Don't you love those web sites that say "About Us" and you pretty soon realize that there's one guy and one computer? Well I'm one guy (with several computers) as well, but what you see is what you get. I know this page has a lot on it, but I've been around IT for a long time!
I wrote my first program in 1966. And it worked perfectly first time. So did the next four programs. Things didn't stay quite that rosy, but I graduated with a nice shiny BSc in Computer Science and came to Canada. I worked for Manufacturer's Life for about 18 years in an IBM mainframe world as a techie and a manager.
In 1988 I joined the City of Toronto to manage the support arm of their Information Centre (IC). PCs were coming in, and gradually became the main focus of my work. When the IC was closed as part of downsizing, I moved to manage the IT needs of the Toronto Fire Department and learned about fire trucks. After Toronto's amalgamation from six municipalities and Metro Toronto into one, I brought together six IT groups and formed an integrated unit. As Fire Chiefs would rather spend money on pumpers than computers, working for Fire Services taught me how to stretch dollars.
In 1999 I traded a 4-hour daily commute for an exit package and a twenty-minute drive to the Canadian Red Cross, where as IT Manager I looked after just about anything in Ontario which was more complicated than than a stapler.
Mainly what I learned in these three jobs is that it's not about computers and technology, it's about people. I had great staff working for me, so I learned to leave the techie details to them, while I sweated the big picture. Our clients had their jobs to do, and they didn't always see the computer as a friend. I came to respect that (although I still don't understand it!) and became a champion for their rights. Whenever a major change was mandated from above, I made it part of my job to put user education, user training, and communications into the plan.
Since 2003 I have been semi-retired, running Creekwood Digital Solutions and enjoying learning new programming technologies, digital photography, video production, and tinkering in my home workshop. For a number of years I volunteered as a business advisor with a non-profit group that services small businesses in South Western Ontario, and I maintained their web site. For about ten years I was the back office for a professional Society, running their membership administration, referral program and workshop marketing and registration; using processes, applications, databases and website automation that I developed from scratch.
In January 2007, I became a regular contributor to Microsoft's Canadian Small Business Forum, writing articles for entrepreneurs, especially those who are starting out in small business after leaving the corporate fold. I was active doing that for a number of years until Microsoft dropped that feature on their website.
My objective now is to spend more time on my own projects and less on working "on the clock". I still want to work with people and enjoy the feeling of making a difference to the way they work. Saving them time and effort. Showing someone a handy tip. I don't want the four hour commute, the excessive politics, or the 10 hour days; I still want to make a difference, but in my senior years, I'm choosing to make more of a difference for me and my family.
If you want see if I can make a difference for you, please contact me by phone or e-mail.