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There is no doubt that I am a bit different than most candidates you normally see running for the Nebraska Legislature in rural Nebraska. I'm not a farmer, I'm not a rancher, I'm not a businessman. I haven't served on a school board or a city council. I can be outspoken, often a squeaky wheel. But, when you get right down to it, aren't you ready for someone to break that mold? Isn't LD38 ready for a voice in the Unicameral that is willing to compete with the megaphones from Lincoln and Omaha?
I am a working class guy. I have worked from the time I was in sixth grade, helping my parents at the Holdrege Country Club where Dad was the manager. I cleaned restrooms, vacumed and mopped the floors, filled the pop and candy machines, set up and tore down banquet tables, helped in the kitchen, waited tables, cleaned golf clubs and polished golf shoes. I did pretty much the same things in high school at the local Elk's Club.
As a Junior in high school I started working at a service station where I pumped gas, cleaned cars, and learned about mechanics, doing pretty much everything that they did in those days - mounting tires, changing oil, greasing joints, replacing plugs and points, fixing brakes, etc.
Later on, I drove a cement truck, and helped a friend haul milk to the Oxford cheese plant. Then I worked at one of the first gas station/convenience stores in this area, later helping the owner remodel four others, managing each for a while until he could hire someone full-time. Then I ran his warehouse that supplied his five stores and five more for a friend of his.
I always knew that I would join the Navy, as my father and my oldest brother had done. I volunteered for six years so that I could get into the Advanced First Term Avionics School. It was tough, basically an electronics engineering school without the "gedunk" classes. After Digital Electronics and DIFAR school in Jacksonville, I was assigned to the AIMD at NAF Sigonella, in Sicily.
My rating, which no longer exists, was Aviation Anti-Submarine Warfare Technician. We performed depot level repair on one of the most sophisticated electronic systems the Navy had flying at that time. I served in "Sunny Sig" for four and a half years, an unheard of thing for an unaccompanied tour. What kept me there was that I became an asset to the command as an Italian/English translator. I also became a Quality Assurance P.O. for three separate work centers. I had to know how to repair each system in each shop and sign off on the work that others did. I learned to fix acoustic detectors, magnetic anomoly detectors, recording systems, navigation aids, radars, radios, IFF, FLIR, and test equipment.
My Division Chief assigned me a collateral duty to calibrate the spectrum analyzer in the Naval Oil Analysis Program shop. Being one of only two people on the base qualified to operate it, the Navy sent me to Norfolk for training on the computer they were to interface it with. It was only the second computer in existence at Sigonella. It came with manuals which gave me the opportunity to teach myself computer programming. Before leaving NAFSIG, I had developed a recall program for AIMD that allowed them to keep track of all persons living off base and creating a calling tree for use in the event of an emergency recall.
Upon leaving the Navy, I found work, in Italy, developing commercial software for Olivetti. I wrote programs for accounting, warehouse inventory control, pharmacy management, and client tracking for a legal office. Spreadsheets for smaller systems hadn't been developed yet.
Then, one day, while perusing the local newspaper I spotted an ad looking for someone, preferably American, that could hold a Top Secret Security clearance. Raytheon grabbed me in a heartbeat. The reason for the clearance was that I would be working on communications equipment used by the USAF's 487th Tactical Missile Wing in Comiso, Sicily, home to 112 nuclear tipped BGM-109G Ground Launched Cruise Missiles. Since it didn't occupy me full time, they also had me supporting the computerized reservation systems for travel agencies and airports throughout Italy. That work took me from the Alps to south of Malta.
After five years living out of a packed suitcase on behalf of Raytheon (later Memorex-Telex) I returned to Holdrege for my 20th year class reunion. Trish Sheffield, my classmate and accomplice, has held my heart for going on thirty years!
Back in the real world, another classmate hired me at the Holdrege Daily Citizen to write sports, something I really never had an interst in, but I found that I could write well and and since photography was a hobby I got a lot of photos for the kids to put in their scrapbooks.
Later, I worked at Allmand Bros., becoming the Assistant Production Manager in short order. A conversation with one of my night shift workers backfired. I encouraged him to finish his college education, but I'm the one that enrolled.
While attending UNK I worked as the IT tech for the Fine Arts Department, where I was responsible for the upkeep and upgrading of over 100 computers and a variety of printers, scanners, etc.. I graduated in 2000 Magna
Cum Laude with a BFA in Visual Communications.
I joined the R&D department at Curtis & Associates in Kearney, putting my newfound skills as a graphic designer to work developing training materials for schools, prisons, businesses, and government entities until they were consumed by Lockheed, Inc.
Probably the most challenging job I had was one that I was able to perform from my home office, as a Technical Writer. I worked with a company in St. Paul, MN, that oversees the power grid for the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada. Basically I took what was written by genius level engineers, dumbed it down for consumption by bankers, journalists and politicians, and cranked out 300 page reports replete with charts, graphs, maps, illustrations, and photographs. I would then format them for print, CDs, and the internet.
Then, I retired. I now help a friend out, from time to time, as a carpenter's assistant. I enjoy it as much as anything that I have ever done.
In my spare time I like to read, draw cartoons, play guitar, and discuss politics. I recently took up cooking as a new hobby. I served as the Commander of American Legion Post #66 for five years, officiating at over fifty funerals for veterans.
So, after that really windy introduction, I would like to say that, while my experiences have not made me an expert in any particular field, they have provided me with a varied education which, I believe, would make me a good choice to represent you in the Legislature. I have a proven ability to learn new things, understanding complex concepts, and communicating effectively in a variety of disciplines.
I would appreciate your consideration, and your vote.
Most politicians spend more of their time begging for campaign money than they do thinking about how they will represent their constituents. I am more interested in soliciting your opinions and your ideas.
Here are some "bumper stickers."Print 'em and stick 'em in your car window with some tape.