1972-1973 – High School to College…
I took several courses at Cerritos College (a California Community College) while still in high school. I took a computer programming logic and Fortran programming course in the Summer of 1972 as my first class. I took several computer related classes at the college during my Senior year at Norwalk High School. I was bored with high school. The college courses in my junior and senior year kept me focused on being college bound. The courses also laid the foundation for my career in computer programming.
1973 – 1979 – Cal Poly SLO…
After high school graduation I moved to San Luis Obispo to attend California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly SLO).
I loved Cal Poly and living in SLO. I met a new circle of friends. They came from all over California. I regret not keeping up with them after graduation. So many of them were wonderful people with bright futures. I miss them. I wish them nothing but success and happiness.
I did everything I could to prevent graduation and leaving SLO. I had several part-time jobs while in college. Cook, dishwasher, teachers assistant, research assistant, restaurant manager, and forest fire fighter.
I worked on a USDA Forest Service Blue Card crew fighting fires in California. On one fire in Ventura County we flew in by helicopter to the fire location and worked the fire in a chain. While the money was good, I could have been killed on a couple of occasions. I was young and invincible! It was not glamorous work. I remember sleeping in government issued paper sleeping bags and waking-up in a park in Santa Paula surrounded by fire fighter crews, fire trucks and convicts cooking breakfast for everybody fighting the fire.
At Cal Poly I started out studying Math. I took the entire engineering math series but did not enjoy the math theory courses. I hit a wall in math in my fourth year and started looking at other majors.
I took a Principals of Economics class and was hooked. The professors started encouraging me to change my major to Economics. They offered me teaching assistant positions and research jobs.
I found a new home in the Economics Department. The professors were very interesting people with all different kinds of backgrounds. One was a World War II veteran. He was a pilot and flew fighters over Italy to protect the Allied bombing missions into Germany.
I did some research collecting data on the Euro dollar market for ARAMCO. I was working with an independent consultant / researcher creating an economic model to predict Euro dollar movements. (US dollars held in Europe were then called “Euro Dollars.” Not to be confused with the current EU Euros.) ARAMCO had money to invest in Euro dollars and his model was to be used to signal buy and sell points.
My BS degree is in Economics with a specialty in Econometrics (mathematical and statistical modeling of economic theory). It was egghead stuff but for some reason I had taken a real interest in economics. Economics pulled everything together for me. Economics made sense to me. The principals of Cost Benefit Analysis are the basis for the work I do today.
I had completed all of my course work by the Summer of 1979. Most of my peers were off to graduate school or the corporate world. I decided not to seek a corporate job unlike almost all of my Cal Poly graduate peers.
September 1979 – San Luis Obispo to Oregon…
I left San Luis Obispo in September of 1979. I moved to Eugene, Oregon and lived with my sister and her husband. My sister was about to have her first child (Courtney). After the baby arrived I was her nanny for several months.
Courtney, graduated from UC Davis in December 2003 with a BS in Civil Engineering. My sister has two other children, Shannon, also a UC Davis graduate, now married with three children and Devon, works in accounting for a local water company.
I looked around Oregon for jobs but nothing made sense at the time. The Oregon job market was very limited. If you wanted a professional position you had to move to Portland. I interviewed at a chip fab facility outside Portland for a then little known company named Intel. I remember they had a VCR set-up with a video tape running explaining what they did (silicon wafer production) to potential new hires. I missed that boat!
In the spring of 1980 I moved back down to Los Angeles for a job interview at a large financial institution in Orange County. I showed up for the interview and the recruiter did not have my name on his interview calendar. He invited me to sit down and we talked about the job market for an hour. I did not get the job, he had already filled the position.
Spring 1980 – February 1981 – Liberty Mutual
My first job after college was in Los Angeles working for Liberty Mutual as a Loss Prevention Consultant. Liberty Mutual sent me to Boston for training for two weeks. I enjoyed the work but the pay was lousy. The experience was incredible. I got to visit and learn about all different types of businesses. They wanted me to move up in the company which meant moving to another Liberty Mutual office somewhere outside of California and taking on a specialty in one of the areas of Loss Prevention. I decided not to climb the Liberty Mutual corporate ladder and left in February 1981. I was not there very long but I learned a lot.
