Name: Jerry Sutton
Profession: AVP Information Technology
Location: Jacksonville, FL (USA)
I am, at heart, a software developer though I am currently the AVP of Information Technology for Contractor Connection in my hometown of Jacksonville, FL. When I am not playing with the latest smart-phone or trying to become inspired to write code I read almost anything I can get my hands on from Pulp Era adventures to biographies of world leaders and everything in between.
I was drawn to reading at an early age, it was a passion of my mother and she encouraged reading no matter what the subject. I can remember vividly her refusing to buy me a toy I wanted and in the same trip paying more for a book that caught my eye than the toy would have cost. When I pointed this out was unapologetic in her support of reading over toys even if the cost was higher. Some time after that she bought me my first Doc Savage novel. A pulp hero of the 30’s and 40’s Dr. Clark Savage, JR. spoke to the hero I always wanted to be. I was hopelessly hooked on his adventures and the ideals of his life for the duration.
I always wanted to be a writer when I was grown up an I suppose I still do though I have never had the willpower or skill to really pursue that career. Somewhere along the line my grandmother shifted my destiny by buying me a discontinued Texas Instruments 99/4a Computer from Kmart for next to nothing. I was hooked immediately by the illusion of power that comes from being able to direct a computer to do what you want. I moved quickly up to a Commodore 64 (I had a TRS 80 at one point between I think). I discovered an ad a magazine and purchased a 300 baud modem for the C64. With this I was able to enter the world of Computer Bulletin Boards. The BBS world introduced me to new people and new experiences that would shape my future but none more so than the operator (we called them Sysops) of a board that, at the time was almost never up! This BBS was run by a hardworking self-taught programmer/hardware tech who worked nights and when he got home early in the morning he would take the system down to do maintenance (and due to the relatively bad state of software for Commodore boards at the time that was a full time job). I would try to connect and he would answer the phone and say curtly “Boards down..call back later.” On one of those calls we started to talk about the issues he was having and I asked if I could take a look at the software. This became my first programming experience. Troubleshooting that software in Commodore Basic was the start of my development career. More than my time at a local Community College or my years of work experience these few formative months were the basis for my skils and my passion for writing code.