Archive for the ‘Chadslife’ Category:

OpticsPlanet Done

April 8th, 2017

After almost 4 years, I quit Opticsplanet (recently renamed Ecentria Labs). It was a good run – as I stated in my 2013 post, I loved the challenges but not the commute. The challenges for me mostly focused on management – I managed 2 teams and 12 direct reports at the time I left. This is the first job I was a full manager (done team lead) and I really enjoy helping/enabling people, making systems and processes more efficient, and being a force multiplier. But I also got to be scrum master and oversee the transition to agile methodologies which we started the year I joined. I am impressed by how more efficient it is for agile teams to collaborate with today’s tools when setup properly and how much easier it is for me to manage with those tools, specifically Atlassian suite (jira, confluence, bitbucket, bamboo), skype, and slack. I also enjoyed working with the people there – the most important thing for me in any job. I still needed to scratch my programming itch, and mostly got to do that enough via little projects here and there. However, my learning plateaued, the commute still sucked, I wanted to do other things.

So what next? First, I just got back from a 8-day solo vacation in the southwest. Much needed time to unwind, hike, snowboard, get some sun, and enjoy nature. I also plan to spend time to understand and help my wife’s growing letterpress business,, which Shayna successfully manages with very little help from me. I also want to spend some time figuring out what my next play will be – ideally I find something that inspires and motivates me because I believe in it. Yeah, I know, its kinda abstract and similar to what I did before – see Green Abort for quick summary. But with the politics these days I reminded how much I care and am influenced by things that I don’t have much control over, and want to change that. And maybe this will end as it did last time … back to a job in Tech since that is where my skills and experience are. Until then, a new chapter begins in 2017. Hooray for change.

2016 Done.

March 4th, 2017

2016 was one helluva year. I endured pain, worked a lot, but I still had my share fun and adventure. Outside of me, it was an election year in the US, which does not need any more mention – i think we’ve all had our fill of politics. We also lost some great musicians – David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael – and I’m grateful for their music and artistry. But you know about that. Let me fill you in on me.

The pain I referred to was due to a pinched nerve I got in early January – it was unlike anything I ever experienced, and taught me humility, patience, and how to really endure pain. The first few days were the worst, couldn’t sleep, crying every day, not knowing what to do. But after talking to some doctor friends, I ended up seeing a physiatrist, aka Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) physician, who eventually diagnosed me with a herniated disc and pinched nerve at C7 vertebrae. 3 ESI’s and a couple months later, I was almost back to normal, so then I focused on getting back in shape. I saw a physical therapist from May to July, with the goal of rehabilitation and preventative maintenance. Well, rehabilitation was quick, but preventative maintenance is a tricky one.  Sometime in august my shoulder was hurting and I stopped almost all the exercises I learned, since they all involved my shoulder. I still could do long runs, and that continues to be a nice stress reliever, but my back and shoulders still cause me trouble. Today my issues are manageable, I’ve learned the power of controlled breathing, and am thankful everytime I’m able to pick up a bag of groceries without pain.  I often think about what my grandparents used to always say when someone complained about this or that – “well, at least you got your health”.

In terms of our New house, things are pretty much settled – but not done, things are never done. It’s been 2.5 years since we bought it. The first year we spent lots of time fixing things up, but we ended up only doing essentials off our huge wishlist. Like most things, we prefer to spend our time and money on other priorities. Nonetheless, some of the essential house fixin’ included electrical work (3 different electricians), maintenance on boiler and radiators (main floor), maintenance on HVAC (upstairs forced air AC + Heat), tuckpointing ($7k to fix outside brick walls) and basement work. We are also lucky to have a handyman friend, B-Dub, work on a bunch of random things throughout the house. One of the most important things to me was getting the basement into a place I liked. When we bought the house, the wife and I agreed the basement would be mine to customize, she calls it my man cave. Like most basements, it doesn’t have nice wood floors, high ceilings, fancy wood trim. What it does have is my complete control. A place i can leave as a work-in-progress, pause and resume at will. Last year i set up the basics so i can do work – lighting, tables, shelves, desk – a place to put everything. This year i made it mine – got my leather chair, sofa, big tv, nice speakers, a subwoofer, and a mixer – a place I can unwind after work, let music wash over me, or binge-watch netflix, amazon, or plex.