February 1981 – June 2000 – Cerritos College
After Liberty Mutual, I decided to take some more classes in computer programming at Cerritos College.
Before I even enrolled, I was offered a job working in a student lab, then I got a student programming position, then I applied for a full-time position in the Computer Services area.
I started full-time at Cerritos College in October 1981. I moved from programming to systems analysis to system administration and network management.
While at Cerritos College I did several projects for the California Community Colleges Chancellors Office in Sacramento. I was involved in encouraging the community colleges to use the Internet. I installed the first web server at the California Community Colleges Chancellors Office and consulted with them on web content development and delivery.
We (Cerritos College Computer Services) had a contract with the Chancellors Office to provide an Internet based information distribution system for their office and the colleges. I went around the state speaking at the colleges introducing Internet services to faculty, staff and administrators. I spoke to the faculty at the colleges on using the Internet in their classrooms and for student assignments. This was before the Internet really took off.
I soon started speaking at other venues including the users group for Digital Equipment Corp known as DECUS (Digital Equipment Computer Users Society).
I was invited to speak at a conference (MU-SPIN) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. This conference involved enhancing opportunities for minority college and universities in Internet access and applications. Some engineers at NASA had completed a study on the future of engineering graduates and found that minority students would need to make-up 35 percent of the engineering work force by 2020. They asked NASA to fund a Minority University conference to help Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) expand their engineering and science offerings. The first step was to expand the use of the Internet at the campuses.
I spoke at Rockwell Space Division to 300 engineers working on the Space Shuttle. The meeting room was an aircraft hangar in which the original full-size Space Shuttle mock-up was housed with several of the original Apollo capsules. It was very intimidating to be speaking in a room with the Space Shuttle standing in the background.
My public speaking experiences started me thinking about going independent and starting my own consulting business. I started talking to other consultants about being a consultant. I got some great feedback and a great collection of personal stories about being a consultant.
I also taught at Cerritos College as a part-time instructor. I taught courses in computer literacy and computer programming. While I enjoyed teaching I found the traditional 18-week semester to be very constraining. I preferred giving presentations and half-day or day long seminars.
After we completed the big campus networking project (around $6 million in infrastructure and services) it was just not enjoyable any more. We had done the ultimate networking project and I knew it was time to leave.
I left in June 2000 I had the position title of Programming Services Facilitator. 19 years as enough.
1993 – Current – Consulting
Before I left employment at Cerritos College I started taking on outside consulting jobs. I would take days off or work evenings or all night. This was mainly software, hardware and network type installations for various businesses and a few non-profit organizations.
My consulting business started taking off in 1996. I did a long term assignment for a U.S. Congress funded community advancement non-profit. They had a contract with the Department of Commerce to assist minority owned businesses with Internet marketing of their businesses. I helped the non-profit set-up an ISP for the businesses.
I started my web hosting and e-mail services business in January 1997.
Around this time I was introduced to some businessmen in Orange County. They had a history of starting new businesses and/or funding start-up companies. I gave them some advisory consulting on various technologies. This led to a couple of contract offers for full-time positions in new business start-ups.
February 2000 – First Start-up…
The first contract I signed was for an Internet software start-up. It involved a web-based data base solution for procurement of everyday supplies for large businesses. My contract depended on the start-up getting the first round of funding. It was never funded, and therefore, the contract was not invoked but it gave me incentive to look at other options.
June 2000 – Cerritos to Nextier Solutions…
In June 2000 I left Cerritos College for a position with an Internet software start-up in Irvine. I was given the title of Vice President of Network Services. I was employee badge number seven!
Three months later they expanded my position to include Professional Services (client consulting, installations, integration, etc..). The name of the startup was Nextier Solutions Corp.
Nextier had a web-based software solution for purchasing coated paper and performing inventory management at remote locations. Coated paper is used in the catalog and magazine publishing business. We worked with companies all over the US and Europe. Time, G&J, Lands End, National Geographic, Stora Enso, Champion Paper, International Paper.
