My intentions of creating a personal website is to showcase my work and who I am as a person. I'd like to be more globally recognized as a professional speaker and receive more Keynote opportunities.
What do I do?
Currently, I am a representative for Cisco Systems (Cisco DevNet) and travel around the world as a Developer Advocate/Evangelist speaking and helping people work with our API's. (Cisco Spark). Previously, I taught web application development at a community college. I'll tell you now, it's really crazy to hear students call me "Professor Mero". I never felt like a professor, but I guess I was! I also did a lot of side work migrating data from different extensions in Joomla as well as Joomla version migrations. I spent a LOT of time building custom queries and reports for our product engineering data. During my free time, I spend it on running non-profit organizations. I also recently started back on playing computer games. I do "Role Playing". My current character I role-play as a defense lawyer. That's my night life!
Previously to teaching college, I worked as a Joomla! web developer building custom applications. I wanted to try something different with my life. I was tired of driving in traffic everyday to work in an office. I had a great team and comfortable office of my own. I left a great opportunity, but it wasn't challenging enough and I was getting bored. I quit my job hoping to start a company, but that never happened. LOL!!! Coincidentally, I was offered full-time work about a week after quitting my job. What are my long term goals? Anything where I get to be in charge! I'd like to be in management or in executive related positions. Or even being in a C-Level job would be ideal and fit for my personality. I still have a lot of growing to do to qualify for a high level job. I spend a lot of time listening to audiobooks on management and representation. So any type of job where I can represent a corporate company, or even an enterprise level company. Whether I'm representing or managing, I'd be happy in either, as most of my skills lie there. As of July 2017 I'm going to start logging all the books I read and write a summary about it. You should find a blog post on that!
I went to college for a couple years when I was 16 (Running Start Program). I was able to test out of high school and start college early. Sounds like a dream for a lot of teenagers, I'm sure! I've always been really lucky in my life. I dropped out of college at 17 1/2 and threw away my 2 year grant because I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. But, how often do you see an 18 year old that knows exactly what they want to do for the rest of their life? That's my point, so it's okay that this happened to me. I wanted to explore what else was out there in life aside from school work. After many, many years of figuring out who I was and who I wanted to be, I went back to college in my 20's and got a degree and certification in Web Application Development.
As of January 2017, I am back in college and working on a Bachelors of Management and will then work my way into the Masters of Science. Both degrees are highly technical and are all geared towards management in the IT industry.
Currently I run a few non-profit meetups and conferences as my main contributions to Open Source. Previously I was serving the role of Developer Advocate for the Joomla! project. I've resigned as a board member for Joomla! and have been part of it since April 2013 called Open Source Matters, Inc (OSM). OSM provides organizational, legal, and financial support for the Joomla! open source project. In December 2012, I started as a team member on the Joomla Extensions Directory team and soon worked up to assistant team manager. I've been responsible for hiring and training new team members and also mainly handle the sub team of listing specialists. Our team screens extensions that are submitted to the directory awaiting approval. From 2011 to 2012, I contributed to the Bug Squad team working as a patch tester. My hats are off to people who are on that team. It's hard work! Aside from all this, I am the Organizer of the Seattle Joomla Meetup and the Organizer/President of the Seattle PHP Meetup. I also organize a conference ever year called Pacific Northwest PHP Conference. Our first year conference was in September 2015, and the idea and all credit goes to Jeremy Lindblom, who organized the conference the first year, and let me be the co-organizer. Now that he's moved, I am now the main organizer. Hobbies I started snowboarding the winter of 2012 and have been going a lot since. Because I was a web developer for a Snow sports company, I was surrounded by professional Skiers and Snowboarders, so I ended up learning quickly. I'm very passionate about snowboarding and absolutely love being on the mountains. I also love going camping, surfing, hiking, and anything outdoors. I'm just really bad at getting myself out the door. I'm always glued to this computer thing. I think I need to find a friend who'd drag me out the door to do more fun things. :-)
I am a weekend parent. I spend a few weeks a month with my children who are now ages 8 and 6. They are very lucky children to be able to do fun things and have such a happy life. I do have to be careful not to spoil them too much. That's probably the most difficult task in the world. I think I give them too much and need to calm down on that a bit. I want them to learn how to value their personal belongings and learn to earn what they want. I grew up very poor so I've learned to value every item I have. =)
I am currently trying to get my children into programming. There are many websites to help kids learn. ( I created a summer curriculum that you can find somewhere on my website ).
During my free time, I always seem to be working on some kind of fundraiser, whether it's to help one family get back on their feet, or multiple needy families. I've been helping out people in my local area. This is also a difficult task when people start reaching out to you for help and you are lacking the time to put into it. Sometimes I wish there's more hours in a day so I can do so much for everyone. One of the biggest things I work on is mentoring people into a career change, or junior positions, or with interviewing advice.
Philanthropy is a passion of mine. I feel like helping one person can change their life, why not do it? Recent projects:
1) Helped a family of 3, including a baby, get away from homeless life. They were living in their car and had absolutely nothing. With crowdsourcing and donations, I was able to provide them with all their necessities, helped get the father a full time job at Nintendo, fixed their broken down car, and set them up for a room to rent in an apartment. This is probably one of my biggest accomplishments in my life.
2) I helped a family 3, in which the mother was pregnant, get settled in their new place where they are renting a room in, including all their necessities they need to live. They left their previous place with nothing but the clothes on their back. I used Facebook groups to crowdsource donated items and spent 2 weeks collecting item donations.
3) I took over a new Facebook group as an admin of needy families in the local area who can't afford to buy Christmas presents for their children. I recruited sponsors and people who need to be sponsored. The group quickly grew to 350 families in a matter of a few weeks which was unmanageable for myself! Thankfully, after recruiting an admin, who also recruited a few more admins to help out, they were glad to take over the bulk of the work and truly made this happen. Facebook Group has been shut down because of the 100's of new requests that we couldn't keep up with. Until Christmas 2015.... can't wait to start something new with maybe a fresh idea to it. :-)
4) I helped out a developer friend who needed to start looking for a job, but was struggling and couldn't afford to eat or live, which made it really stressful to even think about job hunting. I put together a fundraiser to raise money to help her live off of and be able to eat while job hunting. I also helped her get about 6+ job interviews, and she's already had salary offers!
5) I helped a relative of mine who had to leave a bad relationship with her baby and had no vehicle to get to work, as there are no bus stops within her area. I put together a fundraiser to help collect money to purchase a new car, which resulted in someone donating a used car, as well as raised $440, which went towards registration, tabs, license, and getting insurance set up.
6) I'm looking for my next fundraiser project or some way of helping others. Usually I pick up a junior web developer who is jobless and mentor them into becoming successful and finding a job. I like to give people practice interviews and interviewing tips. I cater to the people who feel like they are not skilled enough or good enough. I'm like that therapist with personal issues - I mentor people into doing what's right but yet I struggle to do things as perfect as I describe them. =)
7) Spring 2017 - Helped promote a fundraiser led by a community leader in the developer community to help a developer that was laid off and financially struggling. Connected him with several interviews at small to medium sized companies. He was hired within 2 weeks full time.