I was born in London, England and lived in Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand before coming to America in the fourth grade. I mostly consider myself from New York since I lived 8 years there, although since arriving in the U.S. I've also lived in Phoenix, Denver, Ft. Monmouth (NJ), and Cambridge (MA).
I was known as Jungle Jim as a cadet in West Point. I'd like to think it was because I went to Jungle School in Panama, but it was really a comment on my room inspections. I commissioned as a lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Corps and went to the Military Intelligence Officers Basic Course in Sierra Vista, AZ. My first assignment was in the Gulf War; here are some haunting images from postwar Kuwait.
High school teacher
I left the Army to go to MIT, but had a six month interlude teaching science and mathematics in Central Jersey Christian High School. This school was incredible! It was amazing to see how much young men and women can learn in a centered, loving environment. I cherished teaching there and nearly decided to stay rather than go to grad school.
M.I.T. and consulting
I began my engineering career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a teaching assistant for Steve Burns, whose ability to fabricate low-cost biomedical equipment for third-world countries sparked my interest in bioengineering. I became a research assistant for Elazer Edelman and developed mathematical models and instrumentation to discover how endovascular stents expand. Stents are essentially pencil-lead thick hollow slotted tubes that are threaded inside atherosclerotic arteries. Most are then expanded by a small balloon (although some self-expand) and remain permanently inside the artery to scaffold it open. They have revolutionized cardiac health care; although approved by the FDA for only a decade they already account for nearly a million procedures per year in the US alone. Unfortunately, their very popularity has brought many legal suits in an effort to monopolize the stent manufacturing business, and towards the end of my doctorate I worked as an engineering consultant for legal firms to prevent this from occurring.
I teach in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at VMI, a four-year college known for its engineering program and for its history of graduating military officers. Like the service academies, academics are the primary goal and cadets are taught in a military environment that fosters teamwork, confidence, and personal responsibility. Unlike the service academies, nearly all the faculty hold doctorates and average more than ten year’s teaching experience. I teach Circuits I, Circuits II, Signals and Systems, Digital Signal Processing, Senior Seminar and also advise many independent study projects including the ones shown here in pages created by cadets.
I've been married to Laura for about 15 years; here's my best friend (and best man) Frank Illuzzi as we waited on the church steps for Laura to show. Kevin James, our first child, was born on a very snowy morning in December 2002. We welcomed Ryan Christopher into our world on January 4, 2005 (vitals: 8lb 3oz, 21"). We also have Suzi, a Lab-ish stray that found us when she was about 4 months old. Laura and I are members of St. Patrick’s Church in Lexington, where I belong to the Knights of Columbus.