My Work Story
For well over 20 years, I have worked in Information Technology in various capacities. From my role starting as a Computer System Specialist in the United States Marine Corps to my current duties as a Software Engineer. I have just rebuilt the internal and external websites at the Public Employees Retirement System of Idaho. I have made invaluable connections and advanced my tech skills significantly with every new role. For me, computers have always been a passion. When I joined this field in the Marines back in 1994, it felt like I had finally found my calling and professional purpose.
Throughout my career, I have been proud to say that my work as an IT professional has been more than just keeping data systems secure and updates seamless, but it has also brought people together and solved their biggest challenges. In my role in the Marine Corps, I was responsible for ensuring that the PCs that keep our nation safe were up to date and operational. Starting as a Computer System Specialist, I worked my way up and eventually become Data Chief and Network Administrator. Before finishing my military career I was a Computer System Specialist Course Instructor to teach the next generation of IT Specialists.
After the Marines, I took a job with North Dakota State University as a LAN Administrator before moving to Boise, Idaho, where I went on to work for the internationally-known HP as a Phone Tech Support Specialist. I have extensive experience in tech support and possess the technical ability, and knowledge, necessary to help even the most frustrated people find a solution to their tech problems. Currently, I work in a hybrid role as Software Engineer (SDET) and IT Systems Integration Analyst.
Continuing education and certifications are crucial for being successful in IT. Because of this, I have worked tirelessly to remain up to date with the latest in the industry. I am certified in Network+, Ranorex Test Automation, and about 60 other IT certifications. I received my Associates in Networking in 2005 and Bachelor’s in Software and Mobile Application Development in 2016.
My Personal Story
I was born in Fargo, ND, and grew up near the small town of Horace, ND. I spent most of my childhood outside playing baseball, kickball, or running around in the woods behind our house with my younger brother and neighborhood friends. I enjoyed climbing trees and playing in the sandbox with our Star Wars toys.
Winters are brutal in North Dakota, so we were often on our snowmobiles or building snow forts on either side of the driveway. When the weather was incredibly unpleasant we were inside playing on the Atari, Nintendo, or with LEGOs. There were times we would try building robots out of scrap parts in our dad’s workshop as well.
Most of our summers were spent at our grandparents’ lake cabins on Pelican Lake, MN. Conveniently enough, both of our mom’s and dad’s parents had cabins on the same lake. We would swim, water ski, or just play in the sand on warm summer days.
Right before middle school, my parents got divorced. My brother and I moved with our mom to West Fargo, ND. We would split our time between our mom and dad for the remainder of our schooling. Starting in middle school I participated in band and art classes. Since I enjoyed art, I continued with art classes throughout the rest of high school. My weekends were mainly spent playing Nintendo or with some friends playing Dungeons & Dragons.
Towards the end of high school I took some small engine repair classes and worked at the local Menards (basically a Home Depot for anyone that has not heard of Menards). Outside of that, I did not know what I wanted to do once I finished high school, but I knew for sure I did NOT want to go to college. In my senior year of high school, I ended up making a sudden decision to join the Marines. Funny thing is, after getting out of the Marines, I ended up going to college not only once, but twice.
When signing up to join the Marines I had to pick a career path. All I really knew from high school was art and small engine repair. My mom highly encouraged me to sign up as a “computer person” because “computers were supposed to become some big thing”. My brother was into computers in high school and I did not want anything to do with them. Well, nothing to do with computers outside of playing Oregon Trail and Where In North Dakota is Carmen Sandiego on the Apple IIe. Taking my mom’s advice, I decided to join as a ‘Computer System Specialist’ with the United States Marine Corps.
People would always ask, “why the Marines?”. In my mind it was pretty straightforward; If I was going to do the military thing I might as well pick the hardest and do it right. The only other family member that served in the military was my paternal grandpa, in the Army, during World War II.
During my last few years of high school, I was always looking for some way to make money without having to have a ‘normal job’. Anything from Don Lapre’s ‘Tiny Classified Ads’ commercials back in the ’90s to just about anything else I could find. That also kept me busy in my free time during my eight years in the Marine Corps. I just could never find anything that worked.
