There are a few times each year where I get personal in this space. It's not often, it's not too personal, but if it annoys you… shut it and come back tomorrow.
Memorial Day is my favorite holiday around DC. Unlike most of the others, it's not just a day off or a time to see a parade or just a day with lousy Metro service… though all are true. The real highlight of the weekend for me is Rolling Thunder. Of course, I didn't get to see it the same was as my friend S Dawn Jones (USMC) who covered it from the White House.
But I've been thinking quite a bit lately about the people that I look up to and have admired in business, life, etc and I found a couple common threads that tie most of them together. The single most common thread is serving in the military. So here – in roughly chronological order – are some people I'd like to thank:
First, we have Rob Malicki. He is a Pharmacist in my hometown, my first boss, and served in the United States Marine Corps. He took a chance on some punk kid and gave me some room to screw up. The pay was terrible and the hours were minimal, but I learned some great things and ended up working there just short of two years when then average clerk lasted 2 months. When I left the job without another job in hand, he didn't like it, but respected it and encouraged me anyway.
Next, we have Joel Spolsky of Joel on Software. He was a Microsoftie from the mid-90's, one of the first tech bloggers, and served in the Israeli Defense Force. He was one of the first voices from the wilderness that talked about building software – and businesses! – better… about making development practices – and environments! – better for everyone… and has been beating that drum for 8+ years now. At a job a few years back, I printed out the Joel Test and stuck it on my wall. I was proud of pushing the team from a 2 to a 6 and hope to keep all my teams in the future even higher. I have met Joel at a few conferences and have been happy to see his growing engagement at Rose-Hulman in the past couple years.
Next, we have Patrick Allmond of Focus Consulting and the StopDoingNothing Blog. He is a technology guy, master networker in Oklahoma City, and served in the United States Air Force. When I was getting my start with CaseySoftware, he was just getting Focus off ground. We served as each others' sounding boards and early champions. We still keep in touch and bounce ideas around… and oddly enough, we still haven't met.
Next, we have my friend, and colleague Ann Bernard of WhyGoSolo fame. She served ten years in the United States Marine Corps where she rose from enlisted to a Captain, did a tour in Iraq, and has become a major player in the DC Tech Scene in the past year. When she recruited me for WhyGoSolo, she gave me enough rope and freedom to hang myself. Even after I have multiple times, she's always been willing to give feedback, suggestions, and kick me in the ass… but in a way that I've appreciated.
Finally, there are a number of people in the DC Tech Community and my other circles that should be mentioned and thanked… and no matter how many people I thank, I'm going to miss quite a few. Fellow anti-zombie consultant and blogger Anthony LaFauce and local security guru Barry Austin who both served in the United States Navy and the horribly unquotable Jimmy Gardner who served in the United States Army; my aunt Allison Bowmer who served in the United States Air Force; and last but not least my stepfather Michael Styck and grandfather Carl Stigdon who both served in the United States Army.
Thanks to you all. In multiple ways, on multiple levels, but in every way possible.