I’ve spent time in a number of different fields, most of which have nothing to do with the others.
Here are a few highlights of the various things I’ve done over the years.
Reserve Police Officer/Deputy Sheriff
I had 14 years of service with the local police department as a young adult. I was a police dispatcher for five years and worked as a reserve police officer for 9 years. My father had joined the police department when I was in high school and I admired the camaraderie that I saw when I rode with him occasionally. Much of my early adult life was spent working for the department and I think it greatly shaped who I am today.
I made a number of lifelong friends while I worked for the Sheriff’s Office and also secured a number of valuable professional connections. Many of the folks who were newly entering the department when I came out of the academy are in senior leadership roles or even approaching retirement at this point.
I spent several years as a resident DJ at a local night club here in Jacksonville called The Metro. I had a roommate who was a bartender there and I was fascinated by the white label remixes that I kept hearing the DJ play. Eventually, I managed to get a job as a light engineer and learned how to program the light panel. As I worked closer with the DJ at the club, I learned to spin and eventually started working the turntables instead of just the lights. Being in a club six nights a week for a few years will certainly take out of you any urge to go to bars or clubs, but I frequently miss being in the DJ booth on a crowded Saturday night.
I had a few opportunities to meet some interesting people during this time. I worked a party that Faith Hill and Tim McGraw were throwing for Tim’s younger brother who was about to get married. I met Taylor Dane before a live show she performed at my club. It was definitely an exciting lifestyle, albeit an exhausting one.
When I went away to college in 1996, I had been learning how to write HTML — which at the time had only been a formal mark-up specification for about three months — and I volunteered to help the webmaster at my school. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the webmaster was actually an IT director who had no real interest in working on the school’s web site, so this worked out well for both of us. I learned a ton about HTML over the following two years and matured the school’s web site from one that was a grey and black static page to one that was colorful and interactive. A few other achievements during my time there:
- Created the first online application at the school to allow students to being the application process through the web site,
- Created the first live feed of the commencement ceremony in 1997 by creating a web cam page with a five-second refresh rate,
- Developed a home page for the school’s newspaper, The Dickinsonian, and served as its first online editor, and
- Taught various levels of web design to the school community (open to students, faculty and staff) for a year and then ran a College-owned company that offered these classes on a regular cycle.
USAT Race Official
After I took up running marathons in 2008 (I did this after quitting smoking for a while) and eventually grew bored with them, I focused my interest on the sport of triathlon. I was competing regularly as an athlete but wanted to find other ways to be involved with the sport. I completed certification as a USA Triathlon race official in 2009 and progressed through the ranks from Category 5 to a Category 2 race official.
I served as the Head Referee for many triathlons in the Florida region until realizing that I had grown distant enough with the sport (mostly due to work) that I no longer had the patience to get up early on weekend mornings to go officiate races.