Biography

Welcome

Welcome to my biography page. As a professional learning trainer I often get asked about my accent and how I came to live in Ohio. The story is not an easy one to tell in a few minutes at the beginning of a presentation, So I decided to put a longer form biography online and let people who are curious to learn more find out for themselves. I hope you enjoy reading about my life's adventures so far.

Growing Up In Sydney

The first thing people notice about me is that I have an accent. After 25 years it has changed a bit and has a little bit of everywhere that I have lived, making a little hard to pin down. I was actually born in England but I spent most of my childhood in Australia. My father, Philip visited Sydney during his service as a submariner in the Royal Navy. His submarine came to Sydney's Garden Island dockyard for a refit after hitting a reef off the coast of Queensland in 1949. He loved his time in Australia and after leaving the navy, he married my mother Rosalie in 1961 and decided to move his young family to Australia in 1969. We landed in Sydney on Christmas eve, after a 36 hour flight on a Boeing 707 from England. I was lucky enough to grow up in one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world.

Sydney Harbor Bridge with the Opera House and the clear skies of a typical day in Australia.

Our Paddington terrace house. My mother Rosie is in the front yard.

We first lived in Rose Bay across from the Royal Sydney Golf Club. I went into first grade at Double Bay Public school. In 1971 we moved to the suburb of Paddington. Our home was a 2 story terrace house on Cambridge Street. The street itself was very steep, definitely a challenge on a skateboard!

Oddly enough we lived opposite a primary school but I continued at Double Bay public. (It would have been so much easier to have gone across the street!) In those days the Paddington area was working and middle class terrace houses with Greek or Italian families. Double Bay was a much more posh suburb and I guess my parents preferred we stay at school there.

In 1976, I was accepted into Sydney High, a selective high school in the inner suburb of Moore Park. All the brighter kids from the surrounding primary schools could apply and go to this GPS public school which had a reputation as offering the best public education available at the time.

I would either catch a bus or train to school or sometimes walked it was only a mile and a half. It turned out there were others from my neighborhood that also went to High! Several of them were into cricket so we spent many an evening playing cricket across the Street at Glenmore Rd Public. We relived all the great test matches with Greg Chappell at bat and Dennis Lillee bowling at high speed.

Weekends and summer time we spent a lot of time at the Beach. We would go to Bondi on the 389 bus and spend the hours riding the waves on our boogie boards.

Riding a motorbike at Yarrawonga in 1974. (Age 11)

Sydney Boys High School

CUO Mansel-Pleydell (1980)

My favorite times were during school holidays,when my family would head out into "the bush" and spend time on farming properties owned by friends of the family. We often visited the Armitage family at Yarrawonga near Coolah (about 6 hours from Sydney) These visits were the highlight of my childhood and they helped me decide to pursue a career in agriculture.

Sydney High was an all boys school, we had the unique position of being a GPS school (Greater Public School) which put us in with famous schools such as Scots College, Cranbrook and The Kings School all of which were upper class expensive private schools. We played Rugby, Cricket, and basketball and rowed against these schools on Saturdays. We were also considered a regular "High School" and got to play rugby and cricket against the local high schools like Randwick, Maroubra and Dover Heights on Wednesdays.

During much of my school years I played Rugby, beginning with "The Bays" starting in the under 7s and going on up to under 12's where I began playing for Sydney Boys High School. I played Rugby for all 6 years I was at High but since everybody in my grade played rugby we had up to 6 teams in each grade. I enjoyed playing but was not very fast or very skilled at rugby so I mostly found myself in the "15e" or the "16f" teams.

I also was for a time a rower in the school rowing team which involved traveling to the boatshed at Abbotsford which was always an adventure involving trains, buses and some walking. I rowed mostly in "tubs" but did some time in a "four" as well. Rowing on the Parramatta river was a wonderful experience, but not usually the smoothest of places. I rowed a couple of times in fours and eights, even competing in the "Head of the River" regatta on the Nepean river.

In the spring I played cricket, which was probably my favorite sport. I already mentioned how we used to play after school across the road. We would also to to the Sydney Cricket Ground which was actually just across the park from the school and watch the Aussies play in a test match or in winter we would watch the mighty Roosters (Eastern Suburbs) play rugby league against their rivals.