Speaking of music, my life has been full of changes, but one thing that has not changed is my love for music. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, friends, wife, my work, other hobbies .. but music is .. like my best friend. Listening to the right song when i feel a certain way is like home. And I strayed from music for a few years, not spending much time alone with it. I still enjoyed seeing shows, listening while commuting, at the gym, or just background music while doing other things. But spending time alone with music is special. Finding new music, carefully listening and appreciating it, forming opinions, making playlists, sharing with others. I still want to spend more time here (or hear, punny), finding new gems, getting to know my old favorites again, making playlists so i can easily listen wherever i go. This is the year I feel like music made a comeback for me. And for now, I give thanks.

Now to expand on the fun and adventure. The wife and I hit the beach in January, as we do most winters in chicago, but this year we did an all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic. We were lucky to be next door to a Pearl Beach Club, a brand new club on the beach with serious sound system – you know I love me some good loud house music. The wife and I also had one more getaway – a nice long weekend in Michigan in October – hot tubs and airbnb! In March, September, and NYE, I visited my family down south – really enjoyed camping on Cumberland Island. In early June I made it out to California to visit friends and get some mountain time – hiking in tahoe was very healing for me, as was seeing my old friends and honoring Jeffrey on bike and brew ride. Additionally, there was countless BYOB Supper club dinners, Freakeasy parties (DLC tribute to Prince!), and, like every year in Chicago, summer was a non-stop fun factory of concerts, street festivals, biking in shorts, and hanging out with old and new friends. Now that I think about it, I had had a lot of fun in 2016.

So to sum up, I will always think of 2016 as the year I had my herniated disc. And there were other things that were not so fun. But its important to “Count your blessings” (as Mama used to say), and after writing this I realize I am lucky and blessed to have time and ability to continue doing the fun things I’ve always enjoyed. 2016, I thank you. Good day, sir.

I said, Good Day.

New House

May 29th, 2014

Today we are moving. A few days ago, Memorial Day, Shayna and I boxed up the last 6 years of our life in the apartment. The movers are now moving everything to our new house. I am sooo excited for our new house. Since we closed May 7, I’ve spent most of my free time there. Cleaning, fixing things, ripping out the basement ceiling. Work is much more fun when its your own. We bought the house as-is, so there’s several things we were unsure of. For example, the basement ceiling needed to be demolished and fixed – work in progress (thanks Sean!), and the lawn mower was a question mark at first, but last weekend I plugged it in (surprise, its electric) and cut the grass with great pleasure. But the entire process has brought me more deep satisfaction than I anticipated – Looking for houses for months, finding this one, knowing it was what we wanted, getting our offer accepted, getting our ducks in a row for the loan and everything else for closing, then signing the papers and walking away with keys. We still have much more to do, but I am looking forward to coming home everyday to OUR VERY OWN HOME.

Chicago Roots Down

September 14th, 2013

Back in 2008 Shayna and I moved from SF to Chicago. I ended the longest stint living in one spot – 13 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. The second longest time living in one spot was 11 years in Atlanta where I grew up. So when I left SF it felt like I was leaving home. I was always thinking in the back of my mind I’d return one day. Well, here I am, 5 years later in Chicago, and I finally accepted Chicago as home. We’ve decided it’s time to put some roots down and buy a house.

I still love California. I think I will always consider it home. The Sierra Nevada mountains may be my favorite outdoor place in the world, whether I’m snowboarding in Lake Tahoe or Backpacking in Kings Canyon. I’m always in awe. Besides the mountains, there are tons of other amazing outdoor options – Camping along rivers at the foothills, driving along the windy coast, Pismo sand dunes, Sonoma and Napa wine country, etc. And as a techie, there’s no place better to work – its like LA for movies, NYC for finance, and Washington DC for politics. And of course the people I’ve met over the years are really what make it home. The biggest group of crazy, goofy, smart, hard working, creative, people I may ever know. I was lucky enough to make some great friends and had more good times than I can shake a stick at (can’t shake them old sayings). I miss you guys.

