I’m a Craig Newmark Veteran Scholar at GCA. I’m working as a project manager on a new and exciting platform that GCA is creating. I was lucky enough to hear of the opportunity from a friend who spoke very highly of the organization. The mission is great – secure the Internet from bad actors, in a nutshell. It’s pretty much the wild west still, and many vulnerable people are preyed upon. I’d like to be a part of the solution, stopping this type of action from happening.
Serving as an Engineer Officer in the U.S. Army and working in venture capital has opened my eyes to both threats and opportunities around this world. With every great opportunity, I know that unfortunately, bad actors will try to take advantage. Thinking like this and seeing it through the lens of new business formation, allows for thinking about potential threats and solutions to those threats. On the project management side, I’ve had quite a bit of experience in the military, more mission management, I’d say. The same fundamentals exist, just different vocabulary and tools.
What I like best about working at GCA is the people. Everyone within the organization brings a different skill set and world view. Many times, with such differences, a good amount of conflict can occur, but everyone discusses their ideas openly and people are respectful of one another – even if they disagree.
What is your favorite quote?
“Be Strong and Courageous, Don’t be Afraid or Discouraged”
Who inspires you?
Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower. Reading about his past, ups and downs in his military career and personal life, it is amazing to see how all of his experiences led him to be one of the most influential generals in history, and later the President of the United States.
What is the best meal you ever had?
Probably a Mediterranean meal I had when visiting Istanbul – the lamb, tomatoes, and cheese are just amazing.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
I’m a big fan of warm climates, so anywhere in the Mediterranean is amazing. Australia has its own cool flare. However, if I had to say anywhere – at this point in my life, it would be where I am right now – Austin, Texas.
What is the last book you read?
I generally find myself reading a couple at a time. I just completed “The Last Full Measure” by Jeff Shaara, and I’m in the process of reading “Talk Like Ted” by Carmine Gallo and “Born Fighting” by Jim Webb.
What is the greatest bit of advice a parent or mentor has given you?
The best advice I’ve always been given has generally come in the form of lessons – unspoken. I can remember one time when I was a teenager. I bought an old 1975 Bronco, and I spent much of the money I made at my job trying to fix it up. The starter would often go out, and one time I was under the truck taking it out. The problem with taking out the starter is it was held back and hard to remove from the engine block due to the exhaust manifold being in the way. It was even harder to put a new one in. So, here I was holding this 20lb starter above my head, trying to weave it between the engine block and exhaust manifold. As I was trying to force it in, rust, and dirt, and debris was falling all in my eyes and all over my face. With my arm being tired from holding the starter, sweating in the Texas summer heat of 100+ degrees, I just started cursing up a storm after about 20 minutes of failure. My dad called me into the garage to just sit with him and drink some cold water. After cooling off, both temperature wise and emotionally, I went under my truck and slipped the starter right in on the first try. I learned that in life, we can really wear ourselves thin. We can just try and try and try and keep failing.
Sometimes, we need to take a step back. It can seem counterintuitive, but sometimes we need to distance ourselves from the problem to see it from a different perspective.
What is on your bucket list?
Learn to fly small aircraft!
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Mountain biking, trail running, and dehydrating fruit and meats have become my most recent hobbies; also working with and helping mentor some of at-risk youth in the community.