I was born and raised just outside Memphis, Tennessee, in a small town called Bartlett. My mother is a school teacher. My father owned his own business in electrical contracting for almost twenty years and is now a Facilities Manager.
I have always strived to be above my station. At age 13, I completed my Eagle Service Project by organizing a luggage drive for Youth Villages, a local foster care system, to help keep them from moving from house to house in garbage bags. Originally, Youth Villages asked for 100 suitcases to help make a difference. I told them 100 suitcases was not a high enough goal and recommended we strive for 500 suitcases. In all, we collected over 600 suitcases, and on top of that, an additional 75 backpacks and over 200 make up bags. Later, in the same year, I passed my Eagle Scout Board of review and became the youngest Eagle Scout in Boy Scout Troop 459's history.
After achieving my Eagle Scout Rank, most of my free time became focused on finishing the restoration of my 1974 Chevrolet Nova. My dad and I bought the car when I was 11 with the intent of finishing it by the time I was 16. We did a complete frame-off restoration and changed some of the body panels to make it a 1972 Nova SS clone. The finished car won several local car shows and one national show award at the Super Chevy Show in 2013. In 2014 we took the car back to the Super Chevy Show and won the True Street racing challenge for the 14.0-second bracket. I drove the car from the time I was 16 until my 21st birthday when it was stolen and destroyed.
In addition to working on my Nova throughout high school, I played Offensive Line for the Arlington Football team. Having never played before my freshman year, it took me a while to rise to the challenge and earn a starting spot. By my senior year, I became the starting right guard and a team captain. I was praised by my teammates for being the only person who understood the plays at every offensive line position. When I had some struggles mid-season, I became very frustrated with myself and slammed my helmet in the dirt as I did punishment up-downs. My coach grabbed me and said, "you are not good enough to play this at the next level, and we both know that. That head is the only good thing you have, so don't mess it up." I took this message to heart, and it shaped my entire collegiate career.
I applied and was accepted to several schools, including The University of Alabama, The University of Tennessee, The University of Memphis, Mississippi State University, and Christian Brothers University. At each one, I received several scholarships but received the most money from The University of Alabama. I chose the University of Alabama for several reasons. First and foremost was the ability to go to school on a full-tuition scholarship and graduate debt-free. Secondly, the Computer-Based Honors Program (recently renamed the Randall Research Scholars Program), and third because I loved the campus's atmosphere and traditions.
I entered college as a Mechanical Engineering major with a minor in the Computer-Based Honors Program. During my freshman year, I secured an on-campus job working as a lab manager specializing in Windows Administration for the Computer-Based Honors Program. Also, I began giving tours as a member of the Capstone Men and Women, the official ambassadors for The University of Alabama. Because of my work for the Computer-Based Honors Program, the Honors College asked me to stay over the summer and work as an intern in their Registrar's office to help them grow their use of technology in determining students' eligibility to continue in the Honors College.
My sophomore year began with a search for a research professor to partner with as a part of my Computer-Based Honors curriculum. At the time, I struggled to decide between staying in Mechanical Engineering or changing majors to Management Information Systems. Ultimately, it was my research decision that made the major change inevitable. I was torn between studying efficiencies in diesel engines with Dr. Joshua Bittle or creating a program to better study player performance and injury risk in athletes with Jeff Allen, the Alabama Football Director of Sports Medicine. Given the opportunity to learn from the best in the football and self-improvement business, I jumped at the chance to work with Alabama Football. Now that I would be doing custom software development and project management for my research, I felt that I needed to change majors to get the in-class instruction I would need to be useful for Alabama football. While I was changing gears to learn how to approach research and changing majors, I still continued my job as the Windows Administration Specialist for the Computer-Based Honors Program.
Additionally I continued to represent the University of Alabama as a Capstone Man on the field on Football Game Days and giving tours. Throughout my tenure as a capstone man from January of my Freshman year to January of my Sophomore year, I conducted over 100 tours of the University of Alabama's campus and worked over 25 football games and special events. During my sophomore year, I interviewed for internships with several companies and ultimately accepted a job with International Paper back home in Memphis, TN. I worked there for the full summer in their Application Service: Planning and Scheduling department building out their business process monitoring infrastructure. I excelled in my role and was offered the opportunity to return as an intern the next year.
With the start of my junior year, my mentor in the Computer-Based Honors Lab graduated, so I became the Senior Lab manager who oversaw the incoming new hires and managed day to day work in the lab. I also continued my research for the Alabama football team and used tools that I learned in previous classes to "up my game" and design a more full featured system to display athlete performance trends and trends. As I began looking for internships, I requested a meeting with Greg Byrne, the incoming Alabama Athletic Director. I spoke to him about a potential internship working closely with Alabama Football professionally after my required research credits were completed. Ultimately, he agreed, and I turned down my offer to return to International Paper to work for Alabama Athletics. As an Intern for Alabama Athletics, I used everything I had learned in school and on the job to date to create a more modernized system of loading and using athlete data to predict injury. I created a custom ETL system (extract, transform, load) to automatically update and combine data from five different systems into one master data set that could be readily displayed in Microsoft Power BI.
During my senior year, Alabama football used this system to have the lowest number of recorded hamstring injuries ever in a season and win a College Football Playoff National Championship. I attempted to turn the internship into a full-time position to transition into after I graduated. However, the department chose to hire someone before I could graduate. I accepted defeat at my dream job of working for Alabama Athletics, but I still continued to interview in Athletic Departments at Clemson, Auburn, and Mississippi State. All of the departments felt it was too risky to hire someone fresh out of college at the salary level that would match my other offers from International Paper, General Motors, and Pariveda Solutions. I ultimately chose to work for Pariveda Solutions because of the opportunities for growth, the ability to do consulting with minimal travel, and the location, Dallas, Texas.
Soon after I accepted my job, my best friend got engaged to the love of his life and asked me to be a groomsman. Knowing that I would be moving to the DFW area like them, they introduced me to the wedding planner, one of the bride's best friends, and a Fort Worth native, Kendall Ramey. To make a long story short, we fell in love very quickly and dated intentionally over long-distance for a few months. Ultimately it was difficult to overcome the challenges of long-distance in such a new relationship, especially with my lack of experience in that department, and we eventually broke up.
I finished off my last few months at Alabama and made the move to Dallas. My apartment was right on the edge of Uptown, and I started with Pariveda and my first client Toyota Motors of North America. Soon after moving here, my best friend and his now wife had Kendall and me over for dinner, saying that if we were going to be living in the same area now, we needed to at least be able to hang out as friends. After dinner that night, Kendall and I spent several hours in an in-depth discussion about our feelings about each other and the reasons we had ended our relationship. Ultimately, we ended up starting dating again, and within 8 months were engaged, and six months after that were married.
Since being married, we have paid off all of our credit card debt, survived a global pandemic, and decided to buy a house in Fort Worth, where Kendall grew up.
After all of this, and moving out of deep-blue Dallas to live in a pretty conservative area, I became drawn to a more active role in politics. I began to study the Constitution and even founded a blog called March Forth: In Defense of the United States Constitution to put it into layman's terms so that everyone could understand how they are supposed to be governed.