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Decades of Software Experience Client-Facing

Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
January 29, 2019

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Mike Robinson

P. O. Box ***

Chickamauga, GA ****7


More than twenty-five years of mostly project-oriented software experience.

Usually dealt with then-unfamiliar existing systems having “highly executive-visible troubles.” (Triage, present-state assessment, strategy, executive approval, management & execution, deployment and turn-over.)

“Broad and Deep” experience with most programming, database & stats tools, operating environments from mainframe to mobile, cloud systems.

Strong and disciplined project management skills.

Excellent interpersonal and communication skill including negotiation and preparations for executive management & owners.

Most of my career path has consisted of stepping directly into a project that is right-now in serious and highly visible trouble. Although at the outset it is a completely unfamiliar-to-me situation, I can quickly step into a leadership role to, first, “stop the bleeding,” then assess the present-state of the project and to determine what can and should be done. After presenting my recommendations to executives and management for approval, I use my decades of experience to organize, lead, and sometimes directly participate in the resolution of the problem, and eventually to hand it back over to the existing teams who will be responsible for its future.

Because this history consists of diverse sometimes-overlapping projects over dozens of years, a traditional chronology would not be useful. Instead, here are a few relevant, typical, projects from the last four years which illustrate my role and the application of my technical and management skills.

InterSign Corporation – PHP application overhaul, security hardening, move to cloud:


InterSign makes hotel signs in Chattanooga, selling millions of dollars worth each month using more than 200 web-sites, all run by the same sophisticated software. All were being run using PHP-4 using one obsolete OS/X machine that was making ominous noises. Tasked with moving this to the modern era, I proposed four cloud options: AWS, RackSpace, “lxd” containers, or VMWare virtual machines running Ubuntu. They chose the latter. I then designed, deployed and configured the entire setup, then, with the help of other engineers at my direction and with custom software tools of my own devising, we set about rehabilitating the over 5,900 PHP source files, retrofitting them to PHP-7, hardening the application and using VPN tunnels to secure the admin portal. After many, many months of effort, “Go-Live” was absolutely flawless.

State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health – High-Profile SPSS® Design+Implement:


This department is required to make a comprehensive report and data-upload to the US Government once a year and had failed miserably to do so using Microsoft Excel (at the hands of genuine Excel experts). This upload integrates data from 29 sources – all different, mostly manual, and which change from year to year.

The politics of the situation were extraordinary, and justified. I worked directly for the head of the depart-ment, and, accompanying her, also met with her superior the State Commissioner on multiple occasions.

Working under this great pressure, I designed and built an SPSS application that would prepare and validate the file, allowing the components of any reported value to be traced back to their original sources. Purposely, I engaged staff-members in the development of those segments which were the departmental responsibility of each of them. I trained their staff to use and to enhance the system, which has been used ever since. Itwas an unqualified success: the upload was accepted as valid on the first attempt, as has (so I am told) every upload since.

ROSWorks, Inc. – Overhaul Perl-based “No Child Left Behind (NCLB)” Educational Testing System


ROSWorks, co-founded by Dr. David Mott, was a pioneer in NCLB on-line testing and developed an innovative way to administer op-scan tests using inexpensive fax scanners. He had secured testing contracts in four states. But their attempts to move to on-line testing during the same period did not go well. After the project was abandoned by its previous developer, my first immediate purpose was to actually bring the system to the state where it already should have been.

Next, I led a small team of subcontractors to overhaul their testing environment including preparations to move to mobile devices for this purpose, moving away from its previous base which had been entirely built for the now-obsolete scanners. I worked with school administrators in Virginia and South Carolina at various points in this deployment, which continued to use physical hardware owned by the company.

This project unfortunately was discontinued before it reached the point of technical closure that I had wished or anticipated, for reasons separate from the project itself.

The Little Clinic – Report Process Rehabilitation and Data Warehouse Process


TLC operates medical clinics in grocery stores. It is now owned by Kroger and operated as a subsidiary, but at the time it was independent. I worked on a number of projects with them:

An on-line peer review management system, HIPAA-compliant, written in ColdFusion.

Overhaul of (Crystal …) reporting processes that ran too slowly and produced inconsistent results. I created stored-procedures in MS-SQL to do the calculations so that individual reports didn’t.

Major contributions to an SSIS-based data warehouse initiative, including overall system design and construction of SSIS processing nodes in Visual Basic.

Interface between (ColdFusion) clinic kiosk system and medical records system, using Boston Workstation. I used my deep knowledge of programming to construct a reliable process.

Books-a-Million – Fraud Prevention, Reporting Overhaul, Terabyte-Sized Databases


At the time, the data-processing arm of Books-a-Million was a “company” called NetCentral, owned by two entrepreneurs who became executive vice-presidents at BAM but still held the name. They had constructed the company’s on-line presence in Linux, MySQL and Perl.

Created a fraud prevention system which could intercept and interdict fraudulent return attempts (a well-organized form of money laundering) in real time. This saved $300,000.00 in fraud-related losses during its first year of deployment.

Worked to overhaul many reporting and predictive sales-forecasting tools, all of which were custom-made in Perl but which produced inconsistent results, ran too slowly, or involved excessive locks.

Advised on makeover of internal data-processing activities using batch job technology in Linux.

Worked on the internal make-over of the web site while CSS consultants re-imagined the front end appearances. Closed many security holes that were preventing PCI compliance certification.


BS Computer Science, UT Chattanooga 1984, summa cum laude. William E. Brock scholar.

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