Computer Scientist? Musician? Broadcaster?
You tell me! Although I have a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Vanderbilt University, “Computer Scientist” is just one of the attributes that comes to mind when I try to describe myself. I’m either what you would call “multi-talented” or “terribly unfocused” – and regardless of which way you see it, the fact is that I’ve got many diverse interests that I’m always finding ways to relate to each other, which is why I refer to myself as a “synergistic cross-domain problem solver.”
Here’s a list of those areas where I tend to put the majority of my effort and time. If you figure out the best way to describe it, let me know!
- IT Industry Analyst at Gartner Inc. – I’m currently a Vice President Analyst at the world’s most well-known and highly respected research organization – Gartner – where I cover cloud computing in general, but specialize in cloud managed service providers, platform as a service in the CMSP context, and cloud cost management. I’ve always thought I’d make a good analyst, given my background in academic research, writing, speaking, and then my 15 years in the IT industry as technologist. At Gartner, I have the opportunity to do all of those things, as well as enjoy the halo the Gartner brand conveys. And did I mention my colleagues are some of the most brilliant people I’ve yet met?
- Dell Employee / Sr. Distinguished Engineer and Executive Director of Cloud Architecture – I was employed at Dell Inc. from May 2000 until October 2015, having been a Lead Engineer, Chief Security Architect, Sr. Engineering Manager, and a Technology Strategist. I even testified on the matter of cyber-security before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Dell’s behalf. My area of focus in my most recent role as a Sr. Distinguished Engineer and Chief Cloud Architect was “cloud computing” (specifically, the hybrid cloud deployment model I call “multicloud”), “platform as a service” (PaaS) delivery model, and “workload lifecycle management.” As often happens, Dell eliminated the organization in which I worked as part of preparing to merge with another company, but my interests continue.
- Writer and Speaker – The professor in me won’t die, so I still attempt to educate others through my writing or speaking engagements. Although now that I’m employed by Gartner and those opportunities are strictly governed by Gartner, I’m finding I have many more opportunities than ever before!
- Composer– I’ve got a good musical ear – I can hear and deconstruct music as naturally as walking, and I use this to perform “transcription” of musical pieces that we perform at Riverbend Church. I listen to a recording of the piece we want to recreate, determine chord progressions, lead lines, background vocals, etc., and then I create multiple charts using notation software called “Finale.” I’ve also written several original pieces for solo, ensemble, and choir, many as a team effort with other musicians.
- Singer – I am technically a baritone voice, but always sing tenor as part of the Riverbend Chorale and various ensembles. I’m known as the “pit viper” because I lead the group of 6 to 8 mic’d singers each week that augment the choir and sing the various background vocals for the solo spots. I’m also an alumnus member of The Austin Carolers – Austin’s only professional Christmas caroling band. We performed in malls, shopping centers, tree lighting ceremonies, and private parties between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. The original Austin Carolers retired after the 2018 Christmas Season, but a new group of Austin Carolers is continuing the band and its traditions. I substitute when they ask if I am available.
- Comedian – Or perhaps crazy person? I am known for the many character voices I’ve developed over the years, the majority based on members of my family. There’s Me Maw (my grandmother, which I developed as a radio bit in the 1990’s), Aunt Pug, Pe Paw (my grandfather) and the really weird ones like Scampering Hand and Joyce Up At the Church. You may not experience these alter-egos until I’m comfortable enough to share them with you.
Things that took up a lot of my time and energy in the past and have left indelible marks on my soul:
- Professor – I was an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Mississippi College from 1992 to 2000. I taught both graduate and undergraduate students, was the main person behind the rollout of the Internet on the campus, created it’s first web site, authored the first Acceptable Use Policy, and wrote many customized systems which today are commonplace. (Things like user provisioning and de-provisioning routines when students and faculty came or left the college, lab computer image management, and soon.)
- Radio Broadcaster– This was a huge part of my life from 1983 to around 2001. I’ve been on-air personality (DJ), program director, production director, remote broadcast engineer, remote broadcast talent, to name a few. My musical ear served me well in mixing music during a broadcast, or in creating commercials in the production studio. More about my radio background here.
- Small Business Owner – Jill McClure and I co-owned a small advertising agency and production company called “MediaSource of Mississippi.” We were a small business ad agency, as well as the company behind syndicated radio shows “Weekend Magazine with Jill McClure” and “Computers with Dr. Craig.”