I was a member of the First Grade Rifle Team in my senior year (1981) and we would travel to Malabar to the rifle range and shoot 7.62mm target rifles. Some of us worked at the range marking targets which was exciting. You wait till a bullet hits your target, pull it down mark where the bullet hit, push the target back up and signal what the score was.

Perhaps my fondest memories at High are of my time in the Sydney High School Cadet unit. I joined in 1977. Tuesdays I would wear my cadet uniform to school and after school. We had cadet parade for a couple of hours. We learned to march, use a compass, read maps and it was here, I first developed a love of teaching. As a corporal and later as a Cadet Under Officer (Lieutenant) we were taught how to teach. This is a skill that I use every day in my vocation as a teacher and technologist.

Each year we would go off for a 3 day bivouac and a 5 day annual camp. It was a great experience. We traveled by bus to Singleton in the Hunter valley and camped near the army base and firing range. I got to ride in an Iroquois Helicopter and to shoot SLRs and M16s. We did an overnight orienteering exercise and camp up in the BrokenBack Mountain range which was a test of stamina for all.

Sydney High was an interesting idea for a school. Take all the best boys from the surrounding schools and put them all together and give them a classical education. We in fact had some of the best teachers that were available in the public school system. The state runs the education system and hires all teachers. There is no such thing as a school board in Australia.

In grades 7 & 8 I was given exposure to a variety of subjects. French, German, Greek and Latin as well as Math, Science, English, Music, Art and Social Studies. We got to choose in the later grades what we wanted to take and I chose a lot of science and the lowest math I could.

My only claims to fame at High were winning the Geography medal in Year 11 and the J.D Duffy Sword of Honor in 1981. I graduated with a Higher School Certificate in November 1981.

Jackarooing

A Jackaroo is a young man working on a sheep or cattle station, to gain practical experience in the skills needed to become an owner, overseer, manager, etc -- Wikipedia --

Strip farming at Windy Station.

Wheat Harvesting

Windy Station - Quirindi NSW

After graduating from Sydney High, I took a position as a jackaroo on a 33,000 acre cropping property in Northern New South Wales (NSW). Windy station was owned by the Australian Agricultural Company which operated a dozen properties all over Australia at the time and employed many jackaroos who provided the workforce, there were 4 jackaroos at Windy.

Windy at the time had the largest shearing shed in the southern hemisphere with 88 stands. By 1982 when I was there, it had no sheep left. Much of the property was arable black soil and crops such as wheat, sorghum, sunflowers and cotton were grown as well as lucerne (alfalfa) under center pivot irrigation.

I found myself driving a big 330 hp "Versatile" 4WD articulated tractors in 8 hour shifts as we prepared the ground for the wheat planting. The crops were planted in strips that ran in an arc for about 3 miles and were designed to prevent soil erosion, using a new technique known as strip farming.

We worked 24/7 for 12 weeks to prepare and plant over 12,000 acres of wheat that year (1982). It was a drought year and when harvest time came we took our fleet of 6 John Deere Headers (Combines) on the road starting up around Moree in northern NSW and then working our way south harvesting at company properties finishing at Windy in late December. It was quite a sight in our largest field (570 acres) to have 6 combines (JD 7700s) all running in line as we took off the very poor (3 bu/ac) wheat crop. I tell my farming friends in America we were able to combine in 3rd gear!

After saving for a whole year, I bought my first car, a red Holden HJ utility (pickup truck similar to an El Camino) having my own wheels was a wonderful experience. First thing I did was put a bullbar on the front and some huge spotlights. Gotta have some protection against the Kangaroos who launch themselves at cars at night (compare to white tail deer in the USA).

By March of 1983 I had been offered a new position with AAC at their large cattle operation in the Northern Territory. Back to Sydney for a few weeks before several of us met up in Sydney and left in convoy heading up north about 2000km in our Utes. The trip took 3 days, lots of open road, dead kangaroos and miles and miles of nothing. Each night we would stop just before dark, roll out our swags (bedrolls) and camp by the side of the road under the stars.

