1998 was an interesting year — it was the early days of the dot.com boom, and the world wide web was beginning to seep into the collective imagination. I was a new graduate of the University of Maryland and had caught the digital bug. Using my expired student ID, I purchased the latest versions of Photoshop, Illustrator and Pagemaker at deeply discounted student rates from the university book store and installed them on my Mac Performa 550, and committed to mastering them.
I had a degree in sociology with an emphasis on demography, but I did not want to spend my life crunching demographic numbers. What I wanted to do was work in communications—I’d come to love writing and editing, graphic design, and web development.
My job search came down to two offers on a single day: a position as a demographer at the U.S. Census Bureau and a customer service position for NPR’s little-known Public Radio Satellite System. The Census position would have made use of my degree, but the NPR managers promised that the entry-level position could lead to one managing their website. The salary was less than what the Census Bureau offered, but I knew what I wanted: I accepted the position with NPR. The next two decades would be defined by that decision.
At NPR, I was responsible for managing websites for both the Public Radio Satellite System website and NPR Satellite Services, which marketed surplus public radio satellite capacity to commercial radio providers. In addition, I designed and implemented several successful marketing campaigns, which included print mailers, display advertisements, and web landing pages.
After three years at NPR, I joined the International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 2001, where I served as Communications Coordinator. My work at the International Reporting Project included redesigning the program’s web site, incorporating digital video into the site, designing numerous print publications and brochures, coordinating events, and responding to media inquiries.
In 2005, I moved over to SAIS’s central Office of Communications and Marketing where I served as web manager and deputy director of communications. I oversaw a successful redesign of the website in 2007, led the school’s adoption of social media and created the SAIS events podcast.
With nine years at SAIS, I was ready to move on from Johns Hopkins University when a colleague at the Johns Hopkins University Kriger School of Arts and Sciences asked if I was interested in managing the web site digital marketing for the Krieger School’s part-time graduate school, Advanced Academic Programs. After some consideration, I agreed, and created an interim redesign of the site and migrated it into the Hopkins CMS, while working on a longer-term design solution with an agency. I also served on the central Johns Hopkins University digital committee, which was focused on deciding the next generation CMS solution for the university.
In 2012, I was recruited to manage the North America website, email marketing and social media for German software company, Software AG, where among other things I drafted Software AG North America’s social media policy. In 2013, I joined the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he established the Center’s email marketing program and brought marketing automation to the think thank space.
In August 2014, I moved to the Atlantic Council, where I served as deputy director of digital communications and interim director of communications. I was responsible for leading the Council’s digital team, as well as providing the strategic vision for the Council’s website, social media, and email marketing. As interim director of communications, I also managed the media relations and editorial teams and improved the Council’s overall editorial workflow.
In March 2016, my career came full circle when I was named the communications director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a journalism nonprofit that funds international reporting projects and brings journalists and their stories to classrooms around the country. Not only did I energize the Center’s social media channels, but I also redesigned its website, revamped its online lesson tool, and greatly increased the media visibility of its education programs around the country.
Besides my professional work, I co-edited the indie rock fanzine Restaurant Fuel from 1996 – 1999, released seven records and CDs under the Hub City Records label from 1998 – 2000, and was an early podcaster producing and hosting both the long-running Television Zombies podcast and the successful Call of Duty fan podcast, Joint Ops Monthly. Working with illustrator, Jacob Warrenfeltz, I contributed the short story, “Rolling Thunder,” to the graphic novel anthology, District Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington, D.C. Kirkus described the story as: “a tribute to Vietnam veterans told in a past/present narrative with dual, monochromatic palettes and a huge emotional punch.”
I live in Washington, D.C. with my wife, identical twin daughters, a neurotic elderly beagle, a terrier mutt who is prone to elaborate escape plans, a destructive beagle pup, and a Boston Terrier who is dumber than a bag of hammers.