How has the computer industry changed since you started your career?

I first started getting interested in computers in high school, when the first IBM PCs and Apple II home computers were becoming popular. I spent hours after school, playing with their single computer, and after a few months, I was teaching the computer instructor. Back then, I dreamed of someday owning my own computer. Now, every member of my family has a computer, and I even have a computer that fits in the palm of my hand!

What have been your three greatest business successes to date?

My greatest success has been the finding of my wife. She is a treasure. Business-wise, though, I am most proud of taking the initiative to almost single-handedly develop a Windows-based version of one of my company's most popular DOS-based programs, which opened up a whole new market. Also, I enjoyed the challenge of successfully developing and teaching a fully-accredited online astronomy course from scratch for a community college where I was employed.

Finally, I remember a time when a student came into my office complaining that his USB Flash Drive wasn't working and he had his entire semester's work saved on it. I was able to open up the drive, discovered a loose connection, and resoldered it in place. The flash drive then began working normally and all the student's data was safe.

What was the best piece of business advice you ever received?

It sounds so cliche in today's world, but I've found that "the customer is always right" holds true most of the time. We may have years of training and experience, but ultimately, it is the customer who signs our paycheck. Listening to their needs and solving their problems in a way that benefits them the most is usually the best path. There's no substitute for repeat customers and word-of-mouth advertising.

What do you like to do for relaxation?

Mostly, I enjoy spending time with my wife. I also love amateur astronomy and reading or watching science-fiction. I enjoy singing bass, and have been in several choirs and even a barbershop quartet at one time.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

For the longest time, I was torn between becoming a paleontologist and an astronaut (that must be where my love of science fiction and astronomy comes in). Right before my Freshman year, my high school got an Apple II computer to use for teaching. I was in the first class that used it, and I found I enjoyed it immensely. Soon, I was teaching the teacher new things on the computer, and I knew I had found my career.

What would a coworker say about you?

I think most people would say that I was honest, eager to help, and able to critically think to diagnose computer problems.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In the IT world, a lot can happen in five years. I am not sure what my job title will be, but I know that I will be helping people solve computer problems, whether it be software or hardware issues. I enjoy the mental challenges of creating a new program, developing a website, or successfully tracking down and fixing an annoying hardware issue.