Bachelors in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Class of 1987
CEO, President for Trinity Animation
Current City: Lee’s Summit, MO Hometown: Kansas City, MO
Tell me about an average day at your job:
The animation studio is like many other consulting services businesses: there are busy and slow times, there are deadlines and there are a variety of client styles and needs. As CEO, when things are busy I make sure employees have what they need to do their job while focusing on marketing efforts and longer term planning. When things are slow I get very busy finding productive tasks for all the staff to work on, and try to close the deal on any pending projects. And of course every day includes technical and HR problem solving, accounting and other details of running a small business.
How did UMKC prepare you for your career?
UMKC provided serious intellectual challenges and demanding courses that helped me learn to persevere and get better at general problem solving.
What is something that you wish was available to you as a student that current students at UMKC have access to?
The internet. A massive compendium of information, instantly searchable and viewable.
Did you take any computer science or programming classes in High School?
No, but I did build a Sinclair ZX-81 microcomputer in Junior High, with my father’s sponsorship and encouragement. On this, I learned Z80 assembly language and BASIC programming. During my junior year I attended the Rose Hulman Polytechnic Institute and learned the obscure language APL; as well as getting a good taste of what attending a private college in another state might be like.
What societies and groups are you a part of and how do you feel that they have helped you professionally?
I helped start a 3D user group for Kansas City in 1993 that has been a wonderful source of new friends and information over the years. I stepped back from it a few years ago but the KC Autodesk Users Group carries on in the same vein and I enjoy going to this group’s meetings.
What excites you about the future for your field?
It is an overwhelmingly exciting and expanding field, with application in almost every sector of the economy. Right now I see augmented reality as something that will eventually upend and radically change many areas of communication, learning and entertainment. We intend to be part of this.
What advice do you have for students entering the field?
Plan to keep learning, changing and adapting for your whole career.
Always live below your means and avoid debt.
Try to adopt a “consultant” mindset at your jobs and simply contribute generously and positively to whatever project they are working on.