About Joshua

We weren’t geniuses. We actually weren’t very experienced, but we had one thing in our favor,
our way of thinking – Howard “Dutch” Darrin

I bring to life new ways of thinking/interacting in a way that creates focus and energy. This classic definition of an animateur comes from the book entitled “The Necessary Revolution”. Read it – it will open your eyes to world of sustainable business – an area I happen to be quite interested in.

Let’s presume for a moment that environment and culture shape a child’s development. I grew up in a household where the environment can be best described in one word – entrepreneurial. Not that glamorous, rah-rah, livin’ the dream sort of entrepreneurial you read about in business school. I’m talking about the struggles of a real family riding the roller coaster that every real world start-up company beholds as their mainstay attraction. And that describes the culture of my youth.

While I did not directly take part in these start-ups (I was a little young for the nuclear industry), I did absorb the desire. It started for me in high school with a lawn care and landscaping business. I know – everyone in high school did that (back in the day). Believe me, I’ve heard it. However, dare I brag that our company grew so successful that my partner continued well beyond high school. We were a touch more serious.

I have started companies ranging from restaurants to television production companies. Over the course of these experiences I have evolved a very deep understanding of why many start-ups fail, the personal and professional challenges faced by entrepreneurs and the underlying tenure of business that makes up much of today’s hot corporate jargon. A magic exists in the process of the starting a company. It is a magic, however, that is often not for the faint of heart.

I have also helped small-to-medium sized businesses by bringing my real world, practical knowledge gained from years of experience to help them find success on their journey. My experience spans many industries and the services I provide range from business consulting to providing a support structure to simply repairing that which has been broken.

Understand that I do not consider myself an “expert” in any one particular field. Many see that as a dangerous statement to publish about one’s self. I, however, argue that not presuming “expertise” provides me with a distinct advantage because I apply the rules of success without bias. I was once told that I “know everything”. Not true – I simply apply the same logic across many platforms. The industries may differ, but the rules for success remain more constant and universal than people think.

Experience

Fionta (formerly Confluence Corporation)

2014 – Present

Director of Engineering

  • Oversee Salesforce and web developer teams
  • Engage the Salesforce Foundation on project management and business development

Business / Technology / Compliance Consultant

2004 – Present

Provide consulting services to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises with a focus on the implementation of appropriate technological, communications and process improvements designed to increase end-user productivity, provide business intelligence, and improve customer engagement.

AIS Network

  • Completed successful FISMA Moderate and SOC2, Type II Compliance Audits by assuming leadership of the project, developing required processes/procedures and performing GAP Analysis
  • Continually generating revenue by creating successful RFP Responses and proposals that include winning technical designs and prices strategies
  • Led migration dozens of state agency web sites/applications from incumbent hosting provider to AIS Cloud Infrastructure through agile project management
  • Productized ad hoc services to better define value proposition and generate revenue

Intelishift Technologies

  • Closed contracts valued at over 5 million dollars by creating successful RFP Responses
  • Engaged to provide compliance consulting services
  • Engaged to design future product and service offerings

RedRover

  • Vice Chair of the Board
  • Advise on strategic direction of the organization
  • Advise on ongoing governance
  • Maintain fiduciary duty to protect the organization’s assets
  • Advise on technology strategy
  • Previous: Secretary of the Board

ACT

  • Reduced department costs by 40% through the termination/consolidation of costly network and voice contracts
  • Achieved 99.99% uptime Active Directory, Exchange, Campus Management Student Information System, and SharePoint by overhauling server and network systems
  • Achieved 99.99% uptime for computer labs by implementing Virtual Desktop solutions
  • Increased weekly call volume 100% by designing new targeted marketing strategies that aligned across all mediums

Hisaoka Public Relations

  • Advised leadership regarding technology strategy
  • Provided assessments to guide company in technology purchasing
  • Provided ongoing systems support for servers and storage

 

Treman Falls Productions, Chicago, IL

2005 – 2010

Co-Founder

Treman Falls Productions focused on creating reality programming aimed at having a positive social impact. TFP conceptualized and pitched RALLY!, a show dedicated to changing lives and communities one school at a time.

  • Awarded 2nd place in pitching contest at NATPE 2009
  • Pitched show to senior decision makers in reality television for ABC, CBS & FOX
  • Pitched to many 2nd tier players such as Discovery, NatGeo, Scripps

 

Optimal Networks, Gaithersburg, MD

2003 – 2004

Director of Network Services

Named Director of Network Services three months after being hired as a network administrator. Reported directly to the Chief Operating Officer and led team of 7 to 12 network engineers.

  • Specialized in managing projects related to the acquisition, optimization, and standardization of new client networks
  • Project management leader on complex network upgrades and migrations
  • Acted in Sales Engineering role in presentations to key potential customers

 

Loral Cyberstar, Gaithersburg, MD

1999 – 2003

Director of Core Networks (2001 – 2003)

Principal engineer in creation of products, feature sets, security, testing and product documentation. Heavily involved in creation of business development, sales and support processes for new product lines.