I worked the first six months building the company infrastructure. It was exciting working in a start-up environment. I was in charge of everything except development and sales. I was the purchasing agent. I was the personnel department. Plus designing, buying, building and managing the company computer systems and network. I was on the road some of the time visiting a paper company in Ohio (Champion and then International Paper) and a large printing company in Minnesota (Brown Printing).
We built Nextier Solutions for almost a year and then sold it to the multinational company International Paper. The sale closed on June 1, 2001. It was one year and one day after I had purchased my founder shares in the company. We did ok from a financial standpoint but could have done much better if sales had been more successful.
Several of my Nextier co-workers were offered contracts to stay on as consultants to International Paper. I was not offered a contract with IP. I did not want one. I was ready to move on to other things.
June 2001 – Nextier to Consulting…
I knew Nextier was a short term project when I started. I had given it my all but I knew it was not going to last forever. So, I continued to grow my web hosting and e-mail services business while I was at Nextier. When I left Nextier I decided to do consulting and the hosting services business full-time.
Since leaving Nextier I have consulted on several start-up projects. A few have start-ups have moved beyond the start-up phase.
Until the next start-up I am more than happy to continue with my own business.
Besides consulting, web hosting, e-mail hosting and system administration, I have been doing more web programming. This is back to my roots in programming when I started at Cerritos College.
I have had clients from Soldotna, Alaska to Merritt Island, Florida, San Diego, California to New York City.
My clients’ business activity has been and continues to be all over the map.
- Association management
- Music composers and musicians
- Graphic artists
- Laser dental equipment
- Professional baseball player/pitcher
One client composes movie trailer music. They did the trailer music for the Spiderman series, Terminator III: Rise of the Machines, Planet of the Apes (remake), Hitch, Lord of the Rings, Ghost Rider, Avatar and a bunch of others. They also work with CBS Sports. The CBS Sports theme is a composition of my client. The theme for the CBS TV series “Cold Case” is their creation also.
Another client is an engineering test firm which does the certification for gas installations. If you visit Las Vegas and see fire in a casino show or outside a casino in a Volcano, they did the engineering certification of the gas installation which produces the fire.
What’s New – Business Today
I am working on several web to data base programming projects. The projects involve Microsoft ASP, Microsoft SQLserver and Microsoft IIS.
The last year I have seen more projects related to Linux, WordPress, PHP and MySQL.
I am always looking for more web hosting and e-mail services customers. Advertising has never been effective for my business. All of my clients are from personal referrals.
Regarding my sister Sandee Brantley Barrett…
Sandee lives in Rescue (outside of Sacramento in the sierra foothills), She retired June 2010 from her position as principal of Rescue School (K-6). Her and her husband, Bob, have been married since February 1, 1975 have three grown children:
- Courtney – Born December 15, 1979
- Completed her BS in Civil Engineering at UC Davis December 2003
- Now works for a national engineering firm located near Ontario, California.
- Completed the exams for Licensed Professional Engineer (PE).
- Shannon – Born: April 8, 1982
- Graduated in December 2004 from UC Davis with a BS in Psychology.
- Completed her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.
- Married to Brian Sherman, has three children.
- Devon – Born: March 15, 1984
- Works for a local water district in the billing department.
- Has one child.
- Currently attending college to complete a degree in business.
Sandee and Bob completed designing and building a new home in December 2004. The house is just outside of Rescue on a five acre hilltop lot with incredible views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. They have a 180 degree panorama of the mountain tops forming the rim of the Lake Tahoe basin. Living in the country has been interesting. A 2010 snow storm left them without electrical power for five days. No electricity meant no power to the water pump and therefore no water.. They share the five acres with deer, mountain lion, rattlesnakes, hawks and lots of poison oak.
Regarding our Mother, Enid Brantley…
Our mother passed away in 1985 from cancer. The cancer was found in the common bile duct and moved into the liver. She fought it for almost two years. Healthy living reversed the growth of the cancer for awhile. But the cancer returned due to total exhaustion. She is buried at the Los Angeles County cemetery in Norwalk.
Regarding our Father, Jack Brantley…
Our father passed away February 14, 2007. He was 87 years old. He was living in a retirement community in Folsom, California when he passed away. He is buried along side our mother at the Los Angeles County cemetery in Norwalk.