I was born in Boston, Massachusetts to parents who worked in the fields of South Georgia. They got married, moved to Boston and raised two boys in hopes to offer them a better life. I always wanted to know how things worked like TVs, Radios and my toys; took them apart and sometimes could put them back together. I was shy and found it difficult sometimes to fit in, because I had a huge imagination. I enjoyed science fiction and super heroes. You would always find me in front of the TV on Saturday mornings watching the Super Friends and up late in the evening watching shows like Star Trek, Space 1999 and Battlestar Galactica. Science kept me fascinated about this awesome world I lived in and offered me an escape. But growing up in poverty and with a father who could not read or write; he was forced to work on farms to help feed his brothers and sisters, a mother who was in the beginning stages of schizophrenia and with me being born with Sickle Cell Anemia would make me face the reality of pain and hardship every day. Despite these challenges my parents raised my brother and I with lots of love and always told us that hard work would give us a better life. I grew up fixing things for my friends and broken items around the house. I thrived in middle and high school shop classes that offered exploratory careers in carpentry, machining and electrical/ electronics. But in 1984 I had a teacher named William McGuire who was working on a Master’s Thesis to prove that you could teach urban high school students college programming. I was part of only a handful of students who were interested in his course; he changed the trajectory of my life. Mr. McGuire challenged me, he pushed me, and he constantly told me that I can do this. I was an inner city youth writing code before writing code was cool in the 80s; programming languages: BASIC and Turbo Pascal. I still remember the problem he gave to us, where we had to write a program that initiated the countdown sequence to launch the space shuttle. It was the most challenging thing I ever worked on. We learned team work and successfully designed the program to Mr. McGuire's problem.
Mr. McGuire succeeded in building my confidence, so much so that I had the audacity to go to college and earn a BS degree in Electronic Engineering. Mr. McGuire was an integral facet of my life. He was an inspiring mentor to me. As a result of what this teacher exposed me to, I have been able to work with scientists who have items they made that were left on the moon, scientists who researched and developed the energy system for the Voyager satellite space program, successfully implemented a computer network and data center for an online start-up, designing engineering drawings for a biomedical company. Now I provide cybersecurity for one of the largest financial institutions in America. In addition, I learned from Mr. McGuire how to give back to my community. Since 2001 I have had a parallel career as a community activist who has helped underrepresented minorities pursue careers in technology. Currently I am the Chief Information Officer for the National Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) and board member for CompTIA's Creating IT Futures Foundation. Mr. McGuire's innovative learning environment has paid off and keeps giving. I have been able to help mentor and influence hundreds of individuals pursue careers in IT. Additionally, as a positive influence to my younger brother he obtained a degree in Computer Science and works for an Ivy league college as a technologist; he told me that he had to keep up and could not let big brother out do him. Giving back has been rewarding to me on so many levels.
I feel that this is my life's purpose. It’s easy to be kind to others when you know pain and hardship.