Jackaroos sitting in the back of a landcruiser.

Pushing cattle toward the stock yards.

Me shoeing a horse

Brunette Downs - Barkly Tablelands, NT

The 3.6 million acre Brunette Downs cattle ranch sits on the Barkly tablelands and is 180km (112 miles) from the nearest big town (Mt Isa, QLD). It was in the NT that I learned to ride and take care of a string of 6 horses. I learned to trim and shoe horses as well as ride up to 50 miles a day mustering cattle. Later in the year I learned to drive a "Road Train" and got my Class C drivers licence.

The jackaroos all lived in a large barracks, there were two stockcamps each with a head stockman. We spent a lot of time out in the stock camp. Our main job was mustering cattle on horseback with helicopters assisting. Brunette ran over 50,000 head of mainly Santa Gertrudis and Brahman cattle. It was a hard life, sleeping under the stars in our "Swags". Up before the dawn and out to muster the cattle. I was very fit, weighed in at under 200lbs.

The cattle industry in this part of Australia was controlled largely by the availability of water. In each of the large paddocks, typically about 200 sq miles there were several "Turkey's Nest Dams" that were fed by an artesian well pumped by a Windmill. When sitting on horse back you could see a windmill that was 5 miles away as it would appear on the horizon you knew you were getting close to your destination. The cattle would be gathered by the helicopter and as they came together they would head toward the water source. Each paddock would have a cattle yards setup near the main water source and the cattle would be driven into the holding yards so they could be TB tested and the fat cattle were drafted off and loaded onto trucks to go to market.

One day of mustering was usually followed by two days of working in the cattle yards, drafting the cattle, TB testing and sometimes dipping the cattle. Once the fat cattle had been loaded the other cattle were taken back to their paddock and the process would repeat the following morning. Up before dawn, load the horses on a horse truck and drive them out to the further reaches of the paddock (15 or 20 miles from camp) The horses would unload often by backing the truck up to a turkeys nest dam and jumping them off the truck. We would saddle up and with the rising sun the helicopter would arrive and begin sending cattle to the horsemen. We would gather them together and begin moving them toward the cattle yards. It took some time to get them all moved and we would often have a late lunch before heading to the yards for more drafting.

Drafting was a hazardous occupation. These cattle often only saw humans once a year and were quite wild. We would have to move them through a series of smaller and smaller yards till they reached the round yard. Each gate of the round yard was manned by a jackaroo whose job it was to let the right animal in and keep the others out. Fat cattle went one way and the ones to be tested another.

I think this time in my life was one of the most removed from the outside world and the news of the day as I have ever been! We had no tv (satellite and cable were still 10 years away) there was radio which we had on when we were in camp. Drinking was forbidden in the stock camp (Legal age is 18 in Australia) but when we got back to the main station we were allowed 4 cans a night.

I remember standing listening to the radio as Australia won the America's cup in 1983. We had just finished rounding up some horses at the homestead yards. Never in a million years could I imagine that less than 20 years later I would call the USA home!

The mustering season runs April to October, by October the rainy season had begun and it was time to head south. I sold my red ute to a local and several of us were driven to Mt Isa and flew back to Sydney for a couple of months off before heading to a new assignment in Queensland.

Open Grassland of Central Queensland

Some wool waiting to be shipped to the auction.

Maneroo Station - Longreach, QLD

My third year of jackarooing was spent at Maneroo station which was another of the AAC properties located in central Queensland near Longreach, which is now the home of the Australian Stockmen's Hall of Fame I had been staying with some friends in Brisbane, and headed north on the train to Rockhampton and then changed trains and headed west to Longreach. Maneroo was about 60,000 acres and ran mainly Merino sheep for wool production. The first order of business was to get the sheep mustered in at the end of the summer and shearing took place.

We mustered the sheep on motorbikes. We would head out across the grassland and with the aid of sheepdogs we would muster the sheep into a large mob and then move that mob to the shearing shed which was located in the middle of the property by the homestead and jackaroos quarters.

