While I currently reside in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, I’m originally from Indianapolis, IN. I’ve been in the D.C. area since 2000. Before D.C., I lived in Chicago, where I also went to college (Northwestern University). I played soccer at NU all 4 years, and have been playing since I was 5 when I was allowed to join my late, older brother’s team (the 6 year olds) at “Tab” in Indianapolis.
Quite a few years after “tab” I played for North Central High School, where we were ranked #1 in the state and in the top 10 nationally. Unfortunately we lost the state championship to Evansville Memorial my senior year. It was a bit of a tough day for all of us as we lost a good friend to a car accident on the eve of the big game. From there I played at Northwestern University and had a memorable 4 years of playing “D1″ in the Big Ten, one of my life’s dreams.
From day one, “the beautiful game” has always been a love of mine. I will continue to play as long as I can.
The name “Tchad” comes from the country, Chad in Africa. Though it is mostly seen spelled without the “T” at the beginning, “Tchad” is a French spelling and is the familiar spelling locally. Because of this mysterious, silent “T”, my name often raises questions and questions IQs.
Sometime in or around my third year of life, the name “Tchad” emerged from the obscure land of middle names to the forefront of the spotlight. For both my brother and I, my parents decided to switch our middle and first names. I believe this decision put my life on quite a different tangent.
My first indication that I was in for a wild ride with this “T” came in the first day of kindergarten during role call.
“Tookahad Blair? Tookahad Blair?”
“Um… it’s ‘[chad]’,” I replied as a thought to myself, “Wow! This is supposed to be my teacher? This could be a long year.”
9 to 5
My first foray into the corporate world was as a sales rep for one of the “baby bell” distributor companies in Chicago. While I caught on quickly and climbed the corporate ladder just as fast, I knew that the sales world was just a pit stop for me.
Working in sales was a good introduction in the working world. It represented the best and worst of this new place. It could be incredibly, almost unbelievably rewarding, yet at the same time, and sometimes in the same day, incredibly demoralizing. Overall, my experience was pretty rewarding; but was it for me?
After being rewarded for being a top producer in my first full year, the company asked me to move back to my hometown to open an office for them. While I wasn’t keen on leaving Chicago for Indianapolis, they convinced me with a company paid lease to a shiny new Lexus. “Well, if you put it that way, ok…let’s go!”
Well, again after my first full year of managing that office (actually in only 9 months of being fully staffed), my team was recognized for being the top producing distributor for the entire state.
So, this is the good life, right? Well yes and no.
While I was 24, driving a nice car, and probably making more than a lot of my peers, I was worried about the road ahead. My team was so efficient that I didn’t have to go out with them very much and I ended up sitting in my office a lot—bored out of my mind. Now I’ve always had a penchant for challenges and exercising my brain. This was certainly not what I envisioned.
Along comes an epiphany…view source
One day as I was sitting in my office in a stupor of boredom, I received an email from one of my friends. The email contained a link for a website called city-alert.com, which displayed some of the urban events happening in Chicago in a calendar format.
“Interesting,” I thought. “This seems like something I could do for Indianapolis—a way for me to help the fledgling urban entertainment scene, while also exploring something that peaks my curiosity. Now we’re talking.”
So, there began my journey to the world wide web. While I was at Northwestern, I learned the basics of the world wide web through my major courses, but a lot had changed since then. Fortunately, I didn’t have to catch up too much, I just needed to delve into it. I began to do what most people do when they first decided to reverse engineer a website—view source.
Of course I wasn’t able to jump right into a full time career on the web. Instead I decided to morph into it. I decided it was time to move to an area of the country that had a little more going on in the tech world.
Off to DC
I chose Washington, DC because there were a lot of ‘dot coms’ starting up in the area and it seemed more realistic than going out west. I also happened to find a company that needed a technical sales professional; someone that could talk the talk and close the deal. This company didn’t do much web work, per se, but they did do software. This was yet another new world for me, but it allowed me the ability to get involved in a technical environment and get closer to my goal of learning more about technical processes in general. This proved a wise step for me as the company had a hard time selling their software which targeted the quickly transforming ‘dot bombs’. The company ended up getting bought out and at the same time an opportunity arose with some of my former Northwestern colleagues.
I became the clear front runner in becoming the CTO of this new venture, called Avenus. (I learned a lot in a short amount of time. Plus I figured out how to talk the talk.) So Avenus took off and I quickly was immersed with designing the company’s site as well as some extranet sites for our clients. All I can say is, “baptism by fire!”
And so the transformation is complete… what next?
A Decade and a half of Design
After over a decade of studying, learning, designing, building, and developing several types of websites, I can say that I’ve seen a lot. There have been some growing pains along the way, but I can honestly say, at this point, there isn’t a website project that will scare me away. As ideas and technologies become more developed, projects will continue to test this resolve. I do, however, welcome this challenge.