Chicago gets better every day. There’s so much to love about this city, as long as you look. Thanks to burningman, I immediately found lots of people in Chicago that liked to get goofy, get creative, and get down to good music. Then there’s the obvious stuff about Chicago like how beautiful the architecture is, how big a city it is (feels so much bigger than SF and LA, only NY seems bigger in the US), how many museums, parks, and festivals there are, and how great the summer is. The summer really is fantastic. Really. Sure the winters can seem long come march, april, and sometimes may. But that makes the summer that much more delicious. And the tech scene will never be better than SF, but its getting better all the time, its a huge city, and my current job shows me that there are still plenty of exciting and challenging tech opportunities in Chicago. It still doesn’t have mountains close by, that will always suck, but there are direct flights from O’Hare to the Rockies. Just got to make enuf green so I can fly to the mountains for the weekend, like the way we drove to Tahoe on the weekends.

More specifically, it’s house time. Shayna and I have been through alot over the years and decided it’s time. Time for more room so we can do more with our lives. Time to customize stuff to make our lives better. Time to have a place that we can control and is ours to mold for us. The only question is, which house will be lucky enough to have the Norwoods? The first question our friends ask is where are we looking. Right now we have few constraints – in the city of chicago, but basically anywhere from Bridgeport (just SW of downtown) heading north as far as Lincoln Square. But more likely it’ll be closer to Logan Square (our current residence, which we LOVE), Bucktown, Humboldt Park, or spots ’round there. More important to us than the location is the house itself. But we are still early in the process, and even though we’ve made a prioritized list of what we’re looking for, we expect it to change after we start going to see more houses.

Oh, and totally unrelated .. we are planning a 2 week trip to Patagonia, South America, in February 2014. Hurray! Stay tuned for more Norwood Adventures !!!


New Job – OpticsPlanet

September 14th, 2013

After a year of contract work, I returned to full-time employment in May. I really enjoyed contract work, it allowed me to focus more on the technical side, spending a vast majority of my time coding and catching up with the latest technologies. That is something I had not done in years – most of my time previously was spent in meetings, working with coworkers, managing, dealing with clients, etc. I also enjoyed the enoromous flexibility in my schedule to take as much vacation as I needed – I love to travel, as you probably know if you’ve read this blog. And my third favorite aspect was working from home, which allowed me to exercise any time of day, to take long lunches as needed, and to work in concentrated bursts for days followed by taking it easy. Despite all that, I really missed working with people, so I made the decision to go back to the full-time world.

After 4 months of OpticsPlanet (OP) I can safely say I’m siked to work here. At first I wasn’t sure if I should take this job, mainly because it was in Northbrook. I’m a city boy, and wasn’t excited to commute to the Chicago suburbs. However, after interviewing around I realized OP had alot going for it. The company itself is uniquely positioned to keep growing fast as it has done the last few years. The software department works on all kinds of projects, dealing with vendors, internal tools, warehouse and order systems, and of course, the websites (my area of expertise). OP is still small enough to adept quickly, using the latest tools and technologies, plus they have lots of perks like flexibility work hours.

My job was initially supposed to be a mix of managing a team and being a developer (php and javascript), but management took all my time. I’ve actually been surprised on how much I’ve enjoyed this new challenge, I attribute my enjoyment to the people I work with. It’s a place where the better idea wins, which is huge for me – many places don’t want change (even for the better). However, there’s not always time to do everything the right way, and there is constant pressure to for the team to perform better, but that’s not unusual. In fact, we are starting to adapt more agile principles and I will be doing more of an agile coach role soon, which will be a new challenge.

Looking forward to growing my career, with the team, department and company.  Cheers!

2011 Recap

June 4th, 2012

2011 was another great year. It was great because it was calm and stable, relative to the past 5 years. I still kept busy (more on that below), but when looking at the last 5 years there was nothing significant in 2011 except that i worked at just one job the entire year, Critical Mass – first time since yahoo in 2005.

