Science History About Me

My career...

Beginnings  Cheyenne Days  CommVault  Venture  To Consulting  A Venture, Contracting, and Bio Science

After my time at the bank I consulted, contributed, and learned a great deal during my college days. However, nothing quite prepared me for the fact that I would actually enjoy the occasional block of 80 hour weeks I found myself performing at my first engineering position out of school. Part of what made the experience pleasurable, of course, was the joy of creating something and the exhilaration of solving complex problems, but contributing most were the incredible people I met while working at Cheyenne Software.

During those occasional short streches, given that I had no responsibilities other than to myself, I got plenty of sleep as I pretty much ate and, passed out when I got home, but during the rest of the year, when I followed a normal schedule, the amount of sleep I got went down. During that time I learned what a joy it could be to work and play with such an intelligent, kind, and fun group of people. While there were, of course, those with whom I didn't see eye to eye but that didn't mean we didn't become friends and I am truly richer for having known them all.

My product was JETServe; a slick image-based enterprise storage solution whose simple interface hid all kinds of engineering gems. With an adaptive, propriatary communication protocol and code so efficient Compaq used the product to benchmark its SCSI adapters it served it's Fortune 100 clients and government agencies with distinction. I came to work on JETSServe at version 3.3 creating new combinatorial RAID configurations and interacting with the emerging X500 directory technology from Novell. Because of the excellent work done prior to my official entrance by my brother and the guru Jim, there were few bugs either existing or introduced, and when a tough one did crop up, it usually was truly the fault of the hardware.

With a high-end product comes large clients and shortly after joining I received a trial by fire in the world of software product management. With my brother and jim off to other pursuits, I was left, fresh out of school, with not only development responsibilities, but also customer, hardware vendor, and sales partner relationships, along with leading tech support, planning, even providing documentation. Oh, and development partnership relations as well; I actually gave a presentation to execs from Intel while wearing shorts and a t-shirt since I didn't know they were coming. All went well and within 18 months of coming to Cheyenne as a engineer, I was called into an office and was told that the enterprise class storage solution that protected the data of the likes of the Department of Defense, FEMA, and parts of the Royal Canadian Government was now soley my responsibility.

Just as things were really coming together, as would be the case too often in my career, events beyond my control conspired to remove me from a work place I loved. It was a suprise to most of us when we came in to work that day and learned that Cheyenne had been sold to Computer Associates. Charles Wang was congenial, but many of the Cheyenne executives who had become close friends of mine were leaving so I was loosing my voice. My commute went from 1 mile to 35 grueling miles on the Long Island Expressway and spacious work environtment was reduced to a small cube. I made a commitment to JETServe and its customers and I intended to honor it despite the hardships.

Around this time my develoment responsibilities expanded when I was asked to review the problem of sharing a tape library device between multiple machines running ARCServe, another backup solution, that wasn't currently capable of the feat. Because I always try and think of tomorrow as well as today, I came up with a solution that was, essentially, an autonomous controller for a distributed, redundant database. It was a bit out there, and I was grilled relentlessly by my friends for several days in a row, having, not only to plumb the depths of the merits of my solution, but also to demonstrate its fitness with regard to competing ideas. My friend Chris was the company's chief architect and his character was prominantly displayed as he made his choice on merit rather than the politics that plague so many other companies. The "tomorrow" element of my solution, featured prominently in that any software could use its services not just ARCServe. The code changes required for any client to use the solution were negligible and I was happy to hear that after I left CA it was utilized in other areas.

JETServe and its influence on my career continued even after my development responsibilies moved to the implementation of this solution. One afternoon I was called down to one of CAs subterranean conference rooms I didn't even know existed to find friends I had made at Novell that had moved on Universal Studios. Also in the room were ARCServe sales people and one member of CAs executive leadership so I stood there completely clueless as to why I was called in. Just then one of my friends from Universal Studios got up, welcomed me and said he needed an honest broker between his group and the sales people and I was it. At first it was a bit akward, but the sales people were friends of mine and they were on the level so the meeting proceeded smoothly to a successfull completion and I was rewarded by being allowed the job of entertaining our customers on the slopes of Utah.

After I left CA, my ability to perform well in multiple roles simulaneously as well as my ability to gain the respect of customers and partners alike led Cheyenne executives who had moved on to begin guiding me into a new role; leading a software startup. A beautiful pool and excellent scotch played host to meetings of the minds that refined and expanded my managerial notions and set me on the path to my first venture. But first came a suprise and some new friends when I moved to New Jersey and joined CommVault Systems.