About me

 

I grew up in the Deep South, have spent time in Northwest England and Southern California, and have lived in Central Virginia for over fourteen years. I trained as an engineer but have spent most of my career as a project manager.

Much of what I know about the world comes from the women and men who make it go round: from process engineers to papermakers and from academic philosophers to pipe welders.

My work has taught me how to dive into complex problems and come up to speed quickly. I understand the importance of listening to many different voices and of finding common ground. I know how to be decisive and to move forward.

I’m naturally curious. I want answers to Big Questions. I want my beliefs to fit Reality -- in all its complicated glory. To that end, in my late twenties I jettisoned a career in industry to return to school. That’s what led me to Charlottesville.

I came to study Philosophy and along the way I gained a deep appreciation for the Humanities in general. The Humanities have much to teach us. They reveal our past history; they illuminate our present contradictions; and they provide guidance for our future life together.

Like so many, we came to Central Virginia because of the University but stayed because of the place and its people. Flynn and I have raised our three kids -- John Russell, Quincy, Florence -- here. They are past and present attendees of Charlottesville High and PVCC.

We’ve built strong connections with church and community. I’ve served on the Board of Region Ten. I’ve worked to advance progressive values as a Charlottesville Democrat precinct chair. And I’ve helped local political campaigns.

Education and Work

I studied mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech (1994), and I am a registered Professional Engineer. I have graduate degrees in theology (Biola University, 2004) and philosophy (UVA, 2012).

My first job was in consumer products manufacturing (Procter & Gamble). P&G taught me how world-class companies operate. My early years in graduate school showed me the needs of businesses at the other end of the scale. I worked in construction and technical sales and as a call center operator. Lastly, I’ve worked in Facilities Management at UVA for over fourteen years.

We each learn so much from our training and work, don’t we? Engineering taught me the skills to figure out how complicated things (from manufacturing plants to MRI facilities) actually work. I know how to break down large, complex problems into smaller, more manageable ones.

As a project manager, I have gained skills to get things done, since all projects, large or small, comprise a set of interrelated tasks, leading to a desired outcome. I’ve led projects such as: improving the efficiency of manufacturing processes; renovating laboratories, clinics, offices, and classrooms; and constructing spaces for high-end scientific and medical equipment. Project managers know how to bring people, resources, and ideas together to get results. They understand how money, time, and stakeholders shape what is possible to achieve.

My education in - and love for - the Humanities animates me. The Humanities reveal human beings in all our beautiful messiness. They remind us that, in the end, it’s all about people. Whatever we do - as individuals or civic leaders - must be with the goal of helping people thrive and their communities flourish.

 
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