Quick Hits:

  • web technologies
  • functional programming
  • photography
  • detroit

Welcome to my tiny corner of the internet. This site is my test bed for new technologies that I am teaching myself. I am usually hesitant to take new technologies directly to production code at work, so I use this place to sandbox ideas. Unfortunately though this is usually all taking place in the backend (i.e. MVC, URL routing, etc) which is rather boring for you the audience. Luckily we rely on jQuery pretty heavily at work so I try to pepper it into my site without going overboard.

So beyond that I am a software developer who currently focuses on web development using ASP.NET. As you may have noticed this site is built using HTML5 and CSS. One thing that sets me apart from the stereotypical ASP.NET developer is my insistence on valid HTML and CSS. I will always opt for a standard HTML tag over an ASP.NET tag (ASP Label, etc.) if it's possible. I also cannot handle Panels inside of Panels inside of Panels and the like. For me the key to being a good web developer lies in knowing the medium that we are developing. As a result I am constantly studying new techniques and rules for HTML and CSS.

Well, that's the brief explanation of me as a developer. Please feel free to read the other (much longer) sections of the site or to contact me directly.

Thank you for visiting,
John

As with all web developers I am always on the look out for new technologies and solutions. I am very lucky to have had exposure to a wide variety of languages and technologies. Here is a short list of technologies I'm currently working with:

Much to the chagrin of the recruiters that stumble upon this site, I am happily employed by Quicken Loans. QL is basically adult DisneyLand. From Razor™ scooters and Slurpee™ machines on every floor to fusball, ping pong, and arcade games in every building, this place is incredible. On top of cool toys and your choice of technicalogical gizmos, QL encourages innovation with every breath. We are encouraged to find better ways to solve existing problems and to find bleeding edge solutions to new problems. I can honestly say this is the greatest place I have ever worked!

Beyond the sales pitch though is some ground breaking work. My team is charged with developing tools and solutions that our fellow software engineers leverage to make their jobs easier. As a result I have carte blanche to investigate some of the latest and greatest technologies in an attempt to provide AMAZING solutions for my fellow teammates.

Prior to Quicken Loans I was employed by Centurion Medical Products (previously Tri-State Hospital Supply Company) in Williamston, MI. There I was a part of several large initiatives such as redesigning their corporate website (utilizing Umbraco) as well as completely overhauling their online label sales system named Centurion Direct.

The Not-So Distant Past

After I graduated from MSU I began working for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage right out of college. It was definitely a positive learning experience for me as I was able to gain a solid understanding of the business. I used this understanding to gain a position as a SME, which later allowed me to join the Business Services team. However after a few years of learning the inner workings of project management I realized that, with my background in computers, my skills could be put to better use as a liaison between the business and technology group.

Unfortunately Wells Fargo did not have a position that performed that task. As a result I decided it was time to focus more on my technical background and I left Wells Fargo to become the web developer for a small mortgage lender, Baytree Lending. Baytree turned out to be the ideal environment for me to nurture my desire to be more technical while still keeping my project management experience intact. Baytree provided numerous training and learning opportunities thanks to a very open minded management team as well as a few magnificent mentors whom I feel incredibly indebted to for the progress I made in a short amount of time. I was able to go from little to no .NET experience to creating full blown C# Windows applications! As I said before, I was very lucky to have such supportive, creative and intelligent technology managers who pushed my boundaries and helped me realize my love of application development. I was able to use these new skills to obtain employment with EDS (via TekSystems) back home in Michigan.

EDS provided the unique opportunity to take my C# knowledge from a Windows-based environment into a seriously complex ASP.NET world. I had always enjoyed C#, and Windows development for that matter, but it wasn't until I started doing heavyweight ASP.NET development that I really connected with the code I was writing. The instantaneous feedback, the hurdles in stateless management, the use of MVC patterns were all fascinating to me. Unfortunately my involvement in the ASP.NET project, which I was hired to complete, was cut short due to a series of unfortunate events (which I cannot discuss due to NDAs, my apologies). As a result I bounced around on a few related projects doing technical work where it was available. However it didn't take management long to realize I had a strong background in project management (documentation, task management, SDLC, etc) and I ended up on a Medicaid project. Eventually I realized that the longer I stayed on that project the harder it would be to course-correct back to programming. I was faced with a difficult decision, but I chose to leave EDS and join Tri-State Hospital Supply Company.

The story of my collegiate career is quite complex. In an attempt at brevity I will simply explain the main points. I chose to attend Purdue University due to its reputation in both science and engineering. I was torn between two paths: Genetics and Computer Engineering. In a weird twist of fate I ended up taking an introductory Botany course, as a pre-requisite, and fell in love. The anatomy and physiology of plants, being mostly chemical and thus mathematical, appealed to my logical side, while the aspects of Ethno-Botany (societal uses of plants, etc) appealed to my desire to understand the world in which we live. I decided then that I would pursue a degree in Botany while simultaneously studying computers (hardware and software) as a hobby.

Once I settled into my Botany & Plant Pathology degree at Michigan State I had a very solid computer background. This background became a valuable skill in the Botany department because computer savvy botanists were a true rarity at that time. I eventually began working for the MSU Herbarium as a web developer, database administrator, Microsoft Access application developer, and in several other, more scientific, roles. Once I graduated it was time for a change, so I moved to Chicago and began looking for employment. The reality of my Botany degree was quite apparent, that is I would be a glassware cleaner until I obtained either a Masters or PhD. Luckily I had a solid enough background in computers that I was able to leverage those skills to obtain employment with Wells Fargo.

Gear:

  • Canon 5D Mark II
  • Myriad of L-Glass

Photography is my true passion in this world. I originally became interested in photography while working at the MSU Herbarium as a student. Fueled by my background in Botany I spent a good amount of time photographing plants and their flowers. Eventually I became rather obsessed with floral photography and decided to branch out into landscapes and cityscapes. Around 2004 or so I purchased my first digital-SLR (Nikon D70) and the rest is sort of a blur. Armed with my new camera I went around capturing everything I could, around 15-17k pictures in the first year I owned the D70! It took some time to rein myself in and learn the art of photography, not simply taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures. As a result, my photography definitely took a turn for the better and has since grown quite remarkably. My focus is still mainly floral, landscape, and cityscape. However, I have been branching out lately in an effort to push my boundaries. If you are interested in seeing my photography please visit my site at ExiFocus.com.