I was in Boston for some final Marine training classes when I ran into a guy who introduced me to a way to make some extra income. The ‘new company’ he introduced me to was called Quixtar. Later I found out this was actually Amway trying to move to an online company while doing a re-branding for themselves. After Quixtar had a successful launch they ended up going back to their original name, Amway.
During my last couple years of the Marines I was stationed in California. This is where I got started with Amway and direct selling. In order to learn and grow professionally, I read over 200 books and listened to over 100 audiobooks on the topics of leadership, self-help, and personal growth. After being honorably discharged from the Marines, I moved back to North Dakota and went full steam into this direct selling thing. I also met my wife after moving back and got married after a couple of years. She joined Amway with me, but we only managed to make a few hundred dollars a month.
We reached a point of being tired of the cold in North Dakota and decided to move somewhere else, we just did not know where. My mom and brother moved to Boise when I went into the Marines in the mid ’90s. My wife’s sister also lived in the area. We took a vacation to Boise since my wife had never been there and to see our families. She really enjoyed the area and we eventually decided to move to Idaho.
Shortly after moving to Boise, ID, I gave up on the Amway plan and started looking into this new thing called ‘Online Marketing’. Finding the likes of Frank Kern, the StomperNet crew, and later Russel Brunson, I was soaking up all I could possibly learn about this new Online Marketing thing.
Unrelated to all of this, I also ended up getting divorced shortly after moving to Boise. I sort of fell into a black hole at this time. A lot went wrong, I was depressed, and things were just a mess for me. I had taken a break from listening to or reading, anything for a few years. When I finally started to climb out of my hole, I was listening to a TON of podcasts and YouTube videos on tech-related things. I started to find more podcasts on all kinds of topics that interested me, and I got back into audiobooks. I stopped keeping track, but between YouTube tech videos and all the podcasts, I think I was very close to 1,000 hours. Having a two-hour commute every day really helped to get through audiobooks.
Fast forward through the next eight years of shiny object syndrome, and I was doing just about the same as Amway, only a few hundred dollars a month.
P.S. The Internet is STUFFED full of people trying to sell you their course, or mastermind, or product on ‘How To Make Money Online’.
P.S.S. 99% of it is pure and utter crap. I have an entire hard drive stuffed full of courses and products to prove that fact.
Although I did learn a ton about marketing online, I found out that most courses or products people are selling ‘To Make Money Online’ do not work. The online thing that seems to really work is by being the one selling the courses to the people looking to make money online.
I finally gave up on all that and decided to just start building websites. It was the one thing I really knew how to do. So, I started making site after site, but not really sure why they were not getting much traffic. I then started searching online to see what was new in the world of blogging and making money online. Come to find out, not much has changed, just the same old courses on SEO and Blogging.
Then I came across a video called ‘Link Building Is Useless. Do This Instead’. I thought to myself, well that certainly is different than what everyone else teaches, and the one thing I have learned over the years is to observe the masses and do the opposite. That video was part of a channel called Income School with Jim and Ricky.
I then spent about six months watching all of Income School’s YouTube videos and reading all the free stuff they had to offer. They also offered a course on how to make money blogging. Yay, he said sarcastically. Another course on how to make money online. BUT… As I found out, they were doing everything (well, mostly everything) different than what everyone else was teaching. I figured if they were doing things a bit different than the masses, their course would be worth it.
That brings us up to date. I currently have about 20 sites that I am actively building. Income School has a certain way they build and structure their sites, so I am trying to get all of my sites to conform to that standard. I know it will be a long process to get these sites cleaned up how I want them, but it will be worth it in the end. I am already making some money and it will just go up from there.
I hope my story has inspired or helped you in some way. Project 24 is not about getting rich fast, the ’24’ stands for 24 months. This is a 24-month step-by-step plan to make a very decent side income. You will find out very quickly that we are a close-knit community, and there are many that are already making over $1,000/mo in less than a year.