Reviewing my Best of 2011 pictures, one thing stands out – backpacking in Glacier National Park.  I covered that in my Honeymooniversary blog, so i won’t go into it here.  Other highlights starting early on include Chicago Blizzard Snowmageddon, BYOB Crew’s trip to Galena, where i went snowshoeing, My birthday metra train trip to Flossmore station brewery, and Rachel Mason’s birthday karaoke where we ate meals before and after singing (drunk diner meals rule).

Summer started early with Spring Break trip to Florida to visit Pants and BDub, plus Dusty and Laura. More fun and interesting included Urban Assault bike race with Katie Maser, Trip to Shayna’s family’s Beach House in Maryland, Camping and Shenanigans at Lakes Of Fire, Hiking, Swimming and Craftacular-ness in Wisconsin, More camping at Devil’s Lake, Shayna’s birthday Ethiopian food, a day of Six Flags and rollercoasters, and a crazy power-packed trip of fun to SF for friends and Brasstax Halloween Renegade. We also attended our friends Curt and Maggie’s wedding in DC, which occurred on a beautiful old house overlooking the Potomac.

The year winded down with Thanksgiving in Chicago, where we hosted both sets of parents at our place – first time ever I cooked the turkey. We also did the annual Santa Kong (I was hip-hop Santa), and had a staycation in Chicago for Christmas. This was another first, the first time since i left home when i was 18 that i spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in the place i was currently living (did you get that? as in, i did not go out of town) I was greatful for this since i was working a bit too much at CM and with the halloween and wedding trips I needed to slow down. We did go see my family for New Years in Georgia (Tybee Island next to Savannah), where I finally saw my newest family member, Ty, making me an uncle for the fifth time. We also had fun with tu-tu bunnies when we swam in the ocean on New Years Day. Brrr!!

I hope 2012 continues to be another great year.


August 15th, 2011

Shayna and I just got back from one of the best trips I’ve ever had – spending 10 days in the beautiful mountains of Glacier National Park, Montana, where we celebrated the one year anniversary of our wedding honeymoon.  The trip was awesome on so many levels, including the camping, hiking, and majestic views, but mostly it was great to spend quality time with the wife in the great outdoors. I highly recommend everyone to go, whether you stay in hotels or in tents, glaciers or not. I cover more on the trip below, but first here’s why it’s awesome:

Why I love Backpacking

  • Being surrounded by nature
  • Tons of exercise
  • Tons of sleep
  • Campfires (and s’mores)
  • Spending quality time with fellow backpackers
  • Getting away from it all (people, technology, normal life)
  • Everything you need is on your back or found in nature
  • Food tastes awesome when you’re burning 2-3 times the usual amount of calories
  • Re-appreciating how great showers, beds, and other comforts are when finished

Why I love Glacier National Park

  • The view – mountains, glaciers, lakes
  • The smells – fresh pine, cedar, sweet flowers, smokey campfires
  • The hikes – Favs are Highline Trail and hike to Ptarmigan Tunnel
  • The temperature – Hot enough to go swimming, but cool at night

When we first arrived at the airport, we got our rental car and drove to the town of Kalispel, the largest of many small towns in Flathead valley, just west of the park.  We stopped by a famous house, the Conrad Mansion, barely catching the last tour of the day.  It  was an impressive house and an interesting tour – built over a hundred years ago and restored to its original condition (we took many pics of this).  From there we drove to the hills to our first Bed and Breakfast, The Garrison Inn.  Our hosts Gene and Anne Marie were very nice.  Gene is also a professional chef and made us a delicious dinner and an amazing breakfast – probably the best omelete I’ve ever had (insanely fluffy, almost a quiche).

