When did you first start traveling?
I started traveling when I was young. I grew up in Kentucky and upstate New York and shuttled back and forth from about the age of seven. That probably sparked my interest in cross-cultural experiences. When I was nine my family moved to Uganda for a year. I went to Nakasero Primary School in Kampala and it was the only time in my life (so far) that I had to wear a uniform every day. During that time, we visited the Ngorongoro and Serengeti game parks in Tanzania and fished for perch in the Nile. Many years later, I returned to Uganda and had the chance to go white-water rafting down the Nile and see my old school. A lot had changed.
At 13, I moved to France with my family and studied at a lycée for about six months. In college, I spent a semester studying in the south of France and traveled through Eastern Europe, Italy, and Morocco.
How did these experiences shape you?
All of that led me to the Peace Corps when I graduated from college. Okay, it was actually unemployment that led me to the Peace Corps, but my past made it an appealing choice.
Peace Corps was the beginning of my career in international development and public health. I spent four years in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) as an appropriate-technology volunteer. That meant Peace Corps provided a bit of basic training and tossed you into a village and said find something useful to do. I ended up capping natural springs and doing a bit of health education. It was a great job as I got to spend a lot of time in rural villages working with residents on something they cared about: clean water.
“I think what I have appreciated most is that JSI’s values have coincided with and reinforced my own: treat others with respect and do what you can to make the world a better place.”
How did you end up at JSI?
After four years, I realized that if I didn’t return to the U.S. I probably never would. I decided to move to Washington, D.C. and, through a couple of connections, got an interview at JSI. I started out as an entry-level staff associate.
How have you enjoyed your JSI experience so far?
JSI has been a great place for me. First and most importantly, it provided me the opportunity to meet my wife, Marti! It has also given me the opportunity to grow and do new things, including software development, supply chain management, and living and working in Nepal. I’ve had good colleagues and mentors along the way. In the end, I think what I have appreciated most is that JSI’s values have coincided with and reinforced my own: treat others with respect and do what you can to make the world a better place.
Did you expect to be here so long?
I figured I’d stay for a year or two at the most and then go back to the field. It didn’t quite turn out as I expected. But it did turn out well!