Feel free to check out my LinkedIn profile
— since it's more or less the modern resume — to get a better idea of what I'm like as an employee: energetic, committed, and dedicated to my craft, whatever it might be.
To provide a little more background, I've had a pretty interesting career thus far, starting with my schooling at Valley Grande Academy
. Through the work-study program, I had placements in a nursing home, a doctor's office, and the school's secretarial pool while I earned my high school diploma. This early exposure to the working world was an education in and of itself.
All my initial post-secondary plans changed when I received a scholarship to pursue a vocal performance degree at Southern Adventist University
. After a year, I opted to minor in music instead, keeping my knowledge and credits, and switched to a business major, where I focused on long-term care administration.
LEARNING SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR
As I pursued my degree, I began a co-op job that turned into a full-time position working for Southern's Online Campus initiative. In its early days, I was the administrator for the school's WebCT install, where I did everything from system maintenance and upgrades to user support. Though I enjoyed the technical challenges, I was extremely interested in why and how online learning was developed.
Thanks to the support and encouragement of my boss, I eventually moved into a role as a multimedia designer, assisting the Educational Technology Services team by building graphics, demos, and other interactive pieces in Photoshop, Fireworks, Flash, RoboDemo, and Authorware, and creating course shells in HTML and CSS using HomeSite. I also started working directly with professors in converting their course material for online delivery.
With school coming to a close, I took a job at Olan Mills just as the company made the shift from film to digital. This necessitated a significant amount of training and documentation for the Field Support group, where I maintained existing content and developed new materials to support software, hardware, and business processes. For over a year, I contributed to the company's change-management plans, acting as the lone instructional strategist for the massive undertaking.
During my time in this role, I devised and implemented a knowledgebase and learning management system using Dreamweaver that I championed within the company. This was a big win for me, and it received a huge amount of positive feedback from end users. As a result, company-wide adoption of the platform was set as one of the overall strategies for the following fiscal year.
I started out writing for Opposable Thumbs
, the gaming blog at Ars Technica
, but then I wrote up a style guide and became the copy editor instead. During my tenure, I read just about everything published on the site — which ran the gamut from 150-word blog posts to 26,000-word OS reviews — for completeness and accuracy. I used HTML and CSS to edit and format content in the site's custom content management system.
Though editing kept me fairly busy, I made time to publish articles and product reviews as well. In addition to writing and editing, I also shot photos and video to support the articles that Jonathan wrote. The acquisition by Condé Nast means you can also see some of my work
Leveraging my experience in knowledge management, I started a job doing course development at Exstream Software
(now HP Exstream). This was my first taste of the enterprise software industry, and I found myself dabbling in both software development and product management for the company's suite of documentation management products.
Here I worked closely with technical writers and subject matter experts to create a classroom-based curriculum to support a major update to the platform. The student and instructor guides were laid out using InDesign, with graphics and illustrations created in Photoshop and Illustrator and presentations in PowerPoint. Although I had spent a significant amount of time designing for the Web, I relished the challenge of designing for print, and to this day, I'm proud of the results.
With encouragement from my colleagues, I became a member of the Society for Technical Communication
, and though distance made attending the Cincinnati chapter
meetings a challenge, I learned a lot about communicating effectively on specialized and technical topics.
When I got the opportunity to help rebrand the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
, I was fortunate to work with a team that valued the user experience and visual experience. A new site was built using Microsoft's Content Management System, and I crafted a content strategy that established an online voice for the organization and raised awareness of its initiatives.
With the rebranding done, I then became a system administrator on the learning management systems (LMS) team, where we supported over 80,000 users on the state's ANGEL
install. I also participated in the working group to draft an RFP for a new LMS, and when Blackboard
was selected as the vendor, it was my team that spearheaded the transition.
I had accepted the odd gig here and there (and still do), but it was around this time that I formally incorporated. This allowed me to accept larger projects and hire contract staff. The bulk of my work centered around training and documentation for a wide variety of industries and clients, including:
- TD Bank
- U.S. Department of Education
- Logistics Management Institute
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Valvoline (Ashland Industries)
- DePuy Orthopaedics (Johnson & Johnson)
- Cardinal Health
- Goldman Sachs
- Weill Cornell School of Medicine (Cornell University)
- Shaw Industries
Thanks to this experience, I was finally able to define why I love what I do.
Good training changes people's lives.
Bad training just puts them to sleep.
HUMAN CAPITAL CONSULTANT
I was brought on to Valvoline's Talent Management group via Haverstick Consulting (acquired by Kratos Defense and Security
). As the lead instructional designer in charge of the Do It For Me business line, I was able to take a more active role in shaping the company's customer-service offerings. I incorporated new strategies like gamification and incentive-based learning into courses and training modules using Lectora, Captivate, and Presenter.
During my stint, I produced an analysis of Valvoline's onboarding process and paired it with internal research on employee career paths. The findings showed a need for more effective talent management, and that work formed the basis for the company's award-winning
succession and career management curriculum.
INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGNER, REDUX
Now with more experience developing enterprise software training, I joined Freddie Mac's Multifamily division as a senior instructional designer on the Origination and Underwriting Systems rollout. Initially, I worked on creating role-based training using Lectora, but as development on the platform fell behind, I put my varied background to good use as I helped teams of developers, designers, and testers meet their deadlines.
In effect, I became a business analyst, defining scope and priorities, detailing requirements, and prototyping user interfaces, all while tracking progress and managing change. I had previously applied the ADDIE instructional design model
to project management, and I found it to be a natural fit with Agile software development. We relied on Rational Requisite Pro and DOORS to manage requirements, but we also used Excel, Word, and PowerPoint to get the job done.
It was only natural to combine my experience and expertise by joining K12
's Enterprise & Learning Systems group as a senior analyst, where I started out writing project vision documents, product briefs, and functional specifications for the online learning systems platform. I also produced analysis and diagnosis of the competition to inform overall strategy and development. Although we started out using Word, we eventually switched to JIRA and Confluence.
After a year of diligent work championing best practices in the BA group, I was selected to join a Scrum team as the department began its Agile adoption. With a more active role in shaping the product, I continued to function as a business analyst while also serving as a deputy product owner and Scrum master. My previous experience as an entrepreneur enabled me to understand both the requirements and demands of the project while ensuring its successful initiation, planning, and execution.
AND NOW ...
I continue to keep up with what's new in educational technology, and I've been learning (and practicing) all that I can about product management and scaling Agile. I've also begun tinkering with HTML and CSS again, and I'm delving into Python and JQuery.
I'm always open to the next challenge, and if you have an opportunity you think I'd be a good fit for, don't hesitate to get in touch