Maneroo had a reasonably sized shearing shed with room for about 8 shearers. The roustabout (blue shirt) picks up a fleece from the floor and takes it to the wool skirting table where he throws it out for the skirters to remove soiled and stained wool. It is rolled and presented to the wool classer. It is examined by the classer and put in a bin with other fleeces of the same quality. The fleeces are baled into large bales (700 lbs) and stored ready to ship to wool auctions.

There were 4 jackaroos at Maneroo. We spend most of our time outdoors working with the sheep. Working with sheep can be a frustrating enterprise! I remember one instance when we had to have the sheep cross a creek with steep sides. We had driven them to the banks but not one would jump over the water to the other side. We had to drag a couple of them across and manhandle then to the other side before the others would follow!

The weekend was the time to party! All the lads from the surrounding stations would head to a B&S (Bachelor and Spinster Ball) hosted at some faraway shearing shed or hall. People would literally drive 4 hours to get to one of these events. What followed was a lot of drinking, dancing and partying until the sun came up. The boys would then begin what was dubbed "Circle Work" where the proud owners of a fleet of "Utes" would do donuts in an open field. They would take it in turns and the dust would fly for a few hours. We would all then load up and head back to our stations on Sunday afternoon ready for another week of work.

Maneroo was located a little west of the town of Longreach (about 20 miles) I remember when the rains came earlier in the year, the Thomson river would flood and the road to town was cut. We walked across the flood plain to get to town one weekend through flood water to our waists. The water soon went down and you have never seen such green as was there in the grasslands of central Queensland.

Playing Polocrosse

Kerrawah, Coolah, NSW

In the spring of 1984, I had decided that I wanted to go to agricultural college so, I moved back to NSW to be closer to my family and to apply for college. I was fortunate to find a job near Coolah, working for Rob and Fiona Hoddle. Fiona was the daughter of a family friend and they owned a 2000 acre property called Kerrawah. They ran some cattle and some sheep on a property that straddled the great divide. I was living with the family, technically not a Jackaroo any more but still responsible for working with Cattle and Sheep, this time in the fairly hilly paddocks of their beautiful property. They were avid equestrians and encouraged me to continue to ride horses. I joined the local Polocrosse club and played in a few matches which was great fun.

At the end of 1984 I left the employ of the Hoddles and went with my father on a 3 month trip to Europe. My dad was moving back to Dorset, UK where he was going to retire and live in a little cottage about a mile from where we lived from 1962 - 1969.


Orange Agricultural College (1985-6)

Learning to Type

In early 1985 I was accepted into Orange Agricultural College located in the central tablelands of New South Wales. I went through their Associate Diploma in Farm Management program (Associates Degree). I enjoyed being back in education again, mostly because I was motivate to learn since what I was learning directly related to what I had been doing while working as a jackaroo.

Orange Ag College (Now part of Charles Sturt University) was at the time one of the two main Ag colleges in NSW the other was Wagga Ag College (Ironically now also part of CSU) at the time the two were great rivals, stealing each others mascots and other hi jinx was always on the cards. The place had a reputation for partying and they certainly lived up to it. In winter we would play rugby against other towns and invariably it was more about the partying than the rugby! In the spring came B&S season and we would all head out each weekend to a new location on the B&S circuit.

Orange is a beautiful place and living and studying there are some of my most cherished memories. Among other things, I discovered computers,learned to type and even put together my first spreadsheet on an Apple 2e running Visicalc.

My first college experience was perhaps a little different than most, as I was over 21 when I started college. Many of my fellow students were straight out of school and were definitely there for the party. Funny how you find your niche, in my second year, I found myself hanging out with the "horsies"(Horse Management students). Many of them were a bit older like myself and we had some good times together. So while I started out as an "aggie" I ended up a "Horsie", I did not mind and it continued my association with horses and riding became a pastime instead of an occupation.

While at college, I also joined the Young National party (Young Nats) this is a political group associated with the National Party of Australia, an agrarian conservative party. The Orange branch was an active branch which met monthly and attended state conferences and council meetings. This time was in the heyday of the Young Nats. I made many friends, some of whom I still am in touch with today via facebook and email.

My hard work at college paid off and I graduated in 1986, the top of my class and was awarded the College Medal for academic excellence.

