Back to Sam's blogI was born in Chicago, IL and raised just northwest of there. After graduating from Blackburn College I traveled the country performing jobs that, I felt, made the world a better place. I planted trees and worked with the mentally retarded at various points; my own little peace corps. Eventually, I arrived in Chicago, hungry and ready to begin earning enough to live on. During all this time I found myself writing stories for fun.
That was around 1984 and since then I've discovered that one thing I like, and do well, is to bring people and technology together. My experience as a user interface designer rests on a background as a technical communicator and business analyst, making it natural for me to appreciate user needs, the task of the programmer, and the goals of business. Plus, my ability to communicate and balance these drives effectively during the development process comes in handy.
Now I work for Expeditors International of Washington. I've worked on consumer products, B2B, and customer-facing business applications. I've worked on products delivered off of CDs and through the web. The web can be a pain, but I enjoy the unique challenges involved in delivering applications through a browser. Some days are better than others. 8-)
In 2005, in Seattle, I determined to take my writing seriously. To that end, I joined SCBWI and two critique groups. I draw plots from my own experiences and love the process. Today, I have three novels near completion, two in the works, and a short stack of picture books in various states.
I have two young children and a tolerant, loving wife.
Writer: I aspire to be published in the field of mid-grade and young adult fiction. Don't laugh. It's harder and more competitivethan you may think. And it keeps me from hanging out in front of drug stores.
User Experience Specialist: I use proven USE centered design methods to ensure that the final solution will meet user needs, and be used. Collaboration on multidisciplinaryteams is a strong point, as is working in an iterative environment.
Software: Word, PhotoShop, FireWorks, DreamWeaver, Excel, Visio, FrontPage, WebWorks Publisher, PowerPoint
Expeditors International of
WA Seattle, WA (October 2002
User Experience Specialist
Design and document user interfaces for internal- and external-facing applications, driving the logistic business.
Helped to integrate design and usability into the development life cycle within the company.
Hired and supervised others doing the same.
Solutions Seattle, WA
(February 2002 - October 2002)
User Interface Consultant
Designed and documented the user interface for an enterprise-level knowledge management tool.
Created PhotoShop mockups developers used to code web-enabled product.
Researched and wrote use cases and user profiles that helped clarify workflow and facilitated initial design efforts.
Wrote in-depth interface design specifications to support mockups.
Home Bellevue, WA (March
2000 - October 2001)
Senior User Interface Designer
Designed, documented and tested user interfaces for home productivity software. Used graphic, scripting, and prototyping tools to create, communicate and test design concepts effectively.
Interfaced with genealogy product team leads and software developers to document functional and UI specifications, facilitating team focus during the development process.
Organized and facilitated low- and high-fidelity testing of greeting card software to assess the usability of proposed designs.
Interpreted and reported test results for a desired data merging feature and championed proven designs to ensure product success.
Explored emerging .NET technology, conceptualizing and designing prototype products for future research and development, preparing the company for the next technological paradigm.
Inc. Chicago, IL (1993 -
Consultant, Project Manager, Supervisor
Consulted with major clients to produce system documentation, reengineer business processes and design and build business unit Intranets. Clients included: Abbott Laboratories, Allstate, Ameritech, ATT, Baxter, and Motorola.
Designed and developed effective cascading style sheets for a corporate Intranet site within the insurance industry based on audience analysis and system requirements, improving usability and ease of maintenance.
Collaborated with cross-functional teams to design packaging, manuals, and online information for a major medical diagnostics machine, ensuring a unified look and feel for all human/computer dialogs.
Mentored fellow consultants during a period of unprecedented growth in order to help them become billable and independent in less time than expected.
Won over $175K in additional business from several clients based on my professional reputation and relationships.
Created snapshots of current business practices as part of business process reengineering efforts that saved the company thousands of dollars in lost productivity.
Documented networked legacy systems for a technical audience to help prepare for Y2K efforts. These systems tracked investments for a major insurance provider.
Inc. Highland Park, IL (1992
Freelance Technical Writer
Worked with a small team to design the documentation for a Unix GUI creation tool.
Illinois Institute of
Technology Chicago, IL (1991
Freelance Project Manager
Interviewed professors and industry leaders to help define the curriculum for a new degree aimed at allowing factory foremen to move into management positions.
Associates Evanston, IL
(1990 - 1991)
Intern, Technical Writer
Designed class materials for a seminar course on usability in interface and manual design.
IL (1984 - 1990)
Reported sales and revenue figures to directors and vice presidents of the Midwestern division.
College Carlinville, IL
Bachelor of the Arts, Theatre
Institute Schaumburg, IL
University Chicago, IL
Executive Program for Computer Literacy
Associates Evanston, IL
Technical Writing Internship
Continued writing, design and computer classes from Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Wisconsin.
Professionals' Association 1998 -
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 2006 - present
Society for Technical Communication senior member 1991 - 2000
HTML Writer's Guild 1997 - present
DNRC 1999 - present
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