Read my story to see where I've been and how far along I am.
Honors High School
Not everyone goes to a high school famous for honor, integrity, and creativity. Michael attended CPS in Oakland, California acclimating to intellectual rigor, problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork through sports. The University of California recognizes CPS as an honors institution because all classes are taught at the honors level. Michael graduated with a 3.5 GPA. GPAs from honors high schools are calculated one grade point higher than the transcript when applying for admission at post secondary institutions and Universities. This means Michael's high school GPA is a 4.5.
1988 - 1989
Michael got his first job in Graphic Design for a small design firm in Oakland, California. Back then, computers were slower and relatively more expensive. Michael learned to design on a small black and white screen using Super Paint and ran the mail merge for the office's marketing campaign using Microsoft Word.
1989 - 1994
Community College & USF
After deciding he would like to become better at Graphic Design, Michael left the workforce to focus full-time on education. He enrolled in Community College in Oakland, California majoring in Desktop Publishing. Michael transferred to the University of San Francisco to continue his education. He was elected Freshman Class President in his first year and won as a write-in after memorizing the names of 200 freshmen he had just met. He is the only one who has ever done that in the school's history.
1994 - 1995
Skywalker Ranch & George Lucas
Michael left the University of San Francisco for a once-in-a-lifetime internship at Skywalker Ranch with his idol, George Lucas. Michael became an IT Assistant at the George Lucas Educational Foundation where he improved his computer support skills while studying the convergence of education and technology in the Foundation's specialized education technology library. He also used Mozilla during its first launch and was excited about his future. Researching the Foundation's library revealed a computer animation school in Sunnyvale, California. Immediately following his internship's end, Michael moved to Sunnyvale and enrolled.
1995 - 1996
Cogswell & Domino Computer
After feeling disconnected from the workforce for too long, yet realizing he needed to remain current with evolving technologies, Michael decided to take a new approach: to work while going to school. He took a job at a computer store as a salesperson and technician so he could personally build the products he sold. He also attended animation school to continue his pursuit of digital design. He learned customer service and technical support and then moved on to network administration, obtaining his Novell Netware Certification and earning $60 an hour doing network "house calls." Michael's boss called his computers "bullet-proof." It may have had something to do with Michael's 27-step preparation plan used on every computer he built.
1996 - 2000
New Zealand & WWW
When traveling between school and work became too grueling, Michael's high school friend invited him to move to New Zealand for a change of pace. There, Michael created an online video game retailer that received 1.2 million hits in its first year. He and his partner made the front page of New Zealand's largest newspaper and were featured on television as an innovative, technology-based retailer. At the time, theirs was the only website featuring videos of gameplay to overcome buyer's reluctance and give customers a preview of gameplay before purchasing. Click here to dig around Google and see some of the articles about Michael in New Zealand. One of the links reveals a little known fact about Michael: Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com cited Michael's website, Gamescape.co.nz in his Patent document. View the document here: Amazon.com Patent document.
2000 - 2003
The Start-up Bubble
During the time Michael was in New Zealand, the dot-com bubble started growing. Unemployment in the U.S. hit an all-time low of 4.6%. Tech companies were searching high and low for creative talent to fuel innovative start-ups. Michael moved back to the United States to leverage his experience in his New Zealand start-up and grow his experience in the larger, more competitive U.S. market. In Los Gatos, California, Michael learned the value of separating the front-end from the back-end so specialized talent can be more productive. Michael was promoted to Product Manager after creating a prototype to redesign his employer's software interface based on user feedback. Later, he was promoted to Director of User Interface Design. Michael's work helped sell their web application and their start-up for several hundred thousand dollars and won Michael an invitation to join the same executive team at their next start-up.
2003 - 2011
& Phantom Records
Shortly after getting hired at the new start-up, the tragedies of 9/11 led investors to pull the funding at Michael's new employer. With start-up funding ending all over Silicon Valley, Michael decided it was time to return to school. Feeling dissatisfied with the educational opportunities in California, Michael moved to the East Coast and enrolled in American University. There, he created a custom-made degree combining Graphic Design, Multimedia, and Web Programming. Michael graduated with the only Bachelor of Science in Multimedia Design and Development in the University's history. While going to school part-time, Michael also worked part-time to apply what he learned directly to the work world. He graduated on May 8th, 2011 with a 3.49 GPA but the school had him walk with the honors students.
2011 - 2015
Experience & Education Applied
After graduating from American University, Michael applied his education and experience to develop Phantom Records' website into a rich, multimedia, database-driven site. After updating the site to the most modern it can be, his employer, Phantom Records, moved the site into maintenance mode. Without a site to apply his talents, Michael negotiated the option to take on contracts that would allow him to remain current and broaden his skill set. Between 2013 and now, Michael completed several contracts building sites for the TSA, the Glenmont United Methodist Church, and a start-up government contractor.
2015 - Present
Full Sail University &
The National Institutes of Health