About me…

About me…

BLUF: Over the last 20 years I have worked on video games, life-critical spacecraft avionics, advanced research programs, and state-tier cyberwarfare systems.

How I became a computer nerd…

I was fortunate to have a father who had an innate love of learning and knowledge, and because of this, I had access to technologies not common to most households – including computers and electronics. Whilst my father’s day-job was focused primarily on large mainframes (IBM System/360s, AS/400s, etc.), he spent a lot of his personal time experimenting with games and graphics programming. Having been exposed to his joy, I was drawn to computer programming, computer games and computer graphics, and soon began to follow game developers like John Carmack and computer graphics pioneers like Ivan Sutherland, Edwin Catmull and David Evans. Not only did I love playing computer games, I also had a strong desire to make them!

My first foray into coding started in the 80’s with BASIC on my dad’s TI-99 . A couple years later, to my delight, a C64 appeared in the corner of my 5th grade class. And because I could make that C64 “do cool things,” the teacher sent me to a high school computer science course with a small group of similarly-aged kids from around the city. I was more than happy skipping “regular school” to hang out with computer nerds in a well-equipped computer lab!

I got my very own PC in the early 90’s, a second-hand Tandy 1000 TX with an 80286 CPU, and big box containing Borland Turbo Pascal and Turbo C floppies and manuals. Shortly thereafter, my dad plopped Borland Delphi on my desk, and said “this is really cool.” I was immediately intrigued by the GUI development environment, the Visual Component Library (VCL), and how blazingly-fast the compiler would churn out a binary. Delphi was truly revolutionary for its time – kudos to Anders Hejlsberg .

As a sophomore in high school, a group of us “computer nerds” successfully petitioned our school to offer an AP Pascal course. At the time, high school computer science courses were rare in rural areas like ours. But, our little group continued to grow, and our school responded with new hardware, a dedicated lab, and official course material. Our sweet new lab was all Mac SEs, so we ended up coding in Object Pascal, which was a way more pleasant experience than the Tandy and Turbo Pascal. The catch was, however, that our teacher didn’t quite grok OOP concepts. So, I had to transcend that paradigm on my own.

Like many programmers, I spend a large chunk of my free time programming – twiddling away on personal projects learning new skills, and experimenting with new tech. That feeling you get when “it clicks” spurs me to explore topics in computer science and other fields of study. Like my father, I am an autodidact, and a strong believer that learning should be a life-long endeavor. Always Be Learning!

Before startups were “a thing…”

Through a shared love of games and bleeding-edge graphics programming, I became friends with some really talented game programmers and artists looking to build the next-generation game engine. And so, in early 2000, I moved to Los Angeles to start a company called VirtueArts.

In those early days, programmers were the overall dominate force in game development. Unfortunately, in many cases they were also a major bottleneck in getting quality games out the door quickly. It was very challenging for creative folks that lacked coding skills to directly contribute to the design, look-and-feel, and game play. Solving this problem became our primary objective and led us to design and develop our next-generation game engine from the ground-up to include an intuitive, human-friendly authoring environment based on rapid-application development (RAD) and WYSIWYG methodologies pioneered by products like Borland Delphi and Visual Basic. It allowed a much broader set of folks with unique skill-sets to collaborate and contribute more effectively than had ever been possible – and this was years before Unreal and Unity came on the scene.

We built some really cool tech that grabbed the attention of the “big” game developers and game hardware manufacturers. Unfortunately, being young and inexperienced, we made some poor decisions and passed on some critical opportunities that (I believe) could have made a difference in the survival of the company. Like I said, Always Be Learning – even if it’s the hard way.

Years before Musk, and Bezos did it…

Chances are, if you were a kid in the mid-80’s you probably recall the name “Voyager.” No, not the spacecraft – the odd-looking airplane with super-long wings that “successfully completed the first non-stop around-the-world flight without refueling.” No? Go look it up!

As a huge aerospace nerd and pilot myself, I had been a Burt Rutan fan before the days of Voyager. Even as a young kid I was well aware of Burt’s forward-leaning aircraft designs like the VariEze , Quickie , Boomerang , and Beechcraft Starship . So, you can imagine my excitement when I got a job offer from Scaled! I was on my way to fulfill a “boyhood-dream” of working on the next Rutan aircraft!

Well, not quite…

On the first day of the job I was pulled into a meeting with Burt where he fully disclosed what he had been planning for over a decade. He told me that I would be working with a group of test pilots and aeronautical engineers to create custom spacecraft avionics and flight simulation systems for WhiteKnightOne and SpaceShipOne !

In short, the experience working with Burt Rutan and the “Tier One” team was… absolutely mind-blowing! It was an huge honor to be a part of Rutan’s vision and to help win the Ansari X Prize competition. Pioneers like Burt spurred my love for aerospace and flight since I was kid – they were the catalyst for me to solo in a sailplane at the age of 14, and the reason why I am building my own airplane today!

“It remains in my mind a feat of such unlikely odds that in two-and-a-half years, the program developed and tested a mothership, rocket motor, avionics, simulator and a spaceship that went into that black sky on three of its six powered flights. And Burt was at the helm of all of it."

– Brian Binnie, SpaceShipOne test pilot

Thinking outside the box…

Fortunately, the interesting projects didn’t stop coming…

I went on to work with DARPA and other DoD organizations on exciting research projects focused on topics like advanced simulation, cyber-warfare, and artificial intelligence. I have held the role of technical leader, researcher, and manager – Technical Director, Research Director and Principal Investigator, respectively. My most recent work led to the development and successful transition of a cyber command and control (C2) platform currently used DoD-wide to protect our country’s “crown jewels” from nation-state cyber threats.

Another realm of learning…

Presently, I’m involved in a venture that is a bit outside my comfort zone, but still a topic of great interest to me – neuroscience. I am now working with a group of world-class, super-smart people at Optios, creating bleeding-edge “neuro-feedback” applications that enhance and optimize the original “software” – the brain.

Please go to my Portfolio page to learn more.

My current resume can be found here .