Before joining O’Dowd, I spent over 15 years working at amazing companies like Unisys, IBM, and Oracle as a software developer and product manager. I also joined some startup companies, like Netscape, where I worked with some incredible people, including Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina who created the graphical internet browser called Mosaic (which went on to become Netscape Navigator) and popularized the World Wide Web. These opportunities would not have been possible without the guidance and care of extraordinary high school teachers who inspired me to study math and computer science in college. I always knew that I wanted my work to have this kind of impact. When the last startup company I worked for was acquired, I decided this was my chance to go into teaching. When one door closes, another opens.
What is your position here and how long have you worked at O’Dowd?
I’m the Director of Information Technology and have an amazing team. I also teach Honors Geometry which I absolutely adore. I’ve worked at O’Dowd for 17 years.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
When I was young, my father taught me to think of my savings as an expense, in other words pay myself like I would pay a phone bill or a mortgage. It’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever received.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Albert Einstein once said “I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide conditions in which they can learn.” My favorite thing about my job is the creativity involved in developing these conditions. It’s challenging to be sure, but when you create that environment where learning is occurring, it is truly magical. Oh, and the students are very special too!
What about your field or position do you think would surprise people the most?
People would be surprised that I got a C minus in my high school geometry class.
What is the most interesting or surprising thing about you?
After I left the tech industry I took a year off and traveled around the world. Literally, “around the world.” United Airlines has a Round the World fare which is valid for 12 months after your first departure. This was an astonishing and life-changing experience. It opened my eyes to the incredible richness and diversity of humanity and made me realize that we have much more in common than we have differences. We are all one people.
If you could rescue only one thing from your burning office, what would it be?
My smartphone so I could post a picture of my burning office on Instagram.
What is your favorite kind of music/what are your favorite bands?
My favorite kind of music is played by jam bands. The Grateful Dead began this style of music which is characterized by long improvisations, much like jazz which I also love. Needless to say, I followed the Grateful Dead around the country when they performed. Other favorite bands include the Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, Santana, The Radiators, and Railroad Earth. My favorite jazz artists are Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, and Thelonious Monk.
What is your favorite sports team or who is your favorite individual athlete?
I’m a Warriors fan. It’s exciting to watch the splash brothers when they’re on their game and KD is not so bad either. And winning is always fun. Arthur Ashe is my favorite individual athlete. Ashe was the first black player selected to the US Davis Cup team and the only black man to win the singles titles at Wimbledon, US Open, and Australian Open. His accomplishments in the midst of a very challenging social climate is an inspiration.