life partner, David Roundsley, a talented graphics designer and musician. We've been together now for almost five years and two years ago we had our commitment ceremony. We have a wonderful life together, and everyday just gets better and better.