Ben Bradley 13 January 2008
Soon to be the former Captain Bradley
After growing up in Barrow, Alaska, Ben moved to Pullman, Washington, to attend Wazzu and managed to graduate with a degree in Management of Information Systems. While at Wazzu, Ben also got married to his gorgeous wife, Katie, and joined the Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps which would ultimately lead him to Germany and Iraq. Ben’s job in the Army was as a Signal Corps officer which basically amounted to being a middle-manager responsible for the Army’s phones and internet.
He will be completing his current service obligation in late March and will be returning to the Portland area with his family.
What are you up to?
At the moment, I’m trying to chew through the mountain of paperwork associated with leaving the Army while at the same time not slipping into the attitude of not caring what happens since “I won’t be here when the ball drops.” One of the larger parts of leaving the Army is finding work. I went straight into the Army from college so I’ve never actually lived in the “normal world” and I’m finding that I don’t know what I don’t know.
I’m also trying to get back into the infotech scene. My time in the Army forced me to focus on other things (like IEDs and mortar rounds) so I’ve lost touch a bit with the state of tech. My current project is trying to tie together a website change tracker with GMail with Twitter so I can get updates SMSd to me when a website updates its content, RSS or not.
I’m looking forward to moving to the Pacific coast and while I have a few friends that live in and around Portland, I’d like to meet some new people.
What are you into?
I’m no theologian, but discussing religion is something I find very stimulating. It’s a rare occasion when two people with opposing perspectives can hold a civil discussion about those perspectives, but I’ve found that this is where the most growth occurs. I’ve also found that being able to admit you were wrong about something can be amazingly liberating.
While I detest politics I’m no stranger to a good geo-political and socio-economical debate. It’s tough to find people who have acutally done research on the issues and don’t just repeat what they’ve heard on CNN or FoxNews. A respectful debate between educated people who can admit when the opponent makes a good point is something I very much enjoy.
To counteract the high brain-power activities above I try to spend my down time watching cartoons with my family and playing video games.
What do you like most about Portland?
I hope that I’ll end up liking the people the most, but since I don’t really know a heck of a lot of people in the area I’d have to say that my favorite aspect of Portland is its proximity to the ocean and the mountains. I’ve come to appreciate the wild outdoors and Portland seems to be a great place to not only work and raise a family, but spend some time out and about in the woods or on the beach.
What was the coolest thing you did in the Army?
Taking 27 Soldiers to Baghdad and bringing all 27 home safely. My unit’s job was to manage the Department of Defense communications networks in the International Zone (a.k.a. the Green Zone) so it wasn’t really dangerous work. We weren’t cruising the streets of Baghdad and kicking down doors or anything like that. In fact, we only had about 4 or 5 actual combat convoys, but we averaged about two incoming mortar or rocket attacks per month. Through 13 months the only incidents we had was a couple stray rounds landing nearby and scaring everyone pretty good, but no one was injured and no one in my unit fired a shot in anger.
What kind of work do you want to do when you get to Portland?
Anything that will pay the bills and let me spend time with my family. I’d like to stay in the infotech management lane, but I’d be willing to relearn coding if it meant that I wouldn’t constantly be gone on business trips. I’ve come to learn that my family needs me, not the money I can provide them. Don’t get me wrong, money is important, but it’s not the most important thing in life.
My ultimate goal in life is to be able to own a small coffee shop where I can sit and surf the web, drink mochas all day, and host various group gatherings.