UWF degree and year of graduation
BS Electrical Engineering, ’98
As you look back at your days at UWF, describe your best memory.
I really enjoyed being the chair of the student chapter of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. We were able to help many students by offering tutoring, extended computer lab hours and discounts on the basic materials that you have to have as part of the engineering curriculum. In general, I enjoyed being challenged throughout the program. It was a tough program and getting through it on my own is certainly one of the most memorable events of my life. I vividly remember the advice I received from several great professors including Rashid Manseur, Doug Jordan and Glenn Heitman – they challenged me daily.
As you reflect, did your education at UWF have an impact on where you are today? Absolutely. The education itself is invaluable in my daily work. However, a school like UWF forces one to learn discipline. You either discipline yourself or you just don’t make it through the program. That trait has been just as important, if not more important, than my education in my life. In addition, the contacts that I made through the university have continued to support me in my multifaceted career even today.
Describe what you do/did professionally, including the type of company you work for.
After graduation, I became an embedded hardware and software developer specializing in avionics electronics redesign at Manufacturing Technology, Inc., located in Fort Walton Beach. In 2003, I helped redesign an ambulatory activity monitoring device that MTI had acquired to help reduce manufacturing costs and improve performance. That division of MTI spun off in 2004 as a separate company – ActiGraph, LLC. I still work for ActiGraph as their director of software engineering. We specialize in developing software and hardware that accurately estimates human caloric energy expenditure when used properly. We sell many of our devices to research institutions and universities that use them in obesity studies all over the world. A couple of new markets have emerged recently in the sleep apnea world, as well as in the commercial side. We now offer a commercial version of our device to help people improve their health (called the ActiTrainer).
What advice would you give students today who were looking at studying one of the disciplines in the School of Science and Engineering?
Get involved with the community, the school, national and local organizations and clubs that interest you. The value of networking is probably the most underrated element of one’s career. There’s a lot to that old saying “it’s who you know.” Regarding your studies, spend time focusing on and understanding the concepts you learn in the science and engineering fields. They sure come in handy during interviews and while on the job. A good professor told me once, “don’t reinvent the wheel – if it’s already been done once, use that knowledge and build on it.”
Last, would you share one thing about yourself that would give others insight into your interests, hobbies, etc.?
I hardly have a down moment – I’m actively involved in several volunteer positions with UWF, IEEE and Pensacola in general. My family and I own and operate the Farmers’ Opry in Chumuckla where I perform with the Sawmill Band weekly (I play guitar, sing and emcee). I also love Web design, which is convenient since I do it for a living. When I have a free moment, I love to ride bikes with my wife and workout. I’m an MBA student at the UWF, so ‘free moments’ are rare, but I take advantage of them every chance I get. I am an avid water-skier and recently bought a boat to support that habit.