Beginning a New Year

Today I am updating my website.  There aren’t any major design changes, but I moved the infrastructure from ASP.NET WebForms to ASP.NET MVC.  I also did some automation for creating my project summary pages.  This will help me keep this list more up to date.

In my updating, I decided to check out my blog and see what I did in 2011… hmm… 0 entries is not much for 2011.  How am I supposed to share how my business is doing if I don’t talk?  This year I will do better.  My personal challenge is to complete at least 12 entries in 2012.

I updated content on my page, and added a new “FAQs” page.  Are there any other good questions I should ask/answer?  Let me know.  Here is what I currently have written up:

Why did you name your business “SumTech”?
To me, “Sum” represents the words “Summary” and “Summation”. When solving a problem, I try to summarize the big picture of the situation, problem, or challenge at hand. This helps me build a purpose and vision for the solution I am developing, which keeps my projects and decisions focused where they need to be. Then I can break up the project into definable and manageable features and tasks, which when added (or summed) together produce the final eloquent solution.

“Tech” represents my interest in working with technology to build these solutions.

What are your rates?
I do not post rates because there are several factors I use to build quotes, such as the technology(ies) used, the particular type of problem, the monetary benefit to the company/group, etc.

My first consultation is always free, up to 2 hours. During this time we can meet, evaluate the situation, determine some potential solutions, and plan some next steps.

Depending on what is mutually beneficial for the client and myself, I can charge either by the hour or per project. For larger projects choosing the latter method, defined milestones are used to allow payment through the duration of the project.

Your formal education is not in computer science. How did you change careers?
The only formal education I have in programming is a CS 112 course my freshman year where I learned some rudimentary basics. When I graduated with my Masters degree in chemical engineering, my wife and I loved where we were living (which does not have many opportunities for chemical engineering, except for becoming a professor), so I had to find something new. I had learned a little bit about Microsoft Access, which got me connected with some temporary hourly possitions at Washington State University working with computers and Access databases. After completing several projects, and teaching myself several technologies, I began helping other businesses and started SumTech. Eventually my business grew large enough to focus on full-time.

I do not regret leaving the engineering profession, but I do miss working with differential equations, calculating flow rates, analyzing transport phenomena, and designing heat-transfer units. Yet I have seen my education shape my problem solving strategies in incredible ways. In engineering, I learned to break big problems into small, manageable pieces, I was taught that economics is an important factor in which solution is chosen, and I saw how people relations are an important aspect of seeing a project become successful. In mathematics, I also leaned systematic ways of developing algorithms, learned how to analyze whether my approoach to a problem is valid or not, and saw how technology may be used to solve complex problems thorugh automation.

In the end, I love the work I do now. I am grateful for the opportunity I have through my business to tackle some intricate problems, help businesses and individuals, meet great people, learn tons about fascinating problems and technologies, and have a lot of fun with what I do.

Could you share a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Oregon, but was raised in Mountain Home, Idaho. I came to the Palouse in 2000 to pursue my degrees at the University of Idaho.

Here, I met my beautiful wife, who has been incredibly supportive of my pursuits. We currently have one son, who is the most adorable child ever (I realize the strong potential for bias here). We hope to have more who are just as wonderful!

When I am not working or learning new technologies, I love to spend time with my family. We are also very involved in our church, Living Faith Fellowship. Also, when I do get out of the house, I enjoy playing pool, frisbee golf, ultimate frisbee, tennis, and lots of other sports.

Do you have a blog?
I do have a blog, which can be found at blog.sumtech.biz. I try to give highlights of what I am learning about business, technologies, and the such.

What would be a good way to tip you for your excellent work?
Oh, thank you! If you are interested you could always get me something from my Amazon.com wishlist of books. I love books! And I love learning! My wife thinks it is funny that her husband reads textbooks for fun. It’s true. I really do read textbooks for fun, especially when they are written by good authors who express more than facts, but also impart wisdom and experience.

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