A few people have suggested that I write a few words about myself.
I grew up in central Georgia in a far flung place called Kathleen. I always describe where I live by zooming in from larger places. Do you know where Atlanta is? Ok, how about Macon? How about Warner Robins? How about Perry? When I lived there, I spent most of my free time wandering around old farmlands. Being out in the country, I had to make my own fun. In the pre-Internet world, I grew up with a lot of books and riding my bike to visit what neighbors we had. My dad, thinking that computers were the future, bought me something that looked like a really fat keyboard. You hooked this device up to a television and switched it on. It was programmed directly in QBASIC which was my first introduction to something that I’d end up spending a lot of time doing. I never learned much QBASIC but I would definitely remember the experience of trying to pound out programs before I’d ever hit puberty.
Fast forward to middle school. We got the Internet around 6th or 7th grade which opened up the world to me. No longer constrained by living in the country, I could learn on my own terms. I got into online gaming (Jedi Knight, represent!) which quickly led into game modding. I wouldn’t say that I ever did anything notable but I did learn a bit about computing and networking from that. Eventually, I’d take a course offered at Appalachian State University on computer programming in PASCAL where I would make my first game. It wasn’t terribly impressive but it was a big deal for a 7th grader!
In my senior year, I was taking mostly college classes at Macon State College up the road and I realized that going to college wasn’t what I wanted to do. I came from 4 generations of military so I decided to sign up for the Navy. I ended up joining the nuclear propulsion program which would define the next decade of my life. My aptitude tests would see me rated as a nuclear electrical technician which was actually my last choice. I was terrified of the idea of getting shocked. I went to tech school in Charleston, South Carolina then was certified as a nuclear specialist in Saratoga Springs, New York. I was assigned to Reactor Electrical division of USS Carl Vinson where I would spend the next 4 years. I held a few different titles during that time starting as a maintenance technician and ending up as a maintenance manager. I also qualified to operate the nuclear power plant during maintenance outages as well as being the power dispatcher for the ship. Think Scotty from Star Trek. Being the person in charge of an entire aircraft carrier’s electrical systems was probably the coolest part of being in the Navy. It was definitely stressful at times but in the good way. Nothing was more fun than figuring out how to reroute power during real or simulated casualties.
After my time on the ship was up, I transferred back to Charleston, South Carolina to teach the next generation of specialists. I taught electrical theory and operations onboard a submarine that had been modified for teaching students on. This would prove to be the most challenging period of my time in the military. The pace was high and I had dozens of students at a time to look after. Many would struggle to understand the curriculum and I had to step up my own knowledge in order to answer all of their questions adequately. I feel like I didn’t really understand electrical theory until that point. I really enjoyed both the learning and teaching aspects of being an instructor which I think is what drove me towards making the decisions that would land me back in college.
I also finished my first Bachelor of Science degree in nuclear engineering technology. Eventually, my training submarine would need to be overhauled so I left for a year to head to Norfolk Naval Shipyard where we would repair and update many parts of the submarine. Finally, I would be given an honorable discharge and continue on part-time as a Naval Reservist.
After finishing my active duty military service, I enrolled in college via the GI Bill at the Citadel College to obtain a second Bachelor of Science degree. This time I would study electrical engineering. It has been interesting learning the design philosophy behind many electrical systems that I took for granted. Transitioning from a technician to an engineer has been a great, fun challenge for me. After undergrad was over, I decided to go get a Master’s degree in electrical engineering. Since I’m so passionate about the field of engineering, I decided to start a blog where I could talk about various topics that interest me each day. I guess the less politically correct version is that several friends told me I should stop posting long explanations of science-related stuff on Facebook and just start a blog so people could read it there instead. Win-win, right?
Since I started the blog, I’ve branched out to try to cover every engineering and science related topic that I have any professional interest in. Right now I’m working on a Design for Manufacturing series based on some graduate research as well as my experience building factory tooling systems.
Anyway, thanks for visiting the site and your interest in finding out who I am and why I started it. I’ll do my best to keep every article as technically accurate as possible while also keeping it easily accessible for everyone. – Tyler