Farm & City Work (1987-1992)

I drove a Manly Cab for about 6 months working nights.

After graduation I went down to Cooma in the Snowy Mountains, where I worked for the Bright family on their farm "Boco" for the winter, it was close to the snowfields and they gave me board and lodging in return for work.

In September 1987 I left and moved back to Sydney for about a year and worked in various jobs while living on the north shore (Artarmon) I worked as a furniture removalist, general laborer and finally as a taxi driver for several months.

I was in Sydney for the Bicentennial in January 1988, it was a huge party atmosphere, it was a great time to be an Australian. After a year in the big smoke it was time to go back to the bush. In March, 1988 I moved out to Euabalong in Central NSW where I took a job working as a farmhand for Steve and Sue Doyle working on several of their farms and living in a huge house on the banks of the Lachlan river. I got myself a Kelpie dog called Ellie who I trained to to work with the sheep. I had several kelpies and they were wonderful dogs, remarkably intelligent and having dogs made such a difference in working with the sheep.

The Doyles grew winter crops such as wheat and barley, they had an Angus cattle stud and also had some sheep . They did some irrigated Alfalfa and ran what was called a mixed enterprise operation.

In March 1989 I was offered a job as a farm manager down at Narrandera. I took the job on the 12,000 acre Gillenbah Downs. I lived in another huge house this time on the Murrumbidgee river. We had a big flood that winter and was stranded for a couple of days with the roads closed to town. While in Narrandera, I took a wool classing course at the local TAFE and received my wool classers certificate in the spring of 1989.

In 1989, I moved to Cootamundra for a while, working on several places both as farmhand and as a wool classer, before moving back to Orange in early 1990. I worked for 2 years as a farm hand for Bruce and Sally Gordon on their farm near Millthorpe. They owned several properties in and around Orange. I worked with stud Hereford cattle, crossbred sheep and grew a few crops. I lived in Orange, first in a house opposite McDonalds (owned by my girlfriend's parents) and after that with Neal and Patrick in a house on Mathews avenue.

In 1991 I took a job with the Nestle company in their new Friskies Dog Food processing plant that had been built near Blayney. I started in the wet plant which produced canned pet food, l worked on the line, adding ingredients and working in the autoclave section. I then moved to the dry plant and for a time operated their computer controlled grain milling operation. In 1992 I commenced an undergraduate degree by distance education at Charles Sturt University based in Wagga Wagga in southern NSW.

I completed the first year of my degree by distance education. Still with Nestle, I was sent to Brisbane, Queensland to train as a quality assurance technician for a couple of months before returning to Orange and working as a QA technician for Friskies until February 1993.


World Trip (1993)

It had been 8 years since I had seen my dad (who you recall had moved to England) I decided as many Aussies do that it was time to spend a year and do some traveling overseas. and spent a year traveling to visit family. During that year I visited England, Scotland, Italy, Belgium and the United States.

It was a working holiday, I was fortunate enough to hold a british passport at the time and this allowed me to work in England. I stayed with my dad in Dorset and worked for a few weeks, soon after I arrived as a lambing assistant and nightwatchman on a sheep farm not far from my father's place in the Winterbourne Valley. My job was to watch for any ewes that were ready to give birth to their lambs and move them to a pen and make sure they were lambing without problems.

With some spending money in hand,

I went up to London quite a bit and stayed with my Aunt who had a house in the West End. While there I saw an ad in the "TNT" a newspaper for expatriate Australians who were in London. It said "Work in Summer Camps in the USA! Free airfare, board and spending money" I applied for a position and soon after, I left and went to Venice for a couple of weeks to see my mother. I did some odd jobs for her friends and had a wonderful time swimming and taking in the sights of Venice. One night my dad called from England with the news that I was offered a job at a summer camp in Maine, USA. I returned to England and completed the paperwork and left in June 1993 to head for New York City to meet up with all the other international counsellors at the airport and were shuttled from the airport to Columbia University where we had dorm rooms to overnight in NYC.

The next morning we got on a bus and headed north 8 hours to Maine where our destination was Hidden Valley Camp, Freedom, Maine. The camp was set in a wooded area with cabins set on the hillside and a nice lake surrounded by forest. I worked as a horseback riding instuctor, lifeguard and ropes instructor by day and camp counsellor for 4th graders at night.

