Senior Director of Global Technical Support and Product Development at IDERA, Inc.
Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?
I grew up in Athens, Tennessee. A small-town equidistance from Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Athens is known as, The Friendly City and it was a great place to grow up. My high school days were confusing to say the least. Growing up in the South, male, black and gay, was a challenge without any guidance.
I began my dive into the technology world at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville when I discovered I hated engineering; statics and dynamics blew my mind! After school, I moved here and worked a few odd jobs before deciding to create and open my own computer business. Mind you this was just as the personal PC was being adopted by businesses. My company, ME, would design databases using consumer-off-the-shelf software. And after completing their complete data entry and training companies on its ease of use, it was wonderful watching them flourish in ways the once didn’t seem possible.
I then moved into the corporate world on the technical support side because I love the interaction/combination of technology and user. I’ve worked in the information technology field for, communications, real estate, HR, healthcare, and software industries.
I currently work for IDERA, Inc. as the Senior Director of Global Technical Support and Product Development. Reporting to me I have two directors, nine managers, and 89 Engineers. We have offices here in the States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Australia and Japan. We are a privately held software company providing a comprehensive line of database and development tools to assist companies with monitoring, designing protecting their, “secret sauce”. We provide everything from cloud services, big data management, small footprint mobile development, and more. I’ve been with IDERA for a little over 3 years now working remotely; our home office is in Houston, Texas. So, when the pandemic hit and everyone began working from home during lockdown, it was just another day at the office for me. Granted it took about 18 months for me to get use to the work-from-home model. However now, I love it!
How long have you been living Fort Lauderdale?
I moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1989 until I fell in love in 1994 and moved to New York City in 1996 for four years. Then I decided NYC was not the place for me. In 2000, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, just before the nightmare 9/11 terrorist attack, and then back to Fort Lauderdale in 2002.
If you moved from somewhere else, what influenced your decision to move here?
After one GLORIOUS spring break here in sunny Fort Lauderdale in the 80’s, I knew this would be home for me someday.
What are your favorite places to go for a cocktail and/or dinner?
There are a ton of great places to go for dining and entertainment here. My favorite dinner locations would be, Casablanca Café (casablancacafeonline.com), J Alexanders (Redlands), Klutz, J Marks (www.jmarksrestaurant.com), Canyon (canyonfl.com/home.html), 15th Street Fishery (www.15streetfisheries.com), and Tee Jays. Depending on my mood, my favorite cocktail locations would be, DrYnk, Hunters, Rosie’s, and Georges Alibi’s (www.alibiwiltonmanors.com).
What cultural attractions are a must see for visitors to Fort Lauderdale?
African American Cultural Center (www.sunny.org/listings/african-american-research-library-and-cultural-center/2834), Bonnet House Museum, ArtServ (artserve.org), Stonewall Museum (stonewall-museum.org) and Broward County Performing Arts Center (www.browardcenter.org).
A friend is coming to Fort Lauderdale for the first time… Please describe the perfect weekend.
Well depending on the friends’ likes, for beach time I would suggest either Sabastian Beach (busy), Oakland Park Beach (nice, calm and quiet), Stonewall Beach (Pompano Beach). For nightlife, one might hit the Las Olas area and old downtown Fort Lauderdale (lots of different types of activities and the Roof Top bar is a must). Wilton Drive for a night out, which will usually require a late start to the next day. Some shopping on Wilton Drive and at Pride Factory (pridefactory.com) on 13th Street.
What are the best places to truly enjoy the natural beauty of the area?
The beaches, the Everglades, Los Olas and any of the local intercoastal cruises.
What is your favorite time of year in Fort Lauderdale and why?
Fall and winter! Humidity and heat are more pleasant, and while others are bundling up in the north, you can still wear shorts and t-shirts here!
What’s one souvenir to bring back for friends or family?
If you can resist eating it on the plane, a few mini key lime Bundt cakes from, We Take The Cake (wetakethecake.com) located just off 13th street behind the Pride Factory.
Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave Fort Lauderdale without…
Experiencing our wonderful beaches and intracoastal waterways, and of course, Wilton Drive!