About Josh

So who is this guy anyway?

I have 12 years in network/systems operations and engineering; specializing in messaging systems. Experience in help desk, network/system administration, network/information security, systems engineering, and IT management.

Pre-professional experiences:

I got my start with computers back in the mid 80's at the age of 5. My dad was into them as a hobby. We had a Commodore 64 with a 5.25" floppy drive, a color monitor, a 300 baud modem and a couple joysticks. I never had any gaming consoles growing up. While all my friends were playing with Atari and Nintendo systems, I was building PCs with my dad. By age 8 I was writing simple programs in BASIC. Before anyone ever knew what the "Internet" or "World Wide Web" were, I was dialing into Bulletin Board Systems (BBS's).

After the Commodore 64, we got a 286 Notebook with a purple and gray monochrome screen, and built our first desktop. It was a 286 that ran at 4MHz. Next came a 386DX at 33MHz, followed by a 486DX, 486DX2, and 486DX4. After that we made the move to AMD CPUs for a while with a K6 processor, followed by an Althon XP 1800. I would not build another PC and switch back to Intel CPUs until 2010 when I built a Core i7 860 based system.

I learned DOS, and how to network PCs together with serial cables on some of these early systems, eventually moving on to Windows 3.1, then 95. I beta tested Windows 98 and Windows 2000. At some point I remember trying OS/2.

In the mid 90's I taught myself HTML. I even got a couple of the local BBS's that I'd been on for years to pay me build them a web page (yes just 1 page, not a whole site) as they attempted to transition from BBS to ISP.

In the late 90's I started learning different flavors of Unix and Linux. I spent a lot of time "hacking", when most people had not yet ever heard of the word. I broke into a lot of systems in a lot of different countries, and did a lot of dumb things that probably could have gotten me into a lot of trouble had I ever been caught.

Professional experience:

My first job after high school was assembling StarTac phones for Motorola at their plant in Harvard Illinois. I wasn't even 18 yet, which would lose this job for me a month later. Apparently Illinois has this law where you have to be 18 to work in a factory, and despite the 3 hour application process to get the job that asked for my birth date several times (which I answered honestly I might ad), they failed to realize I was only 17 until after I'd been working there for a month. During my short time there, I started doing some PC work for the supervisor.

After Motorola, I was offered a job working at Northern Illinois University's new remote facility in Rockford Illinois. They wanted me to teach the elderly to use Microsoft Office products 1 night a week. I decided to go work at Best Buy instead. I started in Computer Sales, trying to sell $30 service plans on a $30 printer. I didn't like it, so I moved to "Merchandising" for a little while, where I mostly stocked shelves, but also got to learn how to repair circuit boards and run wiring for the displays in the store. I was then picked up by corporate to work on their "Project Team", which had me traveling all over the Chicago area remodeling old stores and opening new ones. I also got to go to New York City and Iowa.

I enjoyed the job at Best Buy, but wasn't getting paid enough to move out on my own. So one day I woke up and decided to go join the Air Force. I always hear people say "You don't just wake up one day and decide to join the Military!". Well that's exactly what I did. I knew I wanted to work with computers, so I enlisted with a guarantee that I could be in the "3C0X1 Communications Computer Systems Operations" career field.

The Air Force sent me down to Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), which is near San Antonio Texas for 6 weeks of basic training. After basic training it was off to Keesler AFB, which is near Biloxi Mississippi for 12 years of tech school. After tech school, I was finally off to my first duty station, and was assigned to the 9th Communications Squadon at Beale AFB near Yuba City California.

I spent only a few months on the Help Desk before moving back to the Network Administration office. Here I got my start with Messaging Systems. I was responsible for 16 Exchange 5.5 servers serving over 6000 users. I learned a lot about Exchange, and got to do a 5.5 to 2003 migration, which included migrating from NT4 to Active Directory 2003 of course. Before leaving Beale, I'd spend some time on the Configuration Management team working with Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, Backups, and a lot more. Then as a Senior Airman, which I made "Below the Zone", I'd be given my 1st leadership role. I was placed in charge of the Application Services team, which mostly involved maintaining the base's website. I got to completely redesign the website before leaving. It was here that I was introduced to Blackberries. I was given a box and told "This is a Blackberry, we want you to make it work". This was a brand new technology at the time, and I got to do one of the Air Force's first implementations of it.

From Beale I went to the 341st Communications Squadron Malmstrom AFB, in Great Falls Montana, to work in a Global Network Operations Center. That's about all I can tell you about that job. After making Staff Sergeant with just 3.5 years time in service, I was assigned to be in charge of Network Security and Web Development at Malmstrom.

With 4 years and 9 months in, I was reaching the end of my enlistment. The Air Force was talking about having too many people of my rank in my career field, and there was the possibility I'd be forced to do something else. I decided not to reenlist, and ended up taking a job as a Systems Administrator with Lockheed-Martin. I left work in my Air Force uniform on a Friday afternoon, and came back in wearing khaki pants and a polo shirt on Monday, sitting at the same desk. I became the Lead Messaging Systems Administrator, where I had 4 Exchange 2003 servers for 5000 users, and a Blackberry Enterprise Server, as my primary responsibilities. There were just 2 of us Systems Administrators to maintain over 75 servers for the entire base, so we had a lot of overlapping responsibilities. Eventually we had a 3rd, and we were all great friends. I rebuilt the Exchange system to be clustered for high availability before leaving this job.

When I left the Air Force, I wanted to continue my Military service, so I went into the Montana Air National Guard, where I was able to continue serving as a Communications Computer Systems Operator in the 120th Communications Flight. I was able to provide IT training to a lot of people, and had the opportunity to travel to Italy twice.

After working for Lockheed for a couple years, their contract was coming to an end. I had to interview for my own job with other defense contractors. As much as I liked my job, I had a family to think about, and couldn't afford to be without employment. So I put my resume out there to see what I could find. A few months later, I was contacted by a recruiter in Illinois asking me if I'd be interested in working in Rockford. I told him I grew up in the area, and would certainly be interested. I had a few interviews over the phone, and was hired as the Exchange Administrator for Rockford Health System. I'd spend the next 2.5 years here, making as many improvements as I could. This is where I got started with Exchange 2010. I setup a test environment when it was still in beta back in 2009. By December of 2010, I had built a highly available 2 node CAS/HT/MB Exchange 2010 environment and migrated almost 4000 mailboxes to it. The old Exchange 2003 server would be decommissioned a month later. I did a lot of work with PowerShell here, and was able to do a 2003 to 2008 AD upgrade.

When I moved to Illinois, I transferred to the 183rd Air Communications Squadron of the Illinois Air National Guard, where I continue to serve to this day. I made Technical Sergeant here, and hope to make Master Sergeant before I get out. Here I support an Air Operations Center, and get to provide a lot of IT training to my fellow airmen.

The company was going to be acquired by another, which made my continued employment questionable. I decided it was time to move on. I applied for a position with Eaton Corporation, and was contacted within 24 hours of submitting my resume. After 4 weeks of interviews, I was offered the position. I accepted it, and now have a great job as a "Lead Analyst - Enterprise Messaging", working from home full time. I have over 33 Exchange Servers, a dozen Blackberry Enterprise Servers, a half dozen Office Communication Servers, and a few right fax servers, all supporting over 70,000 employees world wide.