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After almost 10 years of Navy service, I returned to Central Pennsylvania and formally apprenticed to Glen Fenstemaker in Berwick PA to improve my skills in finish carpentry and cabinetmaking. Following my apprenticeship, I traveled and worked as a journeyman, with the emphasis on what I would learn rather than what I could earn. I ultimately secured a long-term position at the Galveston Yacht Service as ship's carpenter and yacht cabinetmaker, repairing cypress workboat hulls and building sleek new teak yacht interiors. While in Texas, I also worked on Victorian homes in Galveston's East End Historical District and 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 and baths, high-quality remodeling services, historically-sensitive functional Period restorations, design/building restaurant and bar interiors and 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 country clubs and 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 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 created a successful niche enterprise building ultra-high performance PCs to integrate Nuance direct speech recognition (DSR) with office networks and for digital imaging.

 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 demise. I initially rejoined the workforce full-time with a Pittsburgh startup pioneering Internet marketing with a traditional phone close, getting the business IT up and running profitably and remaining 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 ultimately 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, my primary occupation for quite a few years.

I've always earned a good living selling my own work and the respect of my peers with the labor of my hands. However, due to recent major changes in Pittsburgh's real estate demographics, combined with a chronic lack of qualified craft workers as well as a dwindling supply of traditional materials, I've finally made the wrenching decision to end working in the trades. I expect ,from time to time, I may still  consult on design and occasionally mentor a craftsperson working on an owner-occupied Period residential project. I'll  probably also personally perform a few smaller interior projects (with some helpers!), perhaps design/building a functional kitchen or doing some interesting mosaic tile work.

 

My CV now includes professional sales, functional design, IT security, acoustic music and writing,

with many tales left to tell.

 

(I'd also like to learn how to properly code HTML 5 websites!)