My professional life started in the power generation industry. For the first half of my career, I operated nuclear power plants, installed fuel cells, fixed instrumentation and control systems, and kept natural gas flowing to millions of customers. I was proud of my work, but I wasn’t happy.
My “Road to Damascus” moment came while I was completing my MBA. Mark Rosewater, the lead designer for the game Magic: The Gathering, held a contest for a game design internship in 2006. I was not surprised that I was eliminated in the second round; I had been in and out of the game for a while. What surprised me was the magnitude of the disappointment that followed. That is, I was advancing in my career field and making good money in a stable industry, but I was genuinely upset that I had lost a 6-month internship in a volatile industry. It made me rethink my career, and helped me to realize that I was going in the wrong direction.
In the years that followed I reignited the love of art, design, and games from my childhood. I volunteered at game conventions and discovered the joy of European board games. I started learning 3D animation, and I began developing video game reviews on YouTube. I learned to use Photoshop and sold artwork at gaming convention. Professionally, my technical aptitude in instrumentation allowed me to transition into technical training and adult education. I pursued a second master’s degree in educational technology, and soon moved into instructional design. I took courses in virtual world education, games and simulations in education, and edutainment.
Today, it is at the intersection of games, education, and art that I’ve found my home. I took the long way around to get here, but I think it was worth it.