- On October 29, 2018
David Ray is the quintessential guy that says, “I can help with that,” and delivers. He began circling around theClubhou.se a couple of years ago, maintained a holding pattern, slowly zeroed in, and then landed with graceful footing. Meet David!
1: How did you come to be a member of theClubhou.se?
I heard of HackAugusta several times, but I felt intimidated by the notion of an elite ‘hacker’ group. Eventually they had a Python event, PyNight. I think this was the second one that they held. I attended and realized that the intellectual cost of entry to the group was much lower than I thought it would be and it was much less intimidating. It was a very welcoming environment. While at the event a member of the Booz Allen team showed me some fundamentals of Python and I was able to complete some of the challenges. After going to a few events I decided to take the plunge and make the commitment to pay dues.
2: Describe the moment you decided what you wanted to do with you life?
Growing up I didn’t have much going for me. I would spend lunch time in the school library just walking the aisles and browsing. I wasn’t a book worm, but I had nothing better to do. When I was in sixth grade I found a book where they go over electronic designs and schematics. Reading it and having all the information laid out in front of me was really profound. I kept notebooks where I would copy down schematics by hand with pencil and analyze them in order to try to somehow figure out what was going on. Eventually I would go to yard sales & book sales and I would just buy any old electronics text book I could. I still have many of them. When I joined the Marine Corps I already had a large background in electronics, but getting the training there and being able to spend all day repairing equipment and solving problems really helped out a great deal.
3: What do you do in your current work?
Currently, I am a Verifone Authorized Service Contractor for a company. I am a remote technician and I travel Georgia fixing cash registers and solving people’s problems in a van. Kind of like the ‘A-Team’.
4: What do you think that people would benefit most from?
You do not need permission to learn. I think it is super important for society that people understand that you can learn and do anything you want for next to free. By using YouTube and Google searches, you can learn anything you want. For as little as $10 you can take a class on Udemy.com. You don’t need a college degree for most things. You want to learn computer programming? Cool. Go ahead. Even things around the house. Your hot water heater is acting up? Cool. Go ahead and fix it yourself. Nobody can stop you except yourself. Worse case scenario, you waste some of your time trying to better yourself and time spent trying to better yourself is never a waste.
5: What is an expertise you have that you would like to share with others?
If I could somehow work it into my schedule I would love to have a regular group meeting where I teach electronic theory and we workshop ideas within the group. I really think that so many people have great ideas, but they don’t feel like they can build it themselves. The cost of entry to making stuff is not as high as you think it is. I know it seems intimidating, but everything does when it is new and foreign to you.
6: What projects are you working on in 2018?
At TEDxAugusta I was asked what I would ‘Venture’ to do in 2018. I committed to ‘Make & Create’ and I have been. Currently I am working on a type of mobile proximity alarm system for possessions and people. Before that, I built a crazy looking MIDI guitar with LEDs and stuff for theClubhou.se’s Technology & Craft of Creativity tent at Arts in the Heart of Augusta. Before that I built a messaging encrypting security appliance for your phone. Before that I built a battery powered mobile communication system that used radio waves to communicate between nodes as a mesh network for disaster shelter management. Before that I built a robot that can play music using handbells for TEDx Augusta. That has been just in 2018.
7: What are you interested in learning?
I really want to take the time to learn a lot more about PCB design and production. I am familiar with it a bit, but I want to get to be an expert at the whole process. That’s just something that comes with time and effort.
8: What is your favorite sci-fi movie?
Back to the Future: Part 2 – No contest. It is brilliant.
9: If you have not lived all of your life in Augusta, where else have you lived?
I grew up in the Columbia, SC area. Really a suburb in Cayce, but we moved around a lot. Once I was able to leave I lived in California for several months and in North Carolina for a few years. I moved to the Augusta area for a work assignment in 2009. The area has changed significantly in the past several years. Another ten years it may be unrecognizable.
10: If you could see one thing happen in Augusta in the next 5 – 10 years, what would it be?
With all of the growth in the government cyber community I really hope that we see the same for commercial cyber and tech as well. Yes we have some companies moving in. In the past years we had TaxSlayer, RSI, Meal Viewer, Weir-Stewart, and others set up shop right here in town. This is great! They are innovating in their fields. The questions are, is this the beginning of a great tech sector boom or is it where it is going to level off for years to come? Where are all the companies that want to create more innovation? Where are the investors that want to throw money at a safer, brighter future for every person? All the giant, tech-industrialized cities like Seattle and ‘Silicon Valley’ were built around commercial companies. Companies like HP, Microsoft, Apple, Fairchild, and Xerox built those cities into the model they are today. In contrast, the great ‘cyber’ boom is being created by the government’s initiative at Fort Gordon. If Augusta could create a great private sector tech boom in the next five years, that would be amazing.
11: theClubhou.se Core Values are: Risk Boldly, Honor Your Commitments, Be Worthy of Trust, Give More Than You Take, and Share Solutions. Which core value do you best exemplify and why?
Be Worthy of Trust. This one means a lot to me. I try as hard as I can to be honest at all times. Life is so much easier when people just know what you are saying is the truth. Also, in my line of work, if my customers feel like they can’t trust me I can’t work there. Never give someone a reason to think you can be untrustworthy. Even if you totally messed up, just own it. Things can always get better, but first you have to be honest with yourself and others before it can get better.
12: How has being a member of theClubhou.se helped your endeavors?
theClubhou.se helped me find a community. It first got me into coding and allowed me to network with dozens of people I would have never met before. Really, since I started with theClubhou.se I stopped all kinds of things that were making me non-productive. theClubhou.se has helped me find my inner drive again. theClubhou.se has also allowed me to participate in several of the events. In the past year I have been a finalist at Maker Faire Atlanta’s Innovation Competition, part of the grand prize winning team at the SouthEast Startup Challenge, I have been a featured exhibitor at a TEDx event, BSides Augusta, and several other events including presenting for the Governor of Georgia. It’s really a remarkable organization. I really hope that some people that might be interested in the group read this and decide to come to some of the events. It’s really a great thing.
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