So … it’s safe to say that life hasn’t gone the way I had it all planned back when I was in high school. But then again, that seems to be a thing for a lot of people, so maybe it’s not all that unique.
Anyway, originally I wanted to be a sports journalist. From fourth grade all through high school I would read the sports section of the Star-Telegram every morning during breakfast. I would pour over the box scores, read through the latest news and enjoy all of the feature stories and opinion columns.
That, I knew, is what I wanted to do.
In high school I joined the newspaper class and covered the school’s sports team, in particular the basketball teams. I even got to go down to Austin to cover Summit’s state championship run in 2012.
I also competed in journalism contests in UIL Academic, advancing to the regional level each year of high school and finally making it to state in 2012 and placing fifth in news writing.
So of course it was a no-brainer that I went to the University of Texas at Austin as a journalism major. I joined the sports section of The Daily Texan, telling the stories of the various sports teams, including men’s basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball. I told the stories of players trying to make their way through their sport, a coach who went from not knowing anything about volleyball to building a high school powerhouse, to a game-winning shot in the NCAA tournament to end Texas’ season.
In the summer of 2016, I capped it all off by being one of four UT students/recent alumni to travel to Rio de Janeiro to cover the 2016 Summer Olympics. I told the story of a diver having to battle crazy weather conditions, of a weightlifter who came back from a suspension to take the bronze medal, of the first U.S. medalist in the 3,500 meter men’s steeplechase since 1984 and the rise and celebration of Brazil’s men’s soccer gold.
But along the way, another passion started to develop: web design and development.
It started in the summer of 2012. I wanted to create a custom WordPress theme for the arena football blog I had at the time. And since it was the summer, it seemed like a great time to learn the web development basics. One read through of the Web Development for Dummies book later and I was on my way down the web development path.
I created that theme as well as a database to store and display game and stat information (which would later become the basis for Sports Bench), and I was hooked. Eventually that site would fade away, but my love for web design and development would not.
In 2014 I started working on a WordPress theme for the WordPress theme directory. It was a fun challenge to design something from scratch and then create them through the code. From someone who wished he could do art, but physically had no idea how to do it, now I could write code and add CSS to do it. That was neat. And the process of getting that theme into the directory taught me a lot about writing quality code.
Meanwhile, I landed a job as a developer at a small web development company called Faith Growth. Here I helped build websites for churches so that they could tell their stories online. Whether it was building a completely custom website, or just taking a pre built WordPress theme and changing the colors to match their scheme, we focused on making sure they could be found online.
I also talked with our clients after we launched their websites for case studies for our website. This is where I really learned how much of a help we were to these organizations for creating them a website, and it really helped solidify that this is something I wanted to do for a living.
So eventually after graduating with a journalism degree, I didn’t use it. I continued working at Faith Growth before joining the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth as a web developer, where I currently am today, helping the faculty, students and university share their stories online for the world.
But I also continue to work with small businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, especially in my hometown of Mansfield. I love small businesses and their stories of beginning and helping out their customers.
As the world continues to shift online more and more each year, I want to help small businesses take that leap and create a strong online presence. Whether it’s creating a website for them at an affordable price, creating the website of their dreams, helping them manage and maintain their website or even just helping them learn more about how websites and digital marketing work together to grow their business.
Living in a growing but still semi small town-ish feel place, I’ve fallen in love with small businesses and what they provide to the community. I love to help them move forward into this digital world and find new ways to grow their business online.
So that’s my story. If what I do interests you, please always feel free to drop me a line where you can find me. And if you would like to hire me as a freelancer, you can learn more about that over here.