Resume: Development Lead, Technical Communicator, Web Architect, and Programmer Analyst

I describe myself best as a “technical communicator”. I bridge the gap between the needs of a project and the execution of those needs. I help recognise goals, milestones, and challenges, and then work with the team to achieve them. (The more difficult the challenge, the more rewarding the experience.) My success comes from the team’s success.

I believe all titles come with responsibility, that there is honour in accountability, and that failure is an option if you’re willing to take a risk. I know that it is possible to work smarter, but nothing comes without the sweat of hard work. I believe in the goal, and that the path to the goal sometimes means challenge and discovery. A job is only as interesting as one chooses to make it.

Talents

A talent is something inherent to a person. It starts out raw, but through time and practice can grow to a powerful asset. I may not be an illustrator, but my work is still creative.

  • Technical documentation such as manuals, requirements documentation, process documentation (including diagrams)
  • System architecture, providing specifications from inputs to outputs and all points in-between
  • Finding simple solutions to unorthodox problems
  • Rendering inherently technical information into audience-specific language
  • Leading teams into difficult projects, giving them the confidence to excel

Experience

I believe that jobs should be interesting. I’ve had a number of interesting jobs, where I have learned not only employable skills, but also how to work well with employees.

I also offer a handy (and much more appealing) graphical version of this resume:

November 2011 – Present
Evans Hunt Group, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Solutions Lead

Continuing my work with the Evans Hunt Group, I’ve been both a strategic and tactical lead in the definition and delivery of a variety of projects. These have largely been technical in nature, though we always strive to look at the larger digital picture.

  • Worked with the client to translate business needs into technical requirements
  • Conducted CMS audit, identifying business process changes
  • Co-conducted intranet audit, investigating content organization and functional needs
  • Worked extensively with Drupal 6 and 7, building several sites including custom modules
  • Architected and developed a flat-file website template migration and synchronization system
  • Regularly engaged in project design and architecture, code design, and vendor integration
  • Operate as a direct client contact for several projects
  • Co-designed a spec-work database to manage 20,000+ members across multiple organizational levels
  • Assisted with script debugging and repairs, and site maintenance
  • Worked with the internal strategic, planning, and design teams to ensure best-practice and best-in-class delivery
  • Operated as release engineer to ensure deploy consistency over QA and Production environments
  • Standardized the creation and maintenance of client web servers
  • Configured production environment, including software stack, internal firewall, SMTP servers, and performance monitoring
  • Wrote release scripts and set up procedures for production deploys, with rollback protection
  • Regularly consult on new business projects
  • Projects included work for Agrium, Calgary Municipal Lands Corporation, Glad, Clorox, Alberta Treasury Branches, Brookfield, MEG Energy, Cookies by George, Alberta Family Wellness Initiative, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, Big Rock Brewery, WestJet, Encana, Alpine Canada, Calgary 2012, and Travelodge Canada

January 2010 – Present
Geeqee, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Technical Consultant

Geeqee launched very quietly at the beginning of 2010. This is a small consulting operation that I use for projects that interest me personally. Typically, these are where I bring my considerable experience in the industry to assist clients with issues such as CMS migration, development platform analysis, and technical direction.

January 2010 – July 2010
Evans Hunt Group, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Technical Architect / Sr. Developer

Evans Hunt presented the challenge: help create a new website to expand the reach of tourism in Calgary, and integrate an ecommerce solution. Aside from working with some of the best people I know in the local industry, the real appeal of the project was the opportunity of doing something for my local community, something that would have immediate beneficial return for those who live in my city.

