I grew up in rural New Jersey sending most of my free-time doing two things. Running around in the woods and playing with computers
My father was an early adopter of computers. While fascinated with their potential, he lacked the time to really apply them to his work. That became my summer job when I was in high-school.
This was the early 80's and there were still casette drives and, if you were wealthy and/or fortunate, an 8" floppy disk drive that held 160kb of data. When IBM released the first PC with a hard drive holding 10MB of data everyone was blown away. How would you ever fill all that space? Today my phone holds over a thousand times as much and I am always trying to find things to delete off it so I can add more things.
At this time there was not much you could do with a computer without programing, so I learned to program. When I was a senior in high school I sold my first software to PC Disk magazine, a flash card program I had written to help my dad study for his 747 certification.
I spent the next several years after high-school working for my father in various businesses, developing database management systems. At the same time I was feeling a strong pull towards the other passion of my early life: Running around in the woods.
After six years I decided to go to college to study wildlife biology. I chose to go to Montana State University because it seemed to have more woods to run around in than anywhere else. It wasn't long before I learned that the new hot thing in ecology was GIS. Geographic Information Systems. Computerized mapping. This seemed like a good way to combine my computer skills with running around in the woods and so I enrolled in the minor program in GIS and Spatial Analysis.
I continued combin ing both work and academic studies in wildlife ecology with running around in the woods for the next decade until my professional and personal lives collided violently when I was three years into a PhD program at Purdue Univerity and I walked away from academia.
I ended up returning to the Rocky Mountains and working for environmental consulting firms where I got to apply my GIS skills (and a little biology) towards conservation in an area with lots of woods to run around in.
Over the years I have had an increasing interest in traveling in Latin America and in supporting conservation efforts there. Conservation groups in developing countries have a great need for the type of work I do but often have insufficient funding to compete with developing countries for computer geeks. My long-term goal with this venture is to be able to fund myself to assist these groups with GIS and web develpment needs.