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A Savvy Bunch.

Each of our instructors have led successful careers in information technology starting as corporate team members, progressing into consultants and finally graduating as business owners. Representing nearly 50 years of combined past experience in industry; today they share a common passion to mentor future IT professionals.
greg-steirer-refactor-america-instructor
I was raised in an entrepreneurial home.  My Father built swimming pools for most of my life.  Between working in the pool business and going to school, I had little free time, but what time I had, I devoted to electronics, computers and tinkering about.  In the early grades I played with computers and robotics.  Once I entered high school, I focused heavily on the electronics side of things, until around my sophomore year I interned at Sun Microsystems for a semester.  This opened the floodgates of my interest in computer software development.  With a new found passion and work ethic that I had earned in the pool business, I was eager to have a career in computer programming.  I decided that I would not go to college and see what I could drum up on my own.

Almost 3 years later, I landed a telephone support job with AST Computer.  They were a billion dollar enterprise, and as luck would have it, the ‘world wide web’ had just become public domain.  I quickly ramped up and became AST’s first web developer, along with the relatively few that existed in the world at that time.  After developing dozens of websites, intranets, portals, and miscellaneous utilities, I decided to leave AST and venture into consulting with a financial services firm.  This really opened my eyes to how beneficial web-based software applications were to business.  After developing several large applications, I decided to launch my own business.

It has been over 12 years now that I have been in business for myself writing web-based software.  I have created hundreds of small applications, dozens of large applications, and I regularly experiment with the latest technologies.  During this time, I have helped many people wanting to get into this field – people who were either unaware of what to study, where to start, or what type of software they should use because their schools did very little to show them the way.  It saddens me that America is losing manufacturing jobs and has not prepared our youth for the countless opportunities that exist in the computer technology space.  For this reason, I am proud to be a part of Refactor America, so that we may help anyone that wants to become a web developer and secure their future as a new American Technologist.
 
mark-mcconnell-refactor-america-instructor
Upon successfully graduating from high school, I assumed that I would eventually follow a traditional career path that included college. Prior to moving down that path, I took a two year hiatus where I traveled through the Caribbean and Europe working on sailboats. As exciting as those journeys were, I traded them for the opportunity to work two part-time, minimum wage jobs to support myself while attending college.

While going to college and working, I felt a tremendous sense of unease. I was literally working and going to school for twenty hours a day, but I could barely make ends meet. I knew if I was ever going to finish school I needed a better job. I had an interest in computers and a determination to get a job working with them. However,  I lacked any computer experience, yet I remained resolute. After a year I finally landed my first job.

I now had a job providing entry level desktop support, and it changed my life. I loved the work and I was paid well. I had doggedly pursued this job to pay for my education, and it dawned on me that I no longer needed a degree. From that point on, I steadily climbed the IT ladder while growing my skills and experience. I have since held many types of IT jobs, from desktop support, to senior systems engineer, and now successful business owner. For every advance in my career, the key to that advancement has always been experience. The start of that experience was landing my first job.
 
stephen-jester-refactor-america-instructor
After graduating from high school, I was determined to follow the traditional path of earning my college degree and pursuing a career in the corporate workforce. I invested 9 years in obtaining two degrees while working to climb the corporate ladder with various sized companies. In between my Bachelor's and Master's degrees, I took a brief sidebar, both academically and professionally.

 

First, I enrolled in an 8-week certificate program in Entrepreneurship designed to teach you the fundamentals of starting your own business. Second, I took a position with a small, family owned business. The certificate program enticed me with the dream of becoming a business owner, but it was my time with the family owned business that allowed me to experience entrepreneurial fundamentals first hand and become deeply involved in the use of software to create business leverage. Ultimately, this opened the door to my first software consulting job.

 

Despite my years of planning and mapping out a corporate career, I suddenly found myself taking an unexpected left turn. I had just completed my MBA and had lined up two job interviews on the same day - one as a financial planner and the other, lesser known to me, as a software consultant. To my surprise I took the later. Nearly 16 years later, I have consulted with hundreds of organizations worldwide and started three successful companies. Hands down, the most valued assets along the way have been my personal mentors.

 
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