Where I Came From and How I Got Here
I grew up in Laura, a small country town in the Mid North of South Australia, where my lack of sporting talent and a love of books fostered academic success and an affinity for the written word. The highlight of my largely unexceptional school career was scoring 19/20 for year twelve English, thus avoiding the famously dry vice-regal sandwiches at Government House a perfect 20/20 would have entailed.
Fascination with the way the world and its systems work saw me embark upon university studies in Philosophy and Computer Science, leading to a Bachelor's degree and a career in software development. In this role I found a talent for acting as translator between highly technical computer specialists and generalist end users, having a foot in each camp.
In 2005, with three young children, taking on a small manufacturing business was too great a lifestyle opportunity to pass up, and I continue to successfully run this business near Mount Barker, SA. As a diverting sideline, I also regularly proofread a local community newspaper.
Experience of mental health challenges awoke me to what evidence-based Psychology research had to offer and, having benefited greatly, I set out to learn all I could in this field, culminating in 2018 with a Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) from Flinders University. I aspire to resume post-graduate study in future, so watch this space.
In the meantime, I have been involved with Lifeline as a volunteer crisis supporter; I act as group organiser with GROW SA, an organisation providing peer support mental wellness programmes; and I chaired the Living Well (Mount Barker) Suicide Prevention Network. In my spare time, I do things with motorbikes, and mess about with making music - specifically guitar and bass.
Software Engineer, Manufacturer, Small Business Manager, Proofreader....
OWNER/MANAGER, TUCKAWAY ENGINEERING
2005 - present
Tuckaway Engineering is a small manufacturing business that supplies the popular Tuckaway Staple, a galvanised steel fastener for vineyard foliage wires. This role involves wearing many hats, from customer service, sales, procurement, employee relations, administration, invoicing, graphic design and marketing to the hands-on maintenance and improvement of unique mechanical equipment, product development and testing, and quality assurance.
FREELANCE PROOFREADER, BADGER PROOF
2011 - present
A weekly engagement by the Weekender Herald community newspaper, based in Crafers, SA, is the bread-and-butter work for Badger Proof. Other freelance projects include marketing magazines and a Psychiatry PhD thesis.
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT, TUCKAWAY ENGINEERING
2002 - 2005
Prior to taking on Tuckaway as owner, I worked in the business under the ownership of Tuckaway Staple inventor Jim Tucker and his wife Kate. As general assistant, I learned machinery maintenance and metal fabrication skills, and also explored new marketing and customer engagement strategies. My IT background served well in updating computer record keeping for the business as well as marketing materials design.
IT CONTRACTOR, UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
As a freelance IT contractor, I worked with the University of Adelaide's School of Education to implement an Optical Character Recognition system for scanning handwritten student course evaluation forms.
IT CONTRACTOR, WORKCOVER CORPORATION
2001 - 2002
Workcover's ageing workers' compensation scheme software system required specialist knowledge, and previous experience with their bespoke OriginPlus software development environment and end-of-life Tandem mainframes made me highly valuable in a Production Support role.
SOFTWARE ENGINEER, COMPAQ CORPORATION
2000 - 2001
Compaq (soon to be taken over by Hewlett Packard) were supporting the Tandem mainframe systems then in use by Workcover Corporation, so my Tandem experience translated well to work supporting card payment systems in several South East Asian countries for a multinational petroleum company. During this time I achieved Microsoft Certified Solution Developer accreditation with training in Microsoft's then current software development tools including Visual Basic.
SOFTWARE ENGINEER, WORKCOVER CORPORATION
1997 - 2001
Workcover Corporation's in-house information technology department developed and supported its workers' compensation scheme software systems. PC-based client software was developed in the bespoke OriginPlus (similar to Visual Basic), and COBOL server software and SQL databases ran on Tandem mainframes. I received an Employee of the Month award for my role supporting a Y2K bug-testing team in 1999.
SOFTWARE ENGINEER, CSC AUSTRALIA
1995 - 1997
Located at The Levels (now Mawson Lakes), CSC Australia's Adelaide branch specialised in defense and telecoms projects, and I was involved with neighbouring CelsiusTech's development of the Command and Control system for the Australian Navy's ANZAC Frigate warships. Working under stringent military quality assurance standards rewarded attention to detail and maintaining good documentation - habits which have served me well since. I came to take responsibility for the modifications to the system's user interface.
I have a passion for proactive mental health engagement in the community
(TRAINEE) CRISIS SUPPORTER, LIFELINE
Lifeline's training program for its Crisis Supporters (telephone counsellors) is intense and comprehensive, and involves ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and Mental Health First Aid components, as well as ongoing supervision and professional development. Answering calls from people who are in a dark place is challenging and rewarding.
MT BARKER GROUP ORGANISER, GROW
2018 - present
Grow's weekly meetings are free, require no referral, and are designed to allow ordinary people to support each other in developing their mental wellness and emotional maturity, using a collection of basic principles largely influenced by Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I have taken on the role of organiser for the Mount Barker group, which has involved training in the Grow Group Method and allows me to gain experience with supporting others in their mental health even as I work towards professional qualifications.
CHAIR, LIVING WELL SUICIDE PREVENTION NETWORK (MOUNT BARKER, SA)
2018 - 2019
The Suicide Prevention Network scheme is an initiative of SA Health through the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist and it is working to establish networks of interested community members in all council areas throughout SA. Living Well SPN is Mount Barker's network, and its goal is to provide the community with resources to help prevent suicide.
Academic Transcript available here.
BACHELOR OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE (HONOURS), FLINDERS UNIVERSITY
Supervised by the formidably intelligent Dr Julie Mattiske, my thesis looked at the relationship between conspiracy theory belief and negative emotions. I earned a First Class Honours degree, was awarded a University Medal for outstanding academic achievement, and received a Chancellor's Commendation.
2017 - 2018
BACHELOR OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE, FLINDERS UNIVERSITY
Over several years, I worked part-time towards completing the Psychology topics comprising a Bachelor's degree. I maintained a GPA of 6.75 (of a possible 7), and found a passion for evidence-based research methodology.
2011 - 2015
BACHELOR OF ARTS, FLINDERS UNIVERSITY
With double majors in Philosophy and Computer Science, I also studied English Literature and Education topics to round out a liberal education straddling the traditional divide between the humanities and the sciences.
1992 - 1994
“The world is full of people who are trying to purchase self-confidence, or manufacture it, or who simply posture it. But you can’t fake confidence, you have to earn it. If you ask me, the only way to do that is work. You have to do the work.”
The Confidence Gap: From Fear to Freedom