I Solve Complex Problems For A Living
This is my “About” page, so you’re probably expecting to read a bunch of facts about me and a list of things I’ve done. You can find all that below.
But first, I want to tell you how I think about solving problems, because I believe that will give you a much better sense of how I would approach the job of being your State Senator.
I’m an engineer. Engineering is fundamentally about finding the best way to get from point A to point B, considering the constraints you have to deal with. As an engineer, you’re trained to break down problems — to examine them from all sides, to consider all options, and to think creatively and realistically to come up with the best possible solution.
My area of specialization is product development — which means I’m creating products that must solve a specific engineering problem and meet a quality standard, and also have to hit a cost and time-to-market target.
For instance, maybe I’m making a product that’s going to go into a military vehicle. It’s got to perform over extreme environmental conditions, and it also has to stay under a certain weight and within a certain cost per unit. So as an engineer, you’re constantly balancing competing interests, constantly working within the constraints that the real world throws at you. To make the best decisions and the right trade-offs, you need to see the constraints of the whole project so that you can find the opportunities for success.
Dealing with those kinds of challenges every day, you learn to question assumptions. Oh, you say we can’t do it that way? Tell me why. Sure, something may sound certain on the surface. But I've learned to not take everything at face value. You’ve got to really look beneath the surface, look for the motivations, and ask tough questions if you want to get to the best solution.
Unfortunately, I don’t see enough of that in our politics. For example, it’s too easy to say, “This will be good for education.” But will it really help public education? Or is that the statement just to cover up an attack on our public schools? We need to ask more questions to understand what our politicians really want to achieve in the legislation they promote.
That’s why I’ve been talking to so many educators — because I’m an engineer, not an educator. I know that if I want to really understand education issues, I need to talk to the experts, the people who are already on the front line, and understand what they know. Because if I can understand the issues from the way they see it, then I can look at root-level problems that are causing those issues and figure out a way to fix them.
I’ve talked to a lot of educators who said, “I just wish the state legislators understood this issue.” If legislators don’t understand, it’s because they haven’t taken enough time — or had enough humility — to talk to educators, to listen, and to understand. To me, legislators need to understand the concerns of our educators who work on these issues every day, and vote for legislation that helps educators do their job.
My engineering mindset is, if we’ve got a problem, there’s got to be a way to fix it. And if I want to help solve a problem, I have to investigate. I have to dig below the surface. I'm not going to take things at face value. I'm going to sit down with the people who have first-hand experience with the issues, I’m going to ask them questions, and I'm going to be patient and listen until I know the causes to their problems.
If you think we need more of that kind of problem-solving mindset in Austin, and less ideological grandstanding, then I would appreciate your vote.
A Little More About Me
Of course, I’m not just an engineer. I’m a husband, a father to two wonderful children, a son, and a neighbor. Here are a few other things I’ve done:
After graduating from Plano Senior High School, I attended Washington University in St. Louis, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
After college, I returned home to work in the telecommunications industry, initially as a manufacturing engineer, and to continue my studies at The University of Texas at Dallas, where I received a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
I’ve been employed as an engineer and product development manager since 1994. The company I work for, Sanmina, has a global manufacturing presence and I am part of that diverse global technical community. Locally, I’ve been actively involved through leadership and organizations in the community for over 25 years. My community involvement includes:
City of Plano Heritage Commission
Parent-Teacher Association, Plano ISD
Plano Masonic Lodge, AF&AM
Past Master, 2014-2015
Youth Sports Coach, Boys Soccer & Girls Softball
Dallas Scottish Rite
Soccer Player and Distance Runner
North Texas Masonic Historical Museum & Library
Officer and Board Member, 2004-Present