This is an ongoing project. Just trying to remember some highlights for many of the milestones in life. I plan on going back and writing some more in-depth posts for many of these bullet points.
- I was born in Charleston on July 1st, 1967, WV to Roger and Mary Helmick
- “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;” – Jeremiah 1:5
- I’m one of two children, my sister Debbie is 6 years younger than me.
- My parents have been married now for 47 years!
- 1967 was an interesting year in history
My Dad, Roger
My father grew up in Parkersburg, WV, was an Eagle Scout, served in the Navy as a radioman from 58-61, and afterword worked at Parkersburg Steel as a draftsman. When that plant closed in 66 he was invited to move to South Charleston, WV (Massey Circle) to work at Swain Steel in Charleston, Swain was later aquired by Kanawha Manufacturing. Dad just retired from there in 2010, having worked there for 30 years as a draftsman, structural steel engineer, and estimating engineer.
My Mother, Mary Sue
My mother grew up in Parkersburg, WV as well, was going to business college and met my dad in a church choir. She worked full time for 5 years for the WV American Baptist Convention, and continued to work part time from home for their senior staff for a number years while raising us kids full time. Years later, my mother and I enjoyed the privilege and experience of working together in several of our technology and internet businesses.
My Sister, Debbie
My sister is twice as smart and twice as hardworking as I am. She had a ton of allergies growing up and has endured more needle shots than 100 people – that’s probably what’s made her so strong. She’s got a broadcast communications degree and worked in television for a while, and for the past several years, she’s found a new career in medical malpractice insurance; has gone back to college to get her accounting degree; and is the office manager for the WV Physicians Mutual Insurance Company – the largest provider of malpractice insurance to physicians in WV.
- Lakewood Elementary 1st-6th grade
- Loved walking to school with friends, ~ one mile from our house in St. Albans, WV
- Enjoyed Cub Scouts and met one of my lifelong best friends
- Mom kept every report card and class photo in a scrapbook
- Wild and wonderful West Virginia
- Mr. and Mr. Taylor’s love and leadership in Boy Scouts
- Hayes Junior High, 7th, 8th and 9th grade
- Liked to ride my bike to school, ~ two miles
- Awesome suspension bridge over Coal River to cross to get to school
- First ever school shooting in WV happened at Hayes 1 year earlier
- Didn’t like junior high, was a geek, didn’t fit in with crowd.
- Liked Rocket Club and Chess Club, enjoyed shop
My First Computer – Commodore Vic-20
- Big decision for a young boy… the Timex/Sinclair z80 or the Vic-20
- Learned BASIC programming from books at the library months before getting the computer
- Wore it out… got the tape cassette, 16k memory expansion card, a 300-baud modem and serial dot-matrix printer
- My day put in a 4-outlet, three-prong, grounded outlet, with a master on-off switch for me in my bedroom!
- I programmed games, sound, graphics routines, telecom programs, and even learned 6502 machine code.
High School – Red Dragons
- Graduate of St. Albans High School, 1985
- Junior year – took first computer class ever offered at SAHS, (BASIC on Atari 800) got an ‘A’
- Senior year – took Turbo Pascal class, IBM PC, dual floppies, line editor and (!) full screen editor, got an ‘A’
- Took bus to school most days, had one friend with a car who would drive me in pretty often which was very cool – hardly anyone I knew had a car in high school
- Mom taught me to drive in a standard shift volkswagen in the school parking lot
- Loved my friends in Young Life – huge part of my high school experience.
- Made friends with some super smart college-bound seniors who got me thinking about college for the first time
- Took a leadership class, learned about goals, plans, priorities, motivations – absolutely loved it.
- Took the college-prep advance placement english/writing class – very hard – but ended up being one of the most equipping classes I’ve ever had.
My Second Computer – Commodore 64
- I think Dad wanted it as much as me – but it ended up in my room!
- Unreal power compared to the Vic-20… Oh what you could do with 65,535 bytes of RAM!
- And 40 characters across the screen!
- Upgrades to a single sided, 5.25 floppy disk drive, 1200 baud modem, and an epson, parallel-port 80-character/line dot matrix printer!
- Hacking, cracking, coding, gaming, and endless learning of everything electronic, telecom, programming and computer…
Young Life & Windy Gap, NC
- Awesome Christian fellowship and fun
- Close friends, great leaders, fellowship
- A great way to help young people come to know Christ as their personal savior; grow in their knowledge and love of the Bible; and enjoy some good, clean, fellowship and fun.
- Young Life has a few, incredibly awesome, high-adventure camps. I got to go to Windy Gap, NC – horses, motorcycles, hiking, zip-lines, lakes, pools, tons of games and fun skits, and heart-moving talks in the evening. Great leadership – over xxx kids attend a YL adventure camp each year.
