My name is Drew Kirkman. I’m 29 years old and I’ve lived in Kentucky my entire life. I’m a tech nerd and I like being inside. I enjoy meteorology, internet technology, wireless telecommunications, and ice hockey. My NHL team is the Nashville Predators and I try to make it to several games each season. I have seen 11 of the 30 NHL teams play live.
As for my life story, I graduated high school in 2006. Before then, I was a member of the first self-sufficient student-led technology team in school history. We developed the school’s web site (which still exists in a modified form to this day) and helped staff with their technical problems. By the time we all graduated, administrators realized they would be in a world of hurt, so they hired someone to do what we were doing. It was a very smooth transition.
After graduation, I did web development and business systems support for three years. I learned more in this position than I ever thought I would care to, and had a good time doing what I did. In the end, web development got really old and the company I worked for wound up closing its doors, sending its clientele elsewhere.
One could say the closing of the web development business was helped along by the January 2009 ice storm. One of my coworkers and I were stuck in our office for a week. In that time, we conceptualized a method to share emergency information using then-new social media services like Twitter. Our pet project, TriStateAlerts, was born from the ordeal. After the ice storm, business never really recovered and it closed in March.
For the spring and summer of 2009, after the web development firm shut down, I spent several months doing additional business systems support along with the admittedly more exciting network and wireless engineering. I had the opportunity to do a lot of really cool things, like virtualized hosting and wireless point-to-point links.
In October 2009, I was offered a position as the IT manager at a local CPA firm, which was fresh off a massive investment in technology. Immediately after taking the position, I started putting that investment to good use.
Starting in late 2009 I began working on new automated software for the TriStateAlerts project, which had evolved into a severe weather alerting service. The first version was an amalgamation of PHP scripts and cron jobs which turned out to not work very well. I switched gears and used a software package written in Perl for the data intake from the weather service at the last minute. I learned enough Perl in the course of a week to at least interface with all the code I had written, and finally brought the software online in March 2010. Soon after, local media showed an interest in having the TriStateAlerts software power similar services for their own viewers. Realizing the potential in what we had done, TriStateAlerts incorporated and started offering the services of our software, rebranded as “Weather4Me Alerts“.
Fueled by the excitement of wireless engineering, everything I had learned in 2009, and slight prodding from a friend, I tested for and received an amateur radio license in February 2011. Today, I hold an Amateur Extra class license, callsign KN9FOO (for KungFoo, my IRC nickname). My main interests are amateur radio’s relationship with technology (e.g. HSMM, Asterisk-powered repeater controllers, etc.) and I enjoy ragchewing on local 2-meter repeaters. I have also been known to operate PSK31 over HF, and as of late 2016 I have taken a keen interest in DMR after buying a TYT MD-380 and a Connect Systems CS800 mobile.
In May 2011, I was informed that the CPA firm I worked for planned on acquiring two other firms. I spent that summer planning and implementing the integration of three networks into one. After all was said and done, I orchestrated the installation of private data links between the three offices, the purchase and deployment of company-wide VoIP telephones, and the import of additional users and software onto our terminal services platform.
In June 2012, I accepted a help desk position at the high school where I got my start. The school district, by this time, assigned students the MacBook Air to use during the school year. The need was there for additional IT staff. It was certainly not sysadmin work, but there are myriad opportunities to continue what I started so many years ago. I figured I could make a bigger difference in many more lives in education IT.
Starting in November 2012, to coincide with the NHL lockout, I decided to buy a pair of hockey skates and learn to skate myself, with the eventual goal of playing hockey. I picked up all the required equipment over the summer of 2013 and have started playing developmental and pick-up games.
As I progressed in my job at the school district, I felt I was not going to be able to meet the goals I had set for myself anytime soon. In September 2013, I applied for and was offered the position of IT specialist for another school district. I’ve always wanted to work at the district level and have greater responsibilities to more closely match my ability.
In July 2017, while I was on vacation in Canada, my phone rang and I was informed that the network administrator position in another district would be opening due to retirement. I applied and interviewed, and my first day was September 1, 2017.
I’m currently engaged to be married and the wedding is set for June 29, 2018 in Covington, Kentucky.