Well, by now there are a lot of friends, family and acquaintances with questions. Questions about where I’m going. Questions about what I will be doing. Questions of why. This will be a lengthy post. Let me start out by saying that I am extremely grateful you care enough for me and my family to be reading this. I hope this answers some of those questions.
Yes, it is true. I have formally notified Lenoir County Public Schools that I will resign from my Network Engineer position with the organization. Friday, January 18th will be my last day with LCPS. Over the last nine and a half years, I have enjoyed getting to know and building friendships with the many wonderful people at LCPS and I will miss many of them dearly. I have developed wonderful working and personal relationships that will endure.
I’ve always known I would do this. I just didn’t feel like it was the right time, until now. Venturing out on my own is something I’ve always wanted. It’s something I’ve dreamed of, longed for and thought about for years. It’s an idea I’ve shared with very close friends and family time and time again.
I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I find nothing more satisfying than forging my own path. Quite honestly, working for a government entity, as stable and comfortable as it is, has been a struggle for years. There are plenty of people that are completely content with that kind of career, and that is perfectly fine. I’m not one of them. I realized it years ago and I’ve finally found the courage to take action. With the support of my wonderful wife, my family and a few close friends, I’ve decided to venture away from the stability of a full-time position and jump to pursue my dreams. Scary as hell? Yes. Exciting? Absolutely!
What will I be doing? A lot more of what I’ve already been doing, and a few new exciting things. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with people, businesses and organizations for years to develop my skills in website development, digital marketing, social media, graphic design, e-commerce and information technology. What started with an “HTML for Dummies” book given to me by my father in the mid 90s (long before Facebook and Instagram) when he started EastLink Internet Services grew into a desire to create effective digital experiences. I intend to keep building these skills as I strive to help businesses and organizations connect with their audience, build following and drive revenue.
Almost five years ago, Franklin Floyd and I started Edge360 Creative, a web design and digital marketing firm. Edge360 grew out of a desire to team up with someone who could manage the day-to-day operations, project management and finance aspects of the business so I could focus on doing what I do best – make technology stuff work and look good. I had been trying to run everything on my own for several years and found myself focusing too much on the creative side of the business and not enough on building the business and effectively managing projects and customer relations. Thankfully, my long-time friend Franklin was the right fit and he agreed to come on board. Since then, Edge360 Creative has grown steadily, and we have had the pleasure of working with quite a few local businesses here in Eastern North Carolina. We hope to continue building on this success.
Several years ago, I ventured into the crazy world of starting several apparel brands with a couple of friends. I utilized my somewhat limited graphic design skills to teach myself how to design shirts and other clothing items for sell on various online platforms such as Teespring and Amazon Merch. We launched our Thin Line Style website in 2015 and have since sold thousands of shirts, hoodies and other items across the country. I approached my friends with the idea of buying them out of the business in the Summer of 2017 and they graciously agreed. In 2019, I plan to grow this brand and perhaps launch a new apparel line.
About 6 months ago, I saw a DIY Wooden American Flag video on YouTube and decided I would make one for myself. Once friends and family saw the first one, requests starting coming in and Freedom Works Flags was born. It has been such an honor to produce custom wooden flags for so many of my friends and neighbors over the past few months. There’s no other feeling like seeing someone appreciate the work you put into crafting a piece. It gives me great joy and this is something I hope to grow this year.
Just a few months ago, BJ Murphy and I were having lunch and kicking around the idea of starting a new type of media company that featured local news without popups, pay walls and subscription fees – things we thought were killing other news outlets. BJ has since acted on this idea and brought several amazing people onto his team at Neuse News. I really believe they have found a formula that works – accessible hyper-local news for the people. I’ve been in the background for quite some time assisting with technical issues and other items, and I’m looking forward to working more closely with the team at Neuse News and Magic Mile Media in the coming months.
Brandon Potter has been a solid figure in our community for years. We’ve teamed up a few times on some projects here and there, and I’ve always hoped I would have the opportunity to work more closely with him. The recent moves he’s made with Potter Photography & Design and in his personal life have made this more feasible. Brandon has welcomed me with open arms, and I am very excited that I will be more available to assist him in growing his business.
Without BJ Murphy, Brandon Potter and Franklin Floyd, I would not be in a position to make this jump and take this chance. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to the three of them for this opportunity and their support.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of my loving wife and family. Jessica has been my rock. She’s supported me through all the hard times and she’s been my teammate in so many amazing life experiences. We’ve done everything together, and her strength, grace and love have afforded me a wonderful life. I am, indeed, a very fortunate man. Our hope is that this move will put me in a better position to provide for our family financially, and give me more time with our family and our children.
My parents worked hard to provide everything I needed to be successful in life, and more. They have been, and continue to be, instrumental in my success with their love and guidance. They sent me out in to the world prepared for anything, and they have always been behind me, believing in me and encouraging me. I know I am privileged to have wonderful, hard-working, loving parents. I am extremely grateful for their love and support and my hope is that I make them proud.
It has been quite an amazing journey, and yet I feel as though the real journey is just beginning for me and my family. If you’ve made it this far, I’d like to thank you again for your support. I know your time is valuable and it means more to me than you possibly know.
To all of you that have offered words of encouragement, I greatly appreciate you. It is your kind words and support that inspire me to keep pushing forward. To each one of you that have supported me by allowing me to work with you on a website development or other digital marketing project, contacted me for IT consulting work for your business, or purchased a flag, shirt or other item, I am extremely thankful. Thank you for believing in me and helping me realize my dream.
If I can ever do anything for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. In the mean time, I wish you the best on your journey and I look forward to working with you!