  • Delivered streaming multicast media content over the ClearStream hybrid satellite/terrestrial network with 99.9% packet success rate by designing robust server infrastructure based on Windows Media Servers and Network Appliance caching
  • Reduced budgetary expenses by $250,000 through the negotiation of aggressive hardware contracts for the CORE Network infrastructure
  • Acted in Sales Engineering role in presenting new technology product offerings to key potential customers such as Lloyd’s TSB, MCI Worldcom and NASDAQ

Manager of Information Systems (2000 – 2001)

Reported directly to Chief Operating Officer. Granted full business authority to manage worldwide engineering team and repair failing systems.

  • Reduced budgetary expenses by $200,000 by re-negotiating European Information Systems consultant contracts
  • Provided clear departmental vision and goals by creating tan Information Technology strategy that aligned with the current organizational business goals
  • Stabilized the worldwide infrastructure by leading the Information Technology projects including implementation of Storage Area Networks, server consolidation and complex worldwide network upgrades

Systems Administrator (1999 – 2000)

Independently re-designed and repaired failing LAN/WAN systems. Managed projects to implement basic workflow/helpdesk systems and supervised local Information Systems team.

  • Managed full Information Technology shutdown of closing remote offices and managed migration of services to corporate headquarters
  • Managed and maintained Lawson financial system

 

The Strand Cybercafé, Baltimore, MD

1995 – 1999

Founder / Owner

Conceptualized, designed, owned, and operated a successful CyberCafe named by USA Today as one of the top ten in the United States.

  • Achieved 10 – 12 percent profit margin on over one million dollars in sales
  • Exceptional press coverage including write-ups in USA Today, the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Business Journal and Style Magazine
  • Pioneered online catering order system via company website using Cold Fusion
  • Wrote full business plan with industry analysis, design abstracts and financial projections
  • Responsible for all aspects of financial accounting

Rally

Rally One Sheet

The scene – Standing at an educational conference outside of a hotel in Florida mixing with the other attendees. While standing in line to grab a drink, it occurs to me that someone should produce a television show that does for America’s public schools what Extreme Makeover: Home Edition does for people’s homes.

First, I made a few calls because many ideas cross my mind. I find it useful to run them by friends and family as a sounding board. It helps make sure I am grounded in reality and that an idea has merit. After some positive feedback, I called my good friend and the only freelance producer I know with the ethics and expertise to help make it happen – Sandy Gordon.

Over the course of 5 years, Sandy and I, with no prior experience writing and pitching shows, managed to

  • Start a production company (Treman Falls Productions)
  • Pitch to the heads of reality TV for every major network except NBC
  • Win second place in a pitching contest at NATPE 2009
  • Meet Ed Sanders of EMHE and meet the production company behind the show
  • Pitch to numerous cable stations
  • Elicit the support of Microsoft / Chicago Cares / The Hands On Network & others
  • Gain a lot of interest after pitching at the Great American PitchFest

I have posted some of the materials I designed for the show. The first link will bring up the one sheet for Rally. The second will bring up the one sheet for a shorter, more cable friendly version of the show called Design With Class.

Sandy produced this video prior to the pitch at NATPE 2009.

The Strand Cybercafe

StrandLogo-001-300x200The road of my career began in the recording industry – recording studios, musicians, albums, jingles – the whole shebang. Later, it evolved into teaching digital recording and engineering.

Like most people that teach, I discovered the old adage about ‘teaching because you love it and not for the money’ certainly holds true.

Fiscal forces nudged me take on a “corporate” gig. In the timeline of life, we’re now standing in the early 90’s right at the beginning stages of the Internet boom (or bubble – depending on your perspective).

And then it happened, someone in corporate America decided I should be one to figure out how to digitally transfer audio files from my studio to the studio in Atlanta where the editing/animation for the videos. They gave me a T1, a computer and…..well, that was pretty much it. At some point I am sure I uttered the words “the Inter-what?”

It did not take long for the fascination to set in. One of the producers and I quickly became very interested in this Internet phenomenon and its potential impacts on society. We read everything from “Being Digital” to “The Future Does Not Compute” searching for a clear vision into the future.

One day over lunch the conversation spiraled downward. Call it the mood, call it the food court pizza, but today the Internet did not stand a chance. Convinced the Internet would destroy society as we know it, the man across the table from me said these words: “You know, the problem is that we never use computers in a social setting….that’s why I want to open a coffeehouse with computers in it”.

The food court went silent in my head. I looked at him – “What did you just say?” He repeated himself. My response – “Well, that’s the best idea I have heard today – let’s do it!”

And out of that conversation grew The Strand Cybercafé. From the beginning, I set out to create a restaurant that integrated technology as an image and a social service. I did not set out like many of my bright-eyed competitors to make money on renting computer time. That model would not last.

Instead, I wanted to create a true café atmosphere reaching back to the European cafes of old where people gathered to interact and engage. My dream – that my customers would engage the technology as well as the people. I wanted to help prepare people for the future I saw coming.

Insofar as the business, a leader with no real prior restaurant experience managed to fund, design, build out and launch a restaurant on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD. To say I had help would be an understatement – many people along the way took their talents to new heights to help make this dream come true. I sought out people who saw the vision and wanted to invest and immerse themselves in the project.

USA Today named The Strand Cybercafé one of the top ten in the nation and we were on the road to over a million in sales with a 10 to 12 percent profit margin. Not bad street cred in an industry with a 60 percent failure rate (numbers vary wildly on this – some say as high as 90 percent).