My father and grandfather were coal miners in Virginia and West Virginia. My father was born and raised in the coal fields in Dante, VA, where his father worked. My grandfather left Dante when he bought some land in Russell County near Castlewood where he started and ran a working, self-sufficient farm for many years.
My father worked at the mine in Caretta, WVA for twelve years before getting a job at the Virginian Railway power plant in Narrows, Virginia. I was born and raised in Narrows, Virginia. I mean literally “born in Narrows”; I was born at home, not in a hospital.
My parents saw education as the way to a better life for their children. All five of my siblings and I had an opportunity to go to college, even though money was very scarce. My father never graduated from high school, but was well read and realized the value of an education.
My mother was a teacher when only two years of higher education were required. Upon getting married, she became a housewife and raised six children. When my father lost his job, my mother went back to teaching in order to feed her family. She foresaw that the day was coming when a person could not be a teacher without a four year college education, so she took classes during the summer at Radford College and graduated at the age of 44.
I graduated from Narrows High School in 1965 and went to the University of Virginia. I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering with Distinction in 1969. After working for a year, I went to graduate school on a full fellowship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York, receiving a Master’s Degree in electrical engineering in 1971.
Upon entering the work force, I quickly got into the emerging field of computer applications. I worked in Pennsylvania for ten years in the electric power industry. Then I was in California for twenty years working in the aerospace and semiconductor industries. I held various management positions and ultimately became vice-president of a small software company. While in the semiconductor industry, I traveled extensively in Asia, making multiple trips to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. I also started a company office in India.
In 1998, I decided to become an independent consultant/contractor, which I did for seven years. My consulting clients included Compaq Computers, Charles Schwab Company, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Tokyo Electron, and others. I also did work for software companies on-site in Vietnam.
In 2005, my wife and I decided that all the conditions were right for us to fulfill a life-long dream of moving back East. We now live in Pulaski County near Radford.
Since moving back to Virginia in 2005, I have started the first vineyard in Giles County, hoping to make it into a commercial operation. I also write bi-monthly columns for The Patriot, a local newspaper in Pulaski.
I have been active politically for many years. I have written letters to the editor, volunteered for campaigns, walked door-to-door, participated in phone banks, manned headquarters, hosted “meet the candidate” events, and contributed financially. I have worked hard for the Pulaski County Committee and attended Ninth District Committee meetings. I have campaigned tirelessly for all of our candidates, local, state, and national. I have been a delegate to state conventions, and I was a Delegate At-large for Virginia to the Republican National Convention in 2008. I am a member of RPV Chairman Mullins’ Chairman’s Advisory Council, as I was for John Hager when he was RPV Chairman. I attended the inauguration of Gov. McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bolling, and Attorney General Cuccinelli.
My wife of 34 years is a registered Nurse Practitioner. She served in the Navy Nurse Corps during the Vietnam era and then in the Public Health Service. She is now a retired Captain and is currently teaching part time in the Radford University School of Nursing.
I have two children. My son, an Eagle Scout, will graduate from Longwood University in May of 2010, and my daughter, a 4H All Star, is a freshman at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania.
I proudly serve as an Elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Narrows, which was founded by my great-grandfather.
I do volunteer work through Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley where I currently tutor a student who needs to improve his reading and writing skills in order to be promoted to supervisor. This is one of the most meaningful endeavors I have ever undertaken.