  • Worked with the client to translate business needs into technical requirements
  • Installed and helped configure an Acquia Drupal platform
  • Coordinated custom-scripted inputs from both the client’s membership database, and the ecommerce vendor’s database
  • Assisted with script debugging and repairs
  • Recommended a hosting platform to best benefit potential visitors
  • Worked with the SEO consultant to set up correct search configuration and redirection for the new domain name
  • Operated as release engineer to ensure deploy consistency over QA and Production environments
  • Configured production environment, including software stack, internal firewall, SMTP servers, and performance monitoring
  • Wrote release scripts and set up procedures for production deploys, with rollback protection
  • Performed in-depth Digital Asset Management (DAM) research and recommendation
  • Wrote new layout for default IdeaScale.com theme
  • Consulted on new business projects
  • Projects included work for Tourism Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, Calgary Arts Development, Enmax, Shaw Tracking, and Wholesale Sports

June 2008 – December 2009
The Hangar Interactive, Barreal de Heredia, Costa Rica
Director de Technologí­a

The Hangar Interactive started out as only an idea: to start an offshore interactive agency led by North Americans who understand the industry and had the desire to build something new. The blank slate needed structure, direction, and substance to fill in the spaces and become a valuable part of the industry.

  • Interviewed and hired team of 13 developers comprising web, application, and Flash
  • Evaluated skills regularly to ensure proper work assignment
  • Managed each developer’s career growth
  • Developed team leads to distribute project oversight and team management duties
  • Taught the North American view of timelines and technical requirements
  • Oversaw systems administration for definition, purchase, and installation of all hardware, software, and infrastructure for team of 40 people, using Mac, PC, and UNIX environments
  • Oversaw all development, and responsible for delivery of all technology projects
  • Member of the company’s directorial team
  • Projects included work for Proctor & Gamble (multiple brands), Rolex, Nissan/Infiniti, AT&T, Supervalu, Hyatt Hotels, Nutella, Anheuser-Busch, Best Buy, HP, Moen, adidas, Autoridad de Turismo Panamá¡, and Critical Mass

June 2005 – June 2008
Critical Mass, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Technology Director

In my role as Technology Director, I was primarily responsible for the redesign work executed on the Rolex account, which includes 11 web properties, a dozen integrated technologies, and a team of 14 developers. We worked frequently with tight deadlines, and a client eight hours ahead of our time zone. I am most happy with the risks we are able to take, and the energy felt by the entire team at being able to create something truly new.

  • Directed technical solutions for 11 web properties (four complete redesigns, including Rolex.com)
  • Team leader for 14 developers with responsibilities for mentorship, standards guidance, resource assignment, and training
  • Technologies include XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, Flash (ActionScript 2/3), PHP, JSP, Java, SQL (Oracle, Postgres), XML
  • Wrote and issued RFPs; audited responses
  • Directed Content Management System (CMS) vendor selection, architecture, and administration
  • Coordinated solutions vendors (hosting, software, security, content delivery), resolving issues with appropriate hardware requirements, data dependencies, and solution architecture
  • Lead research, architecture, and implementation for Critical Mass intranet
  • Web Development Practice Lead for Critical Mass (35+ developers)
  • Other clients included Smithsonian Magazine, Reliant Energy, Michelin North America (five brands), Andersen Window, Dell, New Balance, Kaiser Permanente, USAA, Travel Alberta, Pampers, Moen, DDB, and Critical Mass
  • Transferred to The Hangar Interactive in June 2008

April 2003 – June 2005
Critical Mass, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Web Development Manager

The Web Development Manager was responsible for the direction of the web development team, as well as directing a small multi-disciplinary team on approximately half the technical work on the Mercedes-Benz USA account.

  • Co-lead team of 13 developers on Mercedes-Benz USA for design and implementation of all product, branding, and media-related projects
  • Web Development Practice Lead for Critical Mass (25+ developers)
  • Provided strategic account planning, including client-facing meetings
  • Conducted business and functional analysis, creating requirements documents, process flows, data exchange diagrams, and time estimates
  • Performance manager for five staff
  • Other clients included DeVry Institute, SBC, and Critical Mass
  • Promoted to Technology Director in June 2005

August 2002 – October 2002
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Contractor

This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel across Canada with CBC TV, assisting them with their 50th anniversary. I was added to the team late in the schedule. This was my first real expose to a large, diverse team working in very close quarters.

