Like many in the IT and Information Security Fields, I started at a very young age (took my first PC apart when I was 8) because of a hungry curiousity of how things work. I wanted to know what each piece was an what its function was. I opened my first business as a break-fix model in 1996 at the age of 14. In 2001, I converted that business from a break-fix model to a Managed Services Provider and began offering Security services including pentration testing. Our clients covered so many verticals, Healthcare, Finance, Education, Industrial, Retail, Logistics, and Local Government. By 2013, I had acquired several other businesses and the management time had begun to take its toll. I was doing less of the fun, getting my hands dirty part of IT and Security that I loved and more of the endless managerial paperwork that I had come to hate. So, in 2013, after unrelated personal events, I decided to sell the business and get back into the fight. In early 2014, I moved out of state to work for a large Insurance company. At the end of 2014, I was offered a position with a large regional Energy company with 40,000 employees that I helped support. It was a contract position and the health insurance was abysmal. So, when I was offered another position with a small local municipality (700 employees) with excellent health benefits, I jumped at the chance. As things go in government, everything changed after the 2016 election. New leadership came in and 4 of the 7 IT employees (myself included) jumped ship. Since November 2017, I have been the Senior Information Security Engineer for Hibbett Sports, Inc. a U.S based retailer with 1,100 stores across 36 states and 10,000 employees. That's pretty much the story of me. I've been in this field professionally for 24 years and I am just scratching the surface of what is out there to learn.
The name. Why Neocount Phoenix? Neocount is a reference to one of my favorite characters from a book series that I read as a child. The book series is The Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman. I think I've lost count of how many times I've read that series. Phoenix is a little more of a tragedy tale. What I didn't tell you in my professional story is that the town the business was located, Milledgeville, Georgia, has lost 5 factories, 5 State prisons, the State mental hospital, and a power plant almost exclusively between 2011 and 2013. The other two factories closed in 2019. In a town of 56,000 people, that is a major economic hit. It was one of the driving factors to sell my business. During that time, I also lost several close friends as well as my father. It was a very dark time in my life and part of the reason I left the area. I "burned down" my old life and built a new one out of the ashes. That's where the Phoenix part comes in. It's a reminder that no matter how badly things can go or how badly they get, that you can always reinvent yourself and come out better for it.
So there you have it. All the things about me. Nobody special, just a guy with a passion for something and following that passion. When I say that I have played with a piece of technology or a product, I say it because, even though some consider it work, I consider all of it as play. If you do not love what you do, then you are doing something wrong. How can you give everything you are to something, if you don't love it?