Building a better world starts with the tools you have at hand (These are some of mine)

I work on the web

I'm not a front-end guy, not a back-end guy. I'm not a techie. I don't present at Javascript conferences. I just like to solve problems on the web.

And yes, I read Smashing and Sitepoint and get the web-nerd newsletters. I'm proficient in JS and SASS and PHP and MySQL. I use them every day.

But my focus is on helping NGOs, newsrooms, and other mission-minded organizations to understand and overcome their digital challenges and tell their stories across a variety of media. Especially those working in science, research, journalism, transportation, education, the environment, the arts, and international affairs.

And while that often entails hard skills — stuff like optimizing queries and parsing JSON feeds — the soft skills are just as important: talking through problems, questioning assumptions, developing messages, organizing workflows, making sure everybody remembers how to log in and reset their damn passwords.

So although I develop websites, I don't really consider myself a developer. I don't stack up to such specialists. I just have the tools that I have, and I enjoy putting them to good use.

Favorite Projects

  • Visual Thinking Strategies
    Visual Thinking Strategies

    This groundbreaking arts education group needed a better way to organize their data, communicate with their members, and spread the word about the vital work they do teaching critical thinking skills. Together, we rebuilt their entire online operation from scratch. I worked with them from content strategy through design, layout, and some highly advanced functionality — including a custom-built WooCommerce add-on that allowed them to profit from group user memberships. All along the way, we focused on solving problems for both their users and their own organization.

  • Downtown Spokane Partnership
    Downtown Spokane Partnership

    The esteemed Baroque did the design and I did the front end and the guts of this deceptively complicated site. The site is all smiles and sunshine on the outside. And indeed I customized the back end to make it as peaceful and harmonious as possible for DSP staff to manage the site on their own and continue to tell the organization's story, without developer help. But deep in the back end, the site does the hard work of consuming public data, merging it with in-house tracking information, and producing the accurate tax assessments the DSP needs each year to keep growing downtown Spokane.

  • Winston Wächter Fine Art
    Winston Wächter Fine Art

    I stepped in to rescue this project for a Seattle/New York modern art gallery that had been burned by a firm that had over-promised and under-delivered. Working closely together, we created a simple design and back-end system that properly highlighted their art and made everyday maintenance a comparative breeze.

  • Porch
    Porch

    As the marketing front-end developer for this exploding online home-improvement start-up, I built many sites, including their consumer and professional blogs (the former of which you see here) and their from-scratch customer pages.

  • Whitworth University
    Whitworth University

    To celebrate the 125th anniversary of this local institution, I worked with school officials to create a dynamic Wordpress site that incorporated content from a commemorative special-edition book and equipped them with tools to lead a year-round giving campaign.

  • Build Skyway West Hill
    Build Skyway West Hill

    I turned a Wordpress site around for this Seattle community nonprofit in just two weeks — including mobile responsiveness and a highly customized, multilingual community survey component.

  • Mas Pinet
    Mas Pinet

    I exchanged a week at this French bed and breakfast for the construction of a new site. Not a bad trade.

It's not just websites

I build a lot of full-blown, institutional WordPress sites, but I also love all the little one-off and project-within-a-project projects that allow you to re-contextualize a story, or break formats, or just push your skill set a little. And I always have a couple of side projects going.

  • Photo & Video

    To reacquaint myself with my high-school photo editor past, I spent 2012 and 2013 taking a picture every day for a year. In that time, I also dug into Strobist flash photography. My pictures have appeared in Pacific Standard, as well as in a couple of client projects. (I also shot and edited a number of small videos — and even trained staff in video production — during my time at the newspaper.)

  • Web Production

    I wrote as much as I could during my stint as web producer at Pacific Standard, but I also ran their social media accounts, devised quizzes, pioneered a podcast, and created interactive graphics based on the magazine's print features.

  • Data Processes

    For Porch, I devised an automated process for pulling customer leads from a database, sucking them into InDesign, laying them out as customized mailers and flattening them into PDFs. For the Downtown Spokane Partnership, I've come up with a system for parsing county property data and calculating assessment rates. (I love making data move.)

  • Fantasy Sports

    I created and run a fantasy sports site for the Tour de France and the other grand tours. The site was built from scratch in PHP and recently refashioned using Laravel.

I'm a writer

In 10 years in journalism, I covered science, development, politics, the arts, and booze. (Not necessarily in that order of interest.)

The synopsis

The good bits

I'm a language nut

I studied Spanish for six years and have put it to use from Washington state to Mexico to Argentina. I've now been studying French for almost a decade. I've also studied Italian, German, Dutch, and Xhosa.

I make sound

Sometimes a good story or project calls for great audio. I've produced three albums, all recorded in basements, bedrooms, or borrowed office spaces, so I know my way around a microphone and an editing bay.

Here are a couple of tracks from the most recent recording, The Filibuster (plus, one of the "Life in the Data" podcast episodes I recorded for Pacific Standard — complete with theme music!)

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I'm always learning

Some of the things I've been obsessing about lately:

I want to make the world work better

How about you?