  • Invited to join the CBC 50th Anniversary VIA Rail museum train as a new media expert
  • Lead the New Media exhibit at shows and directed exhibit staff and volunteers
  • Responsible for computer setup and support for all exhibits and staff
  • Wrote daily journals and took photographs for the CBC website
  • Active member of 40-person team, meeting thousands of visitors across Canada (Vancouver to Halifax)
  • Contract was through a leave of absence from Critical Mass

May 2001 – January 2005
McKinley Masters Custom Homes, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Interactive Marketing Consultant

This was a part-time contract position to support a local luxury home-builder. The key direction was to assist them in standing out in a very crowded builder’s market.

  • Sole developer of corporate website
  • Implemented improvements for user experience and search engine optimization
  • Performed regular site maintenance and updates

February 2001 – April 2003
Critical Mass, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Senior Web Developer

Taking direction from the lead web developer, I helped lead the large web development team on Mercedes-Benz USA, in addition to my own development tasks.

  • Web Development team co-leader on Mercedes-Benz USA
  • Responsible for technical standards and assisting other developers
  • Lead developer on Build Your Own project
  • Provided input for resource assignment
  • Other clients included UnitedHealthCare, NASA, Busch Entertainment, Hyatt Hotels, Kaiser Permanente
  • Promoted to Web Development Manager in April 2003

April 2000 – February 2001
Critical Mass, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Web Developer

My first position within Critical Mass was to handle development and maintenance on many different projects, allowing longer-term allocation of developers to other accounts where they were most needed. This self-reliance and demonstration of ability opened the doors for my future growth.

  • Lead developer for Presiva.com (a Proctor & Gamble brand)
  • Lead developer for new Critical Mass corporate website
  • Lead developer for Samsung Monitors
  • Lead and directed wireless technology research group
  • Other clients cinluded Kaiser Permanente, Mercedes-Benz USA, Nike, Proctor & Gamble, Reflect.com, Thermacare, Denny’s Restaurants, Smirnoff, IAMS, Western Union, eSupplies
  • Promoted to Senior Web Developer in February 2001

February 1998 – March 2000
Radical Entertainment, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Technical Communications and Relations Manager

Working for a video game company will likely forever be my favourite job. Starting out only as a technical writer, I was given the freedom to extend myself as much as possible, taking on various roles, and assisting in many places about the company.

  • Designed, created, and maintained technical documentation for 3D graphics rendering engine
  • Researched and created documentation and tutorials for a new H-spline-based modeling plug-in for 3D Studio MAX
  • Wrote and edited annual Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax reports
  • Designed and implemented intranet, including artwork, database schema, and user interfaces
  • Established and maintained relations with hardware and software vendors
  • Helped design and implement new workstation configurations

January 1998 – February 1998
Prologic Corporation, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Technical Standards Editor (Contract)

This was a short-term contract that helped me establish myself in the Vancouver area.

  • Edited guides and materials, enforcing corporate documentation standards

October 1996 – December 1997
Arkipelago Incorporated, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Technical Writer / Web Developer

My first full-time, post-university position was at a small company focused on developing relational object-oriented database software. The original task was technical documentation, which quickly extended to software design, and website development.

  • Researched, created ,and maintained documentation for flagship software product, ROME
  • Lead designer in concept development for flagship software product, ROME
  • Developed several websites, including all HTML code, graphics, and CGI scripting
  • Created team-based project management system using Microsoft Project and Microsoft SQL Server

June 1996 – August 1996
Xerox Canada Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Business Writing Consultant

  • Designed new RFI response template, including all necessary artwork
  • Created and edited and wrote 130-page RFI response

March 1995 – January 1998
Movie Poster Warehouse, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
eCommerce / Internet Consultant

My love of movies and seeing the vast potential of the internet allowed me to convince this small company to start selling their items online. One of the early adopters, they were willing to take an unknown risk to help stablise their business. Even today, over 50% of their sales comes from the internet.

