After almost 10 years in the Navy, I returned to Central Pennsylvania. Shortly after, I formally apprenticed to Glen Fenstemaker in Berwick PA to polish my skills in finish carpentry and cabinetmaking. Following my apprenticeship, I traveled and worked as a traditional journeyman to further my training. The emphasis was always on what I could learn rather than what I would earn. I ultimately secured a final, long-term journey-position at the Galveston Yacht Service as a ship's carpenter and yacht cabinetmaker, repairing cypress workboat hulls and building sleek new teak interiors in large offshore sport fishermen. While in Texas, I also worked on Victorian homes in Galveston's East End Historical District and later repaired Period commercial properties on Galveston's historic Strand. I've always considered my time on the Texas Gulf Coast as my woodwork 'finishing school'.
After returning home from Texas, I built a successful woodworking business based in Central Pennsylvania, specializing in custom kitchens, high-quality remodeling and the fully-functional restoration of historically-sensitive Period structures . I also designed and built commercial restaurant and bar interiors and contracted as a supervisor of residential trim crews.
Some years later, while on a short winter vacation to the Central Coast of California, I met and married my wife Pat and my short trip turned into a much longer stay. With the woodworking business now based in Monterey CA, I repaired antiques and tour boats and built marine interiors, ergonomic office workspaces and furniture. I also designed and built custom woodwork, cabinetry and trim for several country clubs and many high-end homes in Monterey, Carmel and Pebble Beach and was privileged to craft museum displays for the Monterey Bay Aquarium expansion project.
It was also during this time that my personal vision began expanding into the exciting new field of information technology. The intriguing world of electronics I enjoyed as a youth and later studied and worked with in the Navy was evolving into a vast universe of computers and the Internet. While in California, I studied information technology, worked professionally building computers for specialized tasks and later created a successful niche enterprise building ultra high-performance PCs to integrate Nuance direct speech recognition (DSR) with office intranets and for digital imaging. Since that time, I've maintained my keen interest in IT and remain actively informed of new developments in most areas of technology.
When my mother's health began to fail, my wife and I relocated to Pittsburgh, bought an old house here and provided care for Mom until her passing. I initially rejoined the workforce full-time with a Pittsburgh startup pioneering Internet marketing of industrial products with a traditional phone close. While getting the business IT fine-tuned and running profitably, I became and remained their top-grossing salesperson for my entire tenure with the firm. However, as the Great Recession began to seriously erode the overall economic landscape, I returned to the known security of self-employment as a master finish carpenter and project leader in Pittsburgh's trades community, monetizing the restoration of many of our Period structures.
I always earned a good living selling my own woodwork and the respect of my peers with the labor of my hands. However, major changes in Pittsburgh's housing market, combined with the chronic local shortage of stable, qualified craft and trades workers and apprentice candidates, finally catalyzed my decision to end general contracting. I remain available for consulting with owner-occupants on residential projects of personal interest and may still craft occasional finish work in my shop or set some decorative mosaic tile with a helper. Otherwise, my tools remain in my personal shop, awaiting their "honey-do" chores.
My active CV now includes creative writing, technology, professional sales and acoustic music,
each with many tales left to tell.
(I'd also like to learn how to properly code HTML 5 websites!)