My name is Tom Stewart and if you are viewing this then I have probably applied to work for you in some way whether that be a full-time position or a contract/freelance type of agreement. My life motto is “stay busy.” I am not a person that enjoys downtime. If I am not actively engaged in a project, I will be working on planning the next one. And when the work is done and there is nothing for me to do, I fill my remaining time with creative pursuits. I would like to apply this enthusiasm to focus on a project and work with your team to drive success for us all.
I enjoy challenges and a unique work experience. I am battle hardened with diving into complex environments and figuring out how they work and then finding ways to improve them for the company’s and customers satisfaction. My attitude towards getting great work accomplished in a speedy manor plus my background in large diverse (mostly Linux) system administration, scripting, automation, SRE best practices, make me a great asset to any team. I am a flexible worker that can work independently and achieve great results, but I also value and encourage a strong team focused environment for those times when things are not working well. It is paramount to have trust between colleagues that we can solve any problem together.
Blackboard, Inc – Mak II
I am currently working with Blackboard, Inc, as a Senior Site Reliability Engineer. Early in 2018, Blackboard made some organizational changes which shifted some very large and exciting mass communication platforms to the local office, and my former manager called me to see if I would like to return and help them out. I agreed, and here we are. I am now a team lead that manages 3 separate products, all Linux based. As a suite, they annually send over 2 billion messages (Phone, SMS, Email, Push to Apps) and continue to grow. All of these products exist in Amazon Web Services cloud and has granted me a wonderful learning opportunity. With the growing number of tragedies and the need for fast and reliable mass communication in the K-12 market, the focus was on my team to make sure this product performs above and beyond customer expectations. The only way I could see a team of 3 doing all of this, was by focusing on automation to reduce cost, toil, time to recover while adding smart tools and metrics to broaden our understanding of these applications and how we can tune them to be even better.
I worked at OmniTI Computer Consulting as a Site Reliability Engineer. At OmniTI, we hosted websites and databases for external clients on our own branded fork of Solaris/Illumos called OmniOS. From security patches to deployment to system life cycle, we maintained all hosting responsibilities. Being in such a unique environment taught me a lot of self-discovery skills, where there is not always a well-defined answer but I still need to resolve the problem in order to make our selves and our clients happy. I have also greatly enjoyed contributing and supporting an open source project that is used by many the world over. It gives me great satisfaction to see the community take off and build from what OmniTI has envisioned.
Before joining OmniTI, I worked for Blackboard, Inc., as a Senior DevOps/Systems Administrator within their K-12 Content Management Services Division, with my primary focus on five legacy products housed in a separate datacenter. At Blackboard, I learned a great deal and been taught how crucial up-time is to a business’s image and overall success. The environments I worked with supported thousands of daily visitors and users. This was a huge environment with many complexities, non-standard oddities, all with the constant threat of being a high visibility DDoS target. In my pursuit of keeping with Blackboard’s goal of near perfect up-time, I turned a hard situation into a great learning experience for me. There was barely a day that went by that we are not fixing some new issue, it can be very overwhelming at times as we were in charge of everything from server layer to storage to network and virtualization, but also extremely rewarding. I tell you all this because I want you to understand that I had taken this environment as a personal challenge to improve my own skills. To that end, I built Ansible, Python, and Bash scripts to automate the environment such as setting up LDAP on over 200 Linux hosts. I wrote a Python script that self-heals a flaw in one of our High-Availability file storing solutions. When I joined in July of 2017, I discovered their Nagios instance that had over 600 critical errors, I fixed all those issues so that Nagios was down to only 2 outstanding problems. When we repeatedly were taken down by DDoS and had no logging infrastructure to review what occurred, I took it upon myself to install Logstash and record all traffic, which led to us being able to defend ourselves much more effectively, while shutting down a lot of dangerous internal communication that did not need to be occurring. Within a few months of working in this position, I had become a primary source of knowledge and taken on a leadership role within our small group. There are many people that would look at a situation like this and run away, or bury their head in the sand and just wait until the product is shut down, but I reject that line of thinking. The only way to make my job easier was to fix the problems, nothing else would suffice and nothing else would meet the goal of providing as close to perfect up-time as possible. I look forward to the next challenge out there on my life’s journey.
Previously, I worked at ZedX Inc, a high-precision meteorological/agricultural based information systems company, as a Systems Administrator and throughout my time at ZedX became Lead and Systems Manager. As of December 2015, I became the systems manager, responsible for all parts of our network, Linux servers, databases, and desktops. At ZedX we almost exclusively used Linux and open source technology to make our products and meet our business needs. Despite being a small company, I managed an enterprise level data center comprised of over 100 Virtual and physical machines. We also stored over 100 TBs of data for our applications, the majority of that resides on our Netapp SAN. We are able to guarantee over 99.9% uptime to all of our customers using our 24/7 web products while keeping a heavy hand in research and development of new technologies. At ZedX, I worked extensively to implement automation, auto-recovery, smart alerts, industry-standard security practices, and increase the ability for our developers to do their work. I loved the challenge of working for a small company that forces one to be ﬂexible and learn many diﬀerent technologies, positions, and responsibilities. I believe my work at ZedX gave me a rock solid foundation and an incredible aptitude to take on any challenge that comes my way.
Pennsylvania State University
I am a 2011 graduate of Pennsylvania State University’s Information Science and Technology program.
What I’m hoping to achieve by creating this digital resume is to add the URL of this website to my usual one-page resume in hopes that employers will check it out. And if they do, hopefully, they will get a better appreciation of my personality, my work ethic, and how I would mesh within their company. I am a dedicated worker who enjoys working at my at his edges and pushing mysql onward and upward, and hope you’re ready to build something awesome together.
https://twstewart.me is hosted on Google Cloud Platform, distributed with Cloudflare CDN, secured by Let’s Encrypt, and runs off of WordPress CMS. I wanted to learn about GCP so here we are. For other projects, how-tos, and things I have documented please check out the left sidebar menu.