  • Developed original MoviePosters.com project and marketing strategy
  • Redesigned product catalogue for the web, improving ease-of-use for readers and data entry operator

January 1995 – April 1995
Oasis Technology Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Junior Technical Writer (Contract)

Cooperative education placement obtained through the University of Waterloo.

  • Lead writer for systems administration and development guides for flagship product, including diagrams

May 1994 – August 1994
August 1993 – December 1993
January 1993 – April 1993
May 1992 – August 1992
Digital Equipment of Canada Ltd., Kanata, Ontario, Canada
Desktop Information Systems Specialist (Contract)

My first cooperative education placement with the University of Waterloo was so successful that I was invited back for three more placements.

  • Lead PC support specialist for Digital Equipment of Canada employees
  • Developed network connection kit for sales staff, enabling secure remote access
  • Administrated department VAX/VMS server.
  • Managed company-wide order system for Microsoft software.

Software and Skills

This is an incomplete list of the software and skills I have acquired. I believe it is one’s responsibility to never cease learning, so there are some skills not yet listed.

Operating Systems DOS/Windows (Client and Server), UNIX (Linux/Solaris), Mac OS 9/X. Experience with VAX/VMS, embedded systems
Web Languages CSS, ECMAScript (JavaScript/JScript/ActionScript), XHTML/HTML
Applications Languages ASP/ASPX, BASIC (Quick/Visual), C/C++, C#, JSP, Java, .NET, PHP, Perl, SQL, XML, XSL, UNIX shell scripting
Web Standards W3 Recommendations, WAI and US Government Section 508 Accessibility, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), layered interfaces, N-Tier development
Systems Software Apache HTTP, Apache Tomcat, ATG Dynamo, BEA Weblogic, Drupal, IBM Websphere, Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft IIS, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, RedDot CMS, Subversion Server, WordPress
Online Services Basecamp, Beanstalk, Flickr, Google (Docs, Analytics, Maps, etc.), Omniture
Desktop Software Adobe Creative Studio, Beyond Compare, Borland StarTeam, CVS (WinCVS, Tortoise CVS), DeltaWalker, Dreamweaver, Eclipse, Firefox, Google Desktop, Google Earth, HTTPLook, Internet Explorer, JBuilder, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Visio, OmniGraffle, Open Office, RazorSQL, Safari, Sequel Pro, Skype, Text editors (many versions), Visual Studio, WebTrends
Networking ATM, Wi-Fi, Wimax, VoIP, DNS, HTTP, FTP, SMTP, SSH, DHCP, NTP, Samba, IMAP, LDAP, POP3, OSI
Social Media Delicious, Digg, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter,  YouTube
Methodologies Agile XP, Scrum, Feature-Driven Development, Iterative, Test-Driven Development
Leadership Estimating, website architecture, component architecture, documentation, consulting, team management, mentoring, performance management

Education

September 1991 – April 1996
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
English Rhetoric and Professional Writing with Computer Science Minor

  • Courses in Management Information Sciences, Software Development Processes, Networking, Real-Time Programming, Rhetoric, Spanish, Psychology, Philosophy, Economics (Micro and Macro), Advertising, Creative Writing.

Additional Training

  • RedDot CMS / Administration, RedDot Inc.
  • Six Sigma – Effective Meetings, Sigma Consulting
  • ATG Dynamo, Art Technology Group
  • Performance Management, Baxter Bean
  • Power Presenting, Baxter Bean
  • Respect in the Workplace, Baxter Bean
  • IBM WebSphere, IBM
  • Antique Steam Operation, John Kvill

Offline

All work and no play makes Geoff a dull boy. And while it’s important that everyone have interest in their work, they should also have interests outside of work.

A miscellany of know-it-all-isms by Geoff Sowrey

', 'sowrey.org'); ga('send', 'pageview');