It was at HVC that I met my wife Rebecca. The international counselors and the American counsellors all got on well together. On our nights off we explored the local area and took in the sights. We both enjoyed horseback riding (she also was an instructor) After the mid-summer break many kids went home and we took the rest on a white water rafting trip. It was during this time away that I realized I had feelings for her and we began spending more and more time together. We parted ways in August, she returning to Miami university of Ohio to finish her degree and I returned to Europe for a couple more months of my working holiday. We wrote to each other from that point on and continued the relationship long distance.

In the fall of 1993, I worked at a hops farm in Kent in southern England. Hops is grown on long vines that hang from a trellis suspended on wires. The vines come into the processing area on a long trailer and are picked up and passed through a picker that separates the hops from their vines.

Next I took a job working for a friend in Scotland, taking care of their farm holiday business while they themselves took a holiday! The Scottish highlands have some of the most gorgeous scenery in Europe and I had a wonderful time. The farm was very close to Ben Nevis (highest mountain in the UK) I had to feed the cattle, welcome new guests and take care of the ponies and their sheepdog Roy.

I came back to the US in November and visited Rebecca at Miami University in southern Ohio. I got my first taste of Tornado weather, spent a nice week in and around Cincinnati and spent a few days with some college friends of hers while Rebecca went home to her parents for Thanksgiving.

After working again in London for a couple of weeks, I spent Christmas with my dad in Dorset, then unfortunately it was time to head back down under.

College Years (1994-1997)


In January of 1994 I moved all my stuff from storage in Sydney down to Wagga Wagga in the Riverina. I commenced full time studies at Charles Sturt University in Wagga in February 1994. Charles Sturt University offers 3 year Baccalaureate Degrees with the opportunity to add a fourth year at teachers college. I decided to continue with a major in Agriculture and planned to seek a job as an Ag Teacher in the NSW secondary teaching system. My first semester I lived in various places, ending up in a dorm... Dorm living is not the best idea when you are 30 ... but it was cheap.

Rebecca came over in October, we had been corresponding by mail for 9 months and had become quite close. I asked her to marry me and she said yes! She returned to the US to complete her studies. I went over there in February of 1995 for two weeks and met my in laws and saw my first Ohio winter up close! (it was cold) Rebecca joined me in Wagga in March of 1995. She living with some college students in a house and I , with a couple of college students in a big house by the lagoon in Wagga.

During our winter break we travelled back to the USA and were married in Defiance, Ohio in July of 1995. We spent our honeymoon in Belgium with my dad and my sister Rosanna who was living near Liege. We toured around Belgium and Holland, staying with my dad's cousins in a Belgian Chateau! We then had a week in Venice with my mother. I had the opportunity to show Rebecca all the sites of Venice including the island of Torcello, Murano and Burano and of course the canals and gondolas!

We returned to Australia in August and I resumed my studies. I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Agriculture in November 1996 and continued on with a postgraduate diploma in secondary education. In 1997 I received my license as a secondary teacher in the State of New South Wales.

My final job in Australia was as a computer teacher at Wagga Wagga Technology High School. I was in charge of the Macintosh lab and taught 7-12 computer studies for a couple of months. Rebecca looked for work but there were few opportunities for her in Wagga. We received the good news in september that we were expecting! Our daughter Rose was born in Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia in May of 1996.

The Move to America

The decision to move back to the US was a joint one, after a lot of prayer and discussion we agreed that it would be easier for me to find work here in the US as a teacher than it would be for Rebecca to find one in Australia as a therapist. It also was difficult for her to be away from her family. Little things like driving on the other side of the road made life difficult for her as well. I applied for a visa and for permenant resident status and after completing all the requirements we left Australia for good in March 1997.

Back to Agriculture

We left behind many friends and many fond memories. On arrival we stayed with Rebecca's parents for a couple of months while we searched for somewhere to live. Fortunately we were able to find somewhere close by and eventually bought the property, where we are still living today which is located in rural Defiance county only a stone's throw from where Rebecca grew up.

