Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to be on the Voices of the Elephpant podcast to talk about Redis and the Utah Open Source Community with Cal Evans. You can listen to the episode on the VotE website.

Cal had sent me the questions before hand, and so I had jotted down a few things to mention during them. However, when we got to talking about the Utah Open Source Community, I forgot to mention one of the things I had written down to say, and that is this: I would not be where I am in my career, and would not have this great FOSS community in Utah, if it where not for the Shoulders of the Utah FOSS Giants that I stand on. (Standing on the Shoulders of Giants)

I had written three names down that I wanted to mention during the podcast. These three individuals were people who have had a great impact not only in the UTOS community, but in my own personal life and career as well. Because I was a bonehead and forgot then, I’d like to do it now. :)

Clint Savage (aka Herlo)

Clint is the founder of the Utah Open Source Foundation, he was also the guy who roped me into volunteering with UTOS for their conference. He was the guy who took the idea of a Utah Conference for Open Source and made it a reality. He spearheaded and helped organize the first three years, each growing larger than the year before, and getting better and better. He saw a vision inside his crazy head of a thriving community, and helped make it a reality.

Victor Villa (aka Mindjuju)

Victor was the President of the Utah PHP Usergroup (UPHPU) when I first started to attend in 2008. He was one busy cat with his work, and he had worked out a deal with his employer at the time to let the UPHPU group meet at their offices every month. Victor was always thinking of ways to make the meetings better, which were already great. He’d use his awesome A/V-fu to record the Audio, Video, and Screens of the presenters and then spliced them all together in a well produced video. He would ask, pester, and begged people to present so we always would have an awesome presentation every month. Every month, without fail, he was there. Come hail, snow, sickness, work emergencies, no matter what, he had those meetings month after month for several years.

Victor had the opportunity to change employers and get a better gig close to home, so as we lost our old venue he handed over the reigns of the Utah PHP Usergroup to another great guy, he didn’t take a break. He was soon after appointed the President of UTOS after Clint Savage needed to step down as he was traveling a lot.

Metaphorically speaking, if UTOS was a “child”, Clint had raised it up in it’s infancy to being a young adult ready to go to the next level. Victor was the guy to kick the “kid” in the butt and got it in a proper suit and tie ready to enter the business world. Victor worked tirelessly to get all the paperwork in order for its Non-Profit status (which is no small feat), and worked hard to make this upcoming UTOS Conference just as great as those before it. I know several of the “core-team” members of UTOS this last year had to step down due to lives being too busy, mine included, and he has had to do so much work. He has had a full-time job, gone back to school full-time, and also organizing Utah’s largest open source conference. Someone needs to give this man a gold medal! He is just such a great, strong pillar in the Open Source Community in Utah.

(A big thank you and shout-out needs to go to his wife, Tiff, as well. She puts up with us stealing her husband night after night, so we need to order two gold medals!)

Mac Newbold

The final person is Mac Newbold, the current president of the UPHPU group. He took over the reigns for Victor Villa, and orchestrated our current (and awesome) venue at C7′s Datacenter. I also believe he was the President of the UPHPU many years ago before Victor, so he has been involved with the UPHPU community for a very long time (the UPHPU group has been meeting since before 2004 I believe). He now has the great privilege of trying to cat-herd monthly presentations.

I know how busy all three of these guys are, and the sacrifices of time they give to the community. So I would like to sincerely say: thank you! Each one of you have had such a positive impact on my personal and professional life.

There are so many more great members in our local community, I wish I had time to write about every single one. If you live in Utah, I highly recommend to come out sometime to one of our local usergroup meetings, or even the yearly conference! And make sure to introduce yourself so we all can get to know you better! :)

Justin is currently the Director of Development for the Deseret News. He is active in the Utah Open Source community. He is an advisory member of the Utah Open Source Foundation, and helps with the anual Utah Open Source Conference. He primarily focuses on PHP, MySQL, Redis, HTML, CSS, jQuery, and JavaScript. When he gets the time, he enjoys to play jazz piano. Read More

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