My background is in technology (www.bobbickel.com). Several years ago, the company I was with, Bluestone, had been acquired by HP. HP eventually decided to shut the division down, and it was a pretty difficult time - one of those times where you take time to step back and say "What is really important in life?" At that time, I hatched a plan that I am now fulfilling.
There were a couple of basic themes to the plan. First, I wanted to figure out a way to give back to people like people had given to me. Second, I wanted to be directly involved with these things. Third, I wanted to "be local" - meaning doing something that I could see directly in my own community.
I came up with two themes - running and education. I had run competitively in high school and college. My experience at Bucknell University was particularly life-influencing. It taught me the value of working hard, and working together as a team. So I decided to become a high school cross country and track coach. I've actually done this for the past several years at Moorestown High School. To go along with that, I wanted to make running something that was more pervasive in our community - so that more people could benefit from running and teamwork, just like I did. I also wanted to test out a change of career to move into teaching math at the high school level.
I set this little plan in motion back in 2002. I started doing part-time, volunteer coaching. I enrolled in a Master's degree program in Education at The College of New Jersey. I also continued to work hard in the technology business - eventually joining JBoss full time for a couple of years. When Red Hat acquired JBoss in 2006, I shifted my attention back to the plan.
Right now, I am deep in the plan. Here is the status (and I will write more about all of this as time goes by):
- I am still a volunteer assistant coach at Moorestown High School - helping Lorenzo Eagles with the distance program there. We have an amazing team of guys that work very hard and keep getting better and better.
- I am student teaching at Northern Burlington High School - working with Lauri DiDonato and Steve Malcolm, two great math teachers who are showing me how to teach the right way. This is a full-time gig from January - early May. And it is a blast.
- I have decided that I want to teach in my hometown - Moorestown. But I am going to wait until my younger daughter graduates in a couple of years. So this provides me with a bit of time before I become a full time teacher. So...
- I am opening a running store. Dave Welsh, who owns the Haddonfield Running Company and South Jersey Running and Triathlon Company and I have formed a partnership to open a new store - the Moorestown Running Company. We are targetting mid-May for an opening.
- And I continue to work with a couple of tech companies on a part time basis to fulfill past commitments.
Anyway, those are the highlights. I will fill in more as time permits on the details...