Bill Houle

At Work 

I began my career in Software Development, but quickly tired of the regimented design process: not enough coding and too much bureaucracy. I had done some system administration on the side and found that I enjoyed the constantly changing nature of the environment and the “immediate gratification” offered by developing tools for such a user base. Thus, I made the switch to Information Systems.

I had spent 11 wonderful years at Fortune 500 NCR Corporation, 9 of them heading up IT special-projects. I was team leader and Internet specialist for NCR’s domestic Engineering & Manufacturing plants (home base: San Diego). It was a great group, but corporate executives did not listen to the opinions of anyone not at Dayton world headquarters, and technology adoption was very conservative. When the CIO told me that he wanted to take a wait-and-see approach before committing to the strange new “world-wide web”, I knew that I had to leave for my own peace of mind.

From there, I joined startup AirFiber as Director of Information Technology. AirFiber was a wireless communications company specializing in free-space optics and ultrawideband RF. It was a kick-ass line of products that unfortunately came when the telecom market was crashing. We fell short of funding that could allow us to weather the storm, so the doors were closed in Feb 2003. The job was a great opportunity to start an IT organization from the ground up, as well as keep my hands dirty in a broad range of technology projects.

I then landed a great gig at Verari – a very promising HPC, blade server, and modular data center manufacturer. As IT Director, I assembled a team that was able to do some fantastic work, and then poof! Just my luck, Verari also faltered in another down economic cycle. They have risen from the restructured ashes as Cirrascale in 2010, but their lean times propelled me elsewhere.

Even though at work I have joined the “dark side” as management, I am still a developer at heart. Besides authoring MajorCool and AlphaPage, I have also contributed to such open-source projects as Majordomo, Apache, NCSA httpd, GNATS, expect, mp, pcal, and many others.

I am a motivated self-starter with a passion for learning new technologies and knowing where, when, and how to implement them effectively. If this is starting to sound like a lot like a résumé, you are right.

At Play 

Divorced. Dogs & cat, but no kids.

I drive a Chevy Volt and love it, and not not in a holier-than-thou “look at me, I’m green” sort of way. The performance is excellent, and you can’t beat 400 MPG. I consider it the best car I have ever owned, and wish I could add a Tesla as well. The treehugger in me proclaims renewable energy as our future, and Elon Musk is a visionary.

As a native Californian, I have adapted to that stereotypical “active lifestyle”, and I regularly enjoy playing softball (P/SS), volleyball (indoors and beach), bowling (198 avg), and cycling (road more so than mountain). I am also trying to improve at soccer, golf, tennis, & skiing.

I am a real “weekend warrior”, but these days that is less about participatory sports and more about home improvement projects. I am a Garden Guy, enjoying landscaping/gardening and general puttering. I find time spent laboring around the house to be very therapeutic.

I am a die-hard Padres fan with season tickets. Also glued to the TV during football season (go Chargers!). My alma mater UCSD doesn’t have a big divisional sports program, so I adopted the cross-town San Diego State Aztecs and follow most games with my Dad (an alum).

My favorite TV shows include The Walking Dead, The Good Wife, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Justified, and most of the original USA line-up (Burn Notice, Psych, Blue Collar, etc). And OK, I’ll admit it – So You Think You Can Dance is a guilty pleasure. I totally crush on Craig Ferguson, Erin Burnett, and Bob Scheiffer.

I enjoy all forms of music, with the exception of Rap. Airborne Toxic Event, Pat Metheny, Guster, Cold Play, Yanni, Alan Parsons, Enya, XTC, 10000 Maniacs, and anything by Puccini are tops on my list. I have an extensive CD collection that I unfortunately end up listening to only a small percentage of – not a good use of my discretionary cash!

I’m a movie buff, though I have vowed to be a little less aggressive with my media purchases; only my absolute favorites (such as The Usual Suspects, Last of the Mohicans, Blade Runner, Seven, anything by Monty Python, and the Pixar collection) have made it onto my shelves.

Other interests: Antiques, Astronomy, Home Automation, SciFi, and the Neuro-Sciences.

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