After the B&B we drove about an hour before entering the park.  We debated white water rafting and horse back riding, but decided water was too cold and horses were not my favorite.  We got lucky and found a spot in the Apgar campground, had lunch, then went for our first real hike to the Apgar Lookout.  The next day we moved a bit further east, getting a spot at Sprague Creek campground.  That day we did one of our longest and most beautiful hikes – Highline trail from Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet, then on down to our car at The Loop, about 12 miles total.   We saw our first big animals – mountain goats.  Did you know they have bacteria in their stomach that generates heat?  That helps them survive the mountain tops during 40 below winters.  That night we slept super solid – 7 hours of hiking will do that to ya.  The next day I gorged on the breakfeast buffet at the lodge (totally worth it), then we drove over the to east side on Going to the Sun road, which was supposed to be awesome but all the road construction made the experience a bit annoying.  That night we stayed at St. Mary campground and were lucky enough to catch a performance by the Blackfeet tribe, the native americans who live east of the park.  They explained their music, competition dances, and costumes in great detail.  Big props to traditional Native Americans.  Afterwards we had our first campfire.  I love fires.

The next day we got up super early (6:30am) to get to Many Glacier campground to ensure we get a spot.  It’s the most popular campground in the park, and, like all but 2 campgrounds, takes no reservations – first come, first serve.  All spots are snatched up by around 8am-8:30am every day.  After securing our spot, we took the day off from hiking and explored the Many Glacier Lodge and surrounding areas (the great lodges are amazing).  I also explored my book and the back of my eyelids in the afternoon (gotta have naps on vacation, right?).  We had a camping stove issue that was resolved the night before (oh, thats how you clean it) and this was the first day we had hot meals from the stove.  Previously we snacked on bars, PB, fruit, nuts, broccoli and hummus, bread, cheese, crackers, and pickles, which were all good. Now we had hot oatmeal and other warm dishes like rice and beans and indian food. We saved the freeze-dried for backpacking. Our second day at Many Glacier we hiked to Iceberg lake. We wanted to hit up  Grinnell glacier, but that was closed due to bears.  So guess what we saw about 150 yards off the trail to Iceberg lake?  A grizzly bear and her 3 cubs.  Awesome.  We also saw a mama moose and her baby – from only a few feet away as they were on the trail.  The last day at many glacier was more chilling out, shayna did a short hike and I did some picture/laptop stuff.  That evening we had our first rain storm and were lucky enough to be able to watch it from the lodge.  Later after that we had another campfire along with s’mores.  Mmm-mm.

Saturday morning we left Many Glacier to start our backpacking adventure.  We drove to the Chief Mountain Trailhead, which is right next to the Canadian border, to enter the Belly river area of the park.  It was about 10am when we began backpacking, a mostly level hike 13 miles to our first camp at Glenn’s Lake Head.  Let me reiterate how unbelievably beautiful this park is.  Gorgeous natural diversity, from moutains, glaciers, snow, streams and lakes, to fields of grass and flowers, to rocky and dusty mountain tops, to pine and aspen forests, and more .. sometimes all at once.  The highline trail gave us a taste but being surrounded by nothing but pure nature takes it to the next level.  The next 2 nights we spent at Elizabeth Lake head campground (i say head since the bigger lakes have 2 campgrounds, one at the head where water comes in, and one at the foot where water exits).  Each night we had to store all our food, toiletries, even water in bear bags and hang them high up in the trees.  We also had to prep food and eat in common areas. It was a nice way to meet people – we met boy scouts, families, and several couples .. but not the most romantic.  Except the first night, where we had a campfire and more s’mores, we crashed pretty early – often before dark.  Once shayna was down for almost 12 hours, after hiking probably the most scenic hike on the trip, up to Ptarmigan tunnel.  It was 12 miles roundtrip, over half a mile vertical, with the most diversity and impressive views of any of our hikes.  It was tough, but thats how we like it.  Gotta earn it.  Other adventures included discovering amazing waterfalls, fording rivers, and dealing with hail storm on the last day hiking out.  The last 2 nights of our trip were just us appreciating showers, beds, nice meals, and relaxing.  It went by much too quick.

This trip was definitely a backpacking and camping trip first, and honeymoon anniversary second. I say honeymoon anniversary since this trip, being a backpacking trip, was more similar to our honeymoon backpacking adventure on Isle Royale (more deets) than our wedding  That said, wife and I had an amazing time together.  I feel so lucky to have a girl who is into backpacking almost as much as I am, even though she’s only been on 3 real backpacking trips! We both hope to do at least one major trip a year from now on.  So stay tuned for more adventures.