I got a job almost straight away as a crop scout working for Monsanto in their precision farming pilot program on 6 farms in northwest Ohio. I spent that first summer scouting corn fields and gathering data on a Apple Newton handheld. Our supervisor took a new position and went off to complete his Masters degree and I took over as Data Collection Manager in November 1997. The job lasted until well into the new year since it was a wet fall and the last corn did not come off till early January. I was given the opportunity to stay with Monsanto but that would have necessitated moving to St Louis. I decided to look for something else and stayed put in Ohio.

I was lucky to get a job as an Agronomist with the local farm Co-op, working at the Defiance Landmark in Standley, Ohio. I was responsible for scouting fields, making fertilizer recommendations, selling seed corn and helping take in the crop and working with the local farmers. I was at Defiance Landmark for 12 months and during this time got my Commercial Drivers License.

During my time as an agronomist, I took time to visit the local school in Ayersville. They had Macintosh computers and I became friends with their tech coordinator. This friendship led eventually to my new career in Education.

Educational Technology

My big opportunity came in January 1999, I heard about a job opening with the local educational technology agency that provides internet service, filtering and other services to schools in NW Ohio. The organization is called the Northern Buckeye Education Council. A division of NBEC is the Northwest Ohio Computer Association (NWOCA) which is an Information Technology Center (ITC) that reports data to the Ohio department of Education. I joined NBEC as an Educational Technologist, they were in the process of opening a new office in Toledo, located 60 miles North east from where we live. The first few months I worked from the Archbold offices of NWOCA, located at the Four County Career center until our offices in Perrysburg were ready. Starting in the summer, I commuted each day some 60 miles each to work in our Perrysburg Office, my journeys took me up and down the (at the time) a dangerous stretch of US Highway 24, which follows the Maumee river up from Defiance to Toledo. (The new US24 opened in 2012 and now provides a much safer and faster route to Toledo.)

Our new office was set up to service the Schools in the Toledo area. We started with 6 staff in the main office on the second floor of the Penta Skill center and 2 hardware staff in the cave, located down by the library. (The East office has since moved to the Wynn building in Oregon.)

One of the conditions of my employment was , that I needed to get an Ohio teaching license. To do so, involved taking an extra class at the University of Toledo, which I completed in 2000. I took the praxis exams and was granted an Ohio teaching license in 2000. I currently still hold an Ohio Teachers 5 Year License and have endorsements to teach General Science (7-12).

In 2001 a position in our Archold office became available and I transferred to the West Office which at the time was located inside the Four County Career center, about 6 miles south of Archbold, OH. The office was later re-located to its current location on Nolan Parkway in Archbold.

In 2016 I took the position of Supervisor of Instructional Services and continue in this role today. I supervise 4 staff members that comprise the Instructional Services division of Northern Buckeye. Our service area now extends to 33 counties in Northwest and Central Ohio.

In 2019 I celebrated 20 years with Northern Buckeye.

Family and Farm Life

As mentioned earlier, we live in an old farmhouse that we have remodeled several times over the years. We still have 5 children of our seven still at home. Dominic (2001), Michael (2004), Kateri (2008) , Gemma (2013) and Lucy (2014)

Rose (1996) and Josh (1998) currently live in a house that Josh bought in Defiance.

In 2003 we made major renovations to our 100 year old farmhouse, including a new basement and remodeled the rest of the house with a new Kitchen and dining area.

In 2007 I became a US Citizen after studying the citizenship test and completing all the requirements I was naturalized on September 21st 2007. I have had the privilege to vote in every election since then.

The farm has an old (1900) gambrel roof barn that house our two horses (Sahara and Taz) various outbuildings that have housed various other animals over the years including laying hens, homing pigeons and several outdoor cats.

We enjoy camping and kayaking in our spare time. The family campfire area is right in front of the house and many a warm night is spend outdoors enjoying the evening with family and friends.


Contact Me

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my biography. Many old friends have found me by searching the web and ending up at this bio page. Please drop me a line via email and let me know what you are up to. My work email address can be found on the contact info page.

You can also drop me a line via my home email address.

theohiobloke_at_gmail_dot_com