Major: Computer science
Graduation year: 1997
Current occupation: Entrepreneur, investor
What sparked your interest in your area of study?
When I was in high school, I took a class on software development and was fascinated by it. I enjoyed taking on a large problem by breaking it down into smaller/reusable pieces and then formulating those pieces into a resolution.
Please provide a quote on the value of your or area of study.
Computer science at the University of Nebraska taught me to view large challenges as opportunities, and to capitalize on those opportunities through critical thinking and perseverance.
Tell us about the path you took to get to where you are today. How did you apply your education to get there?
I originally grew up on a dairy farm in northeast Nebraska, graduating from Humphrey St. Francis in 1994. My interest in software development led me to UNL and I graduated in 1997 after studying computer science and business for 3 1/2 years. Shortly after graduation, I moved to Scottsdale, AZ and utilized the programming knowledge I acquired from UNL to perform contract programming work for various companies in the Phoenix area.
My knowledge and work experience, along with my work ethic (acquired from my days on the dairy farm) then led me to become a business intelligence consultant working with Microsoft Consulting Services. In 2003, I founded InfinityHR, a cloud-based Human Capital Management platform. I served as president and CEO, leading InfinityHR through 15 consecutive years of growth before we were acquired by Providence Strategic Growth in the fall of 2018.
In addition to InfinityHR, my professional experience also includes being the founder and president of AspenIO, an AI-based provider of insurance integration services. Additionally, I have broad investment experience that currently includes investments in a wide variety of public and private businesses.
My education at Nebraska, coupled with my many other growth experiences as an undergraduate on campus, has been instrumental in my success. From serving as president of my fraternity, to serving in student government, to socializing on football Saturday's, these experiences turned a timid farm boy into a confident business leader that is intent on giving back to the state of Nebraska.
What experiences at the university helped you get to where you are now?
The rigor of the computer science program at UNL was an important factor in developing my perseverance in overcoming great challenges. Furthermore, I completed a ("senior") project for Sandhills Publishing which allowed me to put the programming knowledge I had acquired through school into a real-world, practical application. This project furthered my knowledge and confidence which resulted in landing a well-paid programming position even before I had graduated.
I cannot say enough about the professor I worked with on this project as he provided me wide latitude for exploring my interest in software development. It was this latitude and his encouragement that propelled me into believing that I could create my own software business and, ultimately, employ and provide opportunity for others.