September 8th, 2010

Leaving Wedding Ceremony

Well, I did it.  I got married July 31.  Officially and legally and in front of lots of family and friends.  It feels great.  The wedding was a whirlwind – so many people we care about all together in one place.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.  It’s been about a month since it happened and I am still a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience.  For the most part it went perfectly – We didn’t stress too much, things went as planned, we had gorgeous weather, everybody had a good time, what more could we want? Our really close friend, Juan, was our officiant (yay), his first. Wedding Ceremony Crowd Shayna and I wrote and read our own vows to each other then immediately after the ceremony ran off to the woods for a few mins to absorb what just happened.  It was very special.  I was really happy that so many of family and friends could make the trip.  Most of them are not from the midwest and were like .. where is Galena? But Oak Hill was a perfect choice for a wedding venue.  Shayna’s family and my family really hit it off – altho the parents did meet back in March of this year, so it was not there first encounter. In fact, everybody hit it off.  Our picnic theme really brought everyone together – we had BBQ and games like badmitton, croquet, bocce ball, and bags.  Plus our guests are all cool and awesome and there’s no way they wouldn’t all become best friends.

Chad and Shayna in Isle Royale National Park The honeymoon was fantastic, too.  I’ll spare you some of the personal details and just tell you how awesome the midwest is.  Basically we took 2 weeks off after the wedding to go camping on Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, hitting bed and breakfast joints before and after.  It’s about an 8 hour drive from Chicago to Copper Harbor, Michigan, where we had to take a 3-4 hour ferry to the island.  Our room at copper harbor was one of our favorites of the trip – the crow’s nest at Harbor Haus restaurant was a giant round room with gorgeous views of the water.  And the food at Harbor Haus was some of the best I’ve had in the midwest – I loved their rack of lamb. Chad Norwood RULES We spent 6 days on the island, 4 nights camping and the last night at the rock harbor lodge.  Shayna was a real trooper, pushing hard and not slowing me down, even though this was only her second backpacking adventure.  Yes, thats right, we backpacked. We carried all our food and gear that we needed for 5 days on our backs.  Well, we did eat sweet wild raspberries that we just picked off of bushes along the trail. But the rest we brought with.  The island has an amazing yet serene beauty.  As a national park there is verly little development on the island. Except at the 2 harbors (where this a lodge, restaurant, gift shop and general store) there is nothing – no cars, roads, bikes – nothing but boats, canoes, and backpackers.. and wildlife.  We hoped to see moose and wolves, but saw birds, rabbits, squirrels, a fox, a giant owl, a bald eagle .. pretty good, actually.   We mostly hiked but also swam (I loved dunking my head in the clear, cool, refreshing lake) and canoed (Shayna loves canoing) in Lake Superior. After the island we hit door county, wisconsin.  It’s a small peninsula in lake michigan with a bunch of cute harbor towns that’s been compared to old towns in new england.  Our other favorite room was at the Black Walnut B&B in sturgeon bay, the big town in door county. Our favorite meal (except harbor haus) was at the cookery, in fish creek, one of the many cute small towns.  Also, on the last day, we decided to take a detour and hit the New Glarus Brewerey (mmm.. Fat Squirrel) in the cute little swiss-german town of New Glarus, Wisconsin.  We enjoyed tastee beers then decided to spend one more night away from home. Lots of fresh beer had nothing to do with that decision.  Yay.

But not all our friends could make it to the midwest, so we are celebrating with them in California on September 18, cali style. We reserved a resort in the mountains with cabins, camping, swimming pool, music, and lots of shenanigans. Looking forward to that !!

