After graduating from URI with a BA in Psychology, Jim quickly discovered that writing computer software was a much better fit, and has been doing that for over 20 years. Recently, he amassed a vast collection of single board computers and even designed one. When he's not tinkering with a new language or the latest gadget, he can be found sailboat racing or mountain biking.
Read on to learn more about Jim!
1. Where’d you get educated and/or what jobs led you to your new job at MojoTech?
I hold a BA in Psychology from URI. After that, my first job was in computers / IT and I have been here ever since. My earliest software job was at GZA GeoEnvironmental, where I wrote software to collect data from laboratory equipment, store it, convert it and graph it. My most recent was at MIT, where I designed and implemented their new web-based system to give freshman applicants the good or bad news.
2. Before your life at MojoTech, what was the most interesting project you ever worked on?
Tough choice, but the most interesting, at least to me, was a project in which I designed and implemented a computer for sailboat racers. The hardware was custom designed to accept data from instrument systems and the software gave data to the crew that helped them sail the boat faster. This project started as a gadget for my personal use and ended up being sold, under license, by Garmin (Garmin / Nexus Race Box). Along the way, I had the pleasure of working with sailors and engineers on three continents, including New Zealand’s America's Cup skipper.
3. What do you enjoy most/least about engineering?
The fact that change is constant and frequent. You really have to stay on your toes and expose yourself to the latest, and hopefully, greatest technology. So, is that what I like most or least? Both, but mostly the former.
4. What personal characteristics do you feel are necessary to be a successful engineer?
Attention to detail. A passion for getting it right and taking pride when it’s done right. The ability to look ahead and understand how your design or changes impacts other things. The ability to learn new skills, transfer existing skills and keep up with industry evolution.
5. What do you get out of engineering that you couldn’t get from any other kind of work?
Tough to answer since I have not done much other work, but I enjoy taking satisfaction in building a product that people use to make their lives easier.
6. Describe a time when you confronted a problem that really tested your engineering know-how.
I had to design a new rig for a sailboat and it turned out to be deceptively difficult. One year, three books on rigging, and two custom programs later, I had it done.
7. Now that you’re at MojoTech, what are you most excited about?
Building new systems and learning new skills.
8. Which professionals do you turn to or what blogs do you read for inspiration?
9. You’ve been banished to a deserted island with—gasp—no wifi, but lots of power outlets. What one piece of technology would you bring?
Water desalination machine. Boring, but very practical. And being “banished” to a deserted island is a reward, not a punishment. Gilligan, the Skipper, et al had no idea how great they had it! No phone, no light, no motor car. Perfect weather and an endless supply of clean clothing and nutritious food. Paradise!
10. What technology is going to take over the world next?
Quantum computing. I would say AI but that’s too obvious.
11. If you weren’t an engineer, what occupation would you choose?
12. What is your idea of happiness?
To love and be loved.
13. The red pill or the blue pill?
Red, without any hesitation. Who would want to live in the Brave New World?