I grew up in a small town in the middle of the corn and soybean fields of central Iowa. That small town had a total population of about 250 residents and combined with four other small towns to make up the public school district that I attended.
My family is a combination of northwest Iowa farmers and western South Dakota ranchers. What I learned the most from my family is the value of working hard and getting things done.
I played football, basketball, wrestled for a couple of years, and ran track. I also played trumpet in the marching, pep, jazz, and concert bands.
Just before I graduated high school, I set my course to enlist in the United States Air Force. This was an exciting decision and one that caught my parents off guard. I think they thought I would be heading off to college.
In 1988, I took the oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America and began a 10-year journey that has formed much of who I am today.
I was trained as an aircraft maintenance technician which in the Air Force is known as a crew chief and absolutely loved that job.
As a crew chief, I maintained, serviced, and inspected aircraft and support equipment. Used technical data to diagnose and solve maintenance problems on C-130 aircraft systems.
Troubleshot and maintain aircraft structures, systems, and components. Tested and repaired components using mockups and test equipment. Adjusted, aligned, rigged, and calibrated aircraft systems. Performed engine run-up. Jacked, towed, and serviced aircraft.
My crew and I were responsible to inspect aircraft structures, systems, components, and support equipment. Supervised and performed aircraft and component inspections. Interpreted inspection findings and determine the adequacy of corrective actions. Inspected and checked components for clearances, tolerances, proper installation, and operation. Inspected and operated powered and non-powered aerospace ground equipment. Inspected and identified aircraft corrosion for prevention and correction. Reviewed maintenance forms, aircraft records, and reports to ensure complete documentation. Inventoried and maintained alternate mission equipment.
I also performed expediter, dedicated crew chief, and other special maintenance functions. Coordinated maintenance plans to meet operational commitments. Supervised and assisted in launching and recovering aircraft. Reviewed maintenance data collection summaries to determine trends and production effectiveness. Performed staff and supervisory management functions.
In 1994 I was awarded several awards for my work including the Maintenance Professional of the Year and Airman of the Year.
I was stationed initially at RAF Woodbridge in the United Kingdom and then at Davis-Monthan AFB here in Tucson. I've been to Iceland, Germany, Norway, Italy, Turkey, Scotland, Wales, Crete, Sicily, and Canada during my service.
While serving in the military I was highly encouraged by my last two supervisors to go to college. The University of Phoenix was the only college at the time that offered classes at times I could attend. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Business/Information Systems and a few years later earned a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis on Adult Education and Distance Learning.
After my discharge from the Air Force, I went on to work in automotive sales, software sales, pension administration, software support, and mortgage lending. I even tried my hand for a few years as a licensed REALTOR® from 2016-2020.
None of these "stops" were fulfilling. I couldn't see myself as a professional of the type of businesses they were. Instead, I always saw myself as an efficient problem-solver, troubleshooter, and fixer like I was in the Air Force.
My freelance career began with website design in 2007 when I formed my LLC. I eventually took on more digital marketing work. Besides website design, I also ran email and social media campaigns, created book covers, helped authors format their books for publication, created graphics, and videos, etc.
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