New Job

July 11th, 2010

Well, new-ish job.  Back in March I decided to enter the world of full-time employment again.  This is my first full-time job since I left yahoo in 2006.  Immediately after yahoo, I enjoyed time with friends and family for several months. In 2007 I traveled around the world.  Then in 2008 I decided to follow my girlf.. ahem, fiancee, the lovely miss shayna, to chicago where she began grad school.  Since I’ve been in Chicago I’ve pursued various opportunities in technology and business.  I spent most of 2009 doing entrepreneurial ventures with midventures, some successful, some not.  I met a lot of interesting people and learned that Chicago startup tech scene is quite different than San Francisco (aka silicon valley) in many ways.  Then, looking for something a little different (as I often do), I did some contract work in the agency world, working with BBDO and Whittman Hart, then landing at my current position with Critical Mass.


Critical Mass is great. No, I am not talking about the bike ride, although that is great, too.  My Critical Mass (aka CM) is a digital advertising agency. That means they primarily build websites and mobile apps, but operate more like an advertising agency than a technology shop. That means lots of client handholding, helping with strategy, extra creative power, and generally going above and beyond the call of duty. CM likes to say they create extraordinary experiences.  Their clients include big names such as Budweiser, Nissan/Infinity, USAA, Autotrader and United Airlines.  The last one, United, was and is where I spend most of my time. United Mileage Plus (UMP), which is actually a separate business unit from United Airlines, just launched a new version of designed by CM.   That made for a very busy month of June for me, Mr. Chad.

My role within the company is somewhat unique.  My title is Senior Developer, but I do more client management than i do technical work.  I also manage other CM developers working on United, and engage with the technical people on the client side.  As somebody who’s had experience in various roles and technologies, I am a good fit for this position. I enjoy the diversity it offers – I interact with a really talented and great team of people at CM, I get some freedom to manage my time and career, and the chicago office in general is a fun and creative group.  I hope the challenges keep coming !!

If you know anyone looking for a job, Critical mass is hiring.  Email me and I’ll put in a good word.


December 30th, 2009

Chad and Shayna in Engagementland

It’s official, Shayna and I are engaged!  Yee-haw.  Aww Yeah.  Hurray.  We decided over thanksgiving in Athens, Georgia, to get married.  At that time I was not ready to be publicly engaged, but now I am.  Last week we told parents and friends, and now I’m here to share some more info on this major life decision.

We’ve been dating since the fall of 2004 in San Francisco.  We met each other a few times at parties, but the first time I spent some time with shayna was when Tim Lang and I helped her move some art. She was in school at the time,  was looking for help to move some big pieces, so I offered my help and Tim’s van.  After that day I knew I liked her and soon we went on our first dinner date at Axum Cafe, an ethiopian restaurant.    When she graduated from school the following June, our relationship changed from dating to sorta-dating for the next year or so, since she moved away from SF and I stayed in SF.   I did visit her in New York, where she worked in a woman’s art program, as well as in New Orleans, where she was helping after Katrina.  I convinced her to return to SF for Burningman in August 2006 and we were officially dating again.  In Feb 2007, I started a 6 month trip around the world, 3 months of which was with shayna.  When I returned we moved in together.  During my trip around the world, shayna was accepted into grad school in Chicago, but delayed enrollment for a year primarily for me.  So in the spring of 2008 the time came for me to decide if i wanted to give up my home of 10+ years in SF to move to Chicago with Shayna.  I did.  Chicago was a very big transition.  Luckily we found some good friends fairly quickly which made some of the very rough patches in fall 2008 easier to swallow.  The summer and fall of 2009 were really good to us as a couple.  But it wasn’t till she left for Athens a couple weeks before Thanksgiving did i realize she’s the most important thing in my life and that I wanted to be with her forever and ever.

There was no tradtional proposal.  Neither one of us are too fond of traditions purely for the sake of traditions.  We believe in this day and age its more important to enter marriage with eyes wide open with both people knowing exactly what they are getting into. However, I did get down on one knee in our photo shoot in Athens, which I’ve called Engagementland.  A few of these pics were emailed to friends last week.  We also met with an artist from athens who is making us custom wedding rings – you can see pictures  similar to what we’ll have  in the Engagementland set as well.

As soon as we tell people we’re engaged, one of the next questions out of their mouth is “when’s the wedding?”  Well, it looks like this summer – July or August 2010.  Stay tuned for more on this.