Off to College…
- Major in Computer Science
- West Virginia University Institute of Technology
- Failed Calculus I and II
- Learned that if I didn’t do my homework, I didn’t get the grade
- My first big social experience – learned I love to connect with people
- Excelled at English, Writing and Programming
- ROTC – Duty and Discipline
True North… My Basic Training Army Experience
- Joined WV Army National Guard, Federal & State Missions, 1990
- Completed Light Infantry BASIC Training, Fort Dix, NJ
Back to School… West Virginia State University
- Graduate of WV State University, Two Degrees, 1990
- AAS in Computer Science, AAS in Electronic Engineering
- Pursued Bachelors degree in Marketing, WV State, 160 hrs
1990: My First Business
- Founded Spectrum Technologies in 1990
- Built Spectrum Technology to $900,000/year business in 1994
Exceptional Army National Guard Experiences
- Served as a Tactical Communications Chief, 31V, 107th ACR
- Served as an Armored Calvary Scout, 19D, 107th Armored Calvary
- Distinguished Honor Graduate, 31V, www.army.mil Fort Sill, OK (1st of 400)
- Distinguished Honor Graduate, Primary Leadership DevelopmentCourse (PLDC), Fort Jackson, SC, (2nd of 200)
- Received 1 Army Commendation and 2 Army Achievement Medals
- Completed Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) Recon Training
- Received Honorable Discharge, United States Army, 1996
1994: My Second Business – Opportunity Knocks
- Co-Founded CityNet Corporation, 1994, WV’s First Internet Provider
1995: Venture Capital Experience
- Served as President of CityNet from 1994-1997
- Sale of CityNet 1997 to City Holding (a $3.4B Bank Holding Co.)
- CityNet’s Regional Network Map
1996: My Third Business
- Founded DataCorp Communications, Inc, 1995, Bell-Atlantic Agency
- DataCorp selected as one of top-performing WV sales agencies
- Completed Leadership Charleston Course, Chamber of Commerce
1997: Executive Experience: Hired Gun
- Joined the CornerStone Technology Group as Executive Director of Marketing in 1997 – Served under first ownership group until 2000
- West Virginia Executive Magazine: Recognized as Young Gun 2000
- CornerStone has substantial revenue growth to $10M, 1997-2000
- CornerStone Technology Group sold to new investor group, 2000 With related corporate acquisitions grows to approx 100 employees
- Promoted to President & CEO CornerStone Technology Group, 2000
- DataCorp’s AT&T Agency opens door to $10M of global provisioning of high-capacity data services from 2000-2002
- Responsible for leading corporate restructuring, mergers, acquisitions, turnaround and concluding workout with CornerStone Technology Group and various investor group assets, 2000-2002.
2000: Insights from Y2k Experience
2001: Insights from the .Dot.Com Crash
2002: My Fourth Business – Trusted Advisor
- Founded Premier Strategies, LLC in 2002, managing member of a Business Brokerage and Management Consulting Firm
- Accepted as member of International Business Brokers Association
- Served as President of Business Networking International, 2005 for the West Virginia Founders Chapter, Charleston, WV
- Active Member of the Charleston Rotary Club 7550
2004: Finding my soulmate Kristen!
2004: WV Organization Leadership
- Selected to serve as the Acting Executive Director (2004) of the West Virginia Venture Connection to assist Senator Jay Rockefeller’s initiative in it’s first year launch.
- MATRIC – Mid Atlantic Technology Research and Innovation Center Served as MATRIC’s Executive Director of Commercialization, 2004
- Currently serves on the board of Mid-Atlantic Holdings a commercialization portfolio for MATRIC spin-off companies
- Recognized Who’s Who in WV Business 2004 – State Journal – Video
2006: Wedding Bells 🙂
2006: Being and Inventor, The China Challenge
- Inventor of Chat Cable, LLC, Voice-Over-IP headsets
- Much harder to gain national retail distribution than envisioned
- Challenged to maintain product innovation after release of iPhone
- Learned a great deal about product/mfg/distribution business
2007: Internet News & Media
- Founded and led the national expansion of investor-led internet media company, StateNewslines.com. The company operates a portfolio of 100 interactive media properties and 50 mobile applications. StateNewslines continually indexes over 10,000 local news websites and provides local news/sports/political websites in each state.
- Served on the state board of directors for WV’s Public Relations Society of America chapter
- Launched a new statewide and local press release service, StateNewsWire™, in all 50 states serving public relations professionals by providing an inexpensive way to distribute their news releases to local journalists and reporters.
- Led the business through it’s initial software development, it’s state, regional and national launch, and through it’s readership expansion of web and mobile subscribers nationwide. Also led the company through very challenging times, through the US market crash and subsequent decline to it’s opportunity to capture adequate national/state/regional advertising sales opportunities.