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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

Donn’s a pretty interesting guy I’ve known for a while now. He’s an active community leader and has had a rather interesting career path. I have been nagging him for an interview for some time. I’ll let him take it from here, in these NINE Questions with Donn Felker:

Headshot2

1. Where are you from? 
I recently moved to Minneapolis last year. However, I’m originally from Northern California (Redding area), and lived the last ten years in Phoenix, AZ.

2. What do you do / Who do you work for / What is your product? Give us the "10 second pitch" on why I should use your product or services.
I’m a Senior Consultant for Magenic in Minneapolis MN. We’re a premier Microsoft Solutions Provider who provides solutions to enterprises throughout the United States. Personally - I’m a developer who focuses on the core principles and practices of TDD, Unit Testing, proper object oriented design and extensible system architecture. I also have a strong foundation in Team Foundation Server as well.

3. How did you get to where you are now?  
I originally started working for Target Corporation in 1999 and helped them start a financial division in Tempe, AZ. I then moved to Todd McFarlane Productions/SPAWN.COM for 5 years, a small marketing firm and then I got into consulting which is where I have been since. I was also a consultant for Atlantic Records, Interscope Records and Nitro Records for about 5 years.

4. What was it like working for the legendary Todd McFarlane?
This was a great experience. Every time I looked up from my work something new and exciting was happening in the office. I worked with various artists: sculptors, graphic designers, pencilers, inkers, painters, photographers, etc. Todd himself is a very personable and always asks for his employee’s opinions in regards to products that he is helping design or a new entertainment idea. I personally remember providing input for a hip-hop video that he was producing and he liked idea’s and incorporated some of them into the video. Not only was working at the company exciting because of the atmosphere, but the technical problems that are created by ravenous fans are insane! Our systems had to be able to handle massive loads during peak times and architecting those systems was a challenge.

5. What's your area of technical expertise? 
I have over 9 years of technical experience with my main core competences in Test Driven Development/Design, Object Oriented Design, Mock Objects, ASP.NET MVC, Spark View Engine, Team Foundation Server, Continuous Integration, C#, audio development and multi-media development.

6. You've recently started something you're calling Pragmatic Beer. What's that all about?
Pragmatic Beer is the beer drinking version of a Geek Dinner. Geek Dinners are fun and I enjoy them, but I thought I could expand on that a bit. Many developers are busy during the weekend (when most Geek Dinners seem to happen) and usually can’t make it. However, they could easily make it to an after work event at the local pub for a drink. Once a month I hold an event at a different pub each time. I’m hoping to move throughout the Twin Cities area in order to help developers throughout the area get out to interact together. The great thing is, any technical topic is game! We’ve already had Mac Programmers, Unix Programmers, Report Developers, Business App Developers, Ruby, C#, etc, you name it! For information on when the next event is, visit www.TwinCitiesPragmaticBeer.com

7. You do some speaking, blogging / twittering. What's the most recent event you spoke at and how did it go?
I’ve taken a brief break from speaking over the last couple of months, mainly because I have a new baby at home, but my last event was at the Twin Cities Developers Guild in November. The presentation went well and a lot of people showed up (nearly 25) for the Dependency Injection talk I gave. I have some events coming up In April here in Minneapolis, Wisconsin and Chicago over the next couple of months. The topics range from Testing with Mocks to an intro to the new Spark View Engine for ASP.NET MVC.

8. Any non-technical hobbies / interests? What's something the world doesn't already know about Donn Felker?
Hmmm… Hobbies – my true love is music. I used to own an independent record label for 7 years while I lived in Arizona. I produced 5 artists for a total of 7 albums. I’ve since sold that business, however my love for that industry is not gone (even though it’s a cut throat one). I’ve produced music myself over the last couple of years and during the course of the last month I recorded some tracks for a couple independent artists in New York and Minneapolis. One track is actually a remix for the emcee “Twista” featuring New York City artist “Werdplay” from BLESTeNATION. Other than music I’m very into Mountain Biking (trying to compete when I can), working out, and training for my first marathon. I also train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (however I’m looking for a new gym in Minneapolis area) and while in Arizona last year I trained with Ryan Bader who ended up winning last season’s “The Ultimate Fighter”. If you’re ever looking for the hardest workout of your life (for you or your kids) try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s the “gentle-art” that is very fun.

9. Last of all, any interesting tattoos? HA! Yeah … I have ONE… it just happens to be a BIG one, it’s on my arm. ;)

Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 8:34 AM NINE Questions | Back to top


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