I was born in Cordova, Alaska, a small fly-in/boat-in town of 2500-3500 people depending on the season. At an early age, I had an ever-growing interest in anything web related which fairly quickly, accrued into a passion.
Once graduating highschool, I moved down to Southern Oregon to continue my education in the Pacific Northwest and enjoy my other passion – the great outdoors. Here I attended Southern Oregon University where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and a Minor in Business Administration.
After college, I was hired as a web designer/developer for a small web company called WebMastery, LLC. It was here that I was provided with the opportunity to develop projects starting as napkin scribbles to fully functional applications. This included skills such as wireframing, visual design, front-end template design, back-end programming, database design, search engine optimization, and hosting; I was able to do it all. Working here gave me a holistic understanding of how all parts of web development fit together. This was essential for many creative ideas to become a reality; knowing what was and was not possible.
After WebMastery, I started working as a web designer for Musician’s Friend, Inc., the largest online and catalog retailer for musical instruments in the world. At the time, we only supported 2 sites, Musician’s Friend and Giardinelli. By the time I had moved on, my team supported 5 ecommerce sites and 1 musician community site listed below.
- WWBW.com (Woodwind & Brasswind)
Over the past 7.5 years I moved from Web Designer, to Sr. User Experience Designer, to Manager of User Experience Design, to Director of User Experience. As Musician’s Friend grew over the years in size, currently a top 50 internet retailer doing $500 million a year, so did the need to focus more on the customer. The enthusiasm for understanding why people do what they do was something that enabled me to build out a User Experience group.
In September of 2006 I started my own web development company on the side called Ridgeline Media specializing in site template design and development, search engine optimization, and user experience website evaluation. Web properties were developed using Ruby on Rails as it provided an extremely rapid development cycle resulting in quick turn and fit my needs for simple, clean solutions.
In July 2011 I had the opportunity to join the retail customer experience team at Amazon.com as a Sr. User Experience Designer with a primary focus of leading the UX design for the physical item detail page. This allowed me to once again focus on the design side and get my hands dirty; the area that I absolutely love, but was unable to do as much as I had liked as a Director.
All in all, I love family, web technologies, home-brewing, and the outdoors. If I get those, I’m a happy man!