We are happy to welcome Mark Sauter as a full-time employee, in the Implementation and Engineering Services group led by Karl Davis. Mark worked at ACS previously as a summer intern before he graduated from Grand Valley State University this past May.
Mark earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Grand Valley, although his first major was actually creative writing. He enjoys the problem-solving aspects of computer programming and the satisfaction of building something from the ground up and then seeing it in action.
Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Mark recently got married to another Ann Arbor-ite, and the couple makes their home in their native town. Mark and Lauren have known each other since they were four years old, as their families were friends and attended the same church. The two only began dating in college, however, and got married last January.
When he's not working, Mark enjoys playing hockey and other sports, as well as playing the guitar and the violin. Occasional computer games make their way into the schedule as well.
We—and that includes older brother Paul Sauter, also an ACS engineer--are pleased to welcome Mark to the ACS family.
ACS is pleased to welcome Rachel Larson as a full-time member of the Advantage family. Rachel has been working as an intern in the engineering department part-time during school years and full-time over the past four summers. She graduated from the University of Michigan this spring with a bachelor's degree in computer science from the engineering school. (It's also possible to study computer science through the college of Literature, Science and the Arts.)
A dyed-in-the-wool engineer, Rachel freely labels herself a computer nerd. She has always liked math and science and does not get at all excited about writing assignments. Her favorite entertainment genre is science fiction, whether it's books, movies or games. And yes, she's a Trekkie—original series all the way.
Born in New Jersey, Rachel moved to Ann Arbor when she was 7 years old and has lived there ever since. She remembers wanting to go to the University of Michigan from a very early age and now that she has graduated, she has no plans to leave. She is the oldest of four children and enjoys spending time with her family.
Sunil Chawla has joined the ACS team and will be providing services to CDS Global-UK. Sunil was the Advantage system administrator, DBA and IT manager at Maney Publications, but had to resign from this position in order to move to London. The timing worked perfectly for him to join the ACS team currently traveling regularly to Market Harborough to support CDS.
A UK native, Sunil holds a degree in computer science from Manchester University and is also a certified Microsoft Database Administrator. He lives in Bromley, near London, and in his leisure time, enjoys playing badminton and tennis and traveling to tropical destinations—anywhere with clear blue water where he can scuba dive and snorkel, although the Maldives is his favorite place.
We are pleased to welcome Sunil to the ACS family.
Patrick DeLine has joined ACS in the Implementations and Engineering Services group led by Karl Davis. He is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he earned dual bachelor degrees, in math and computer science. Having grown up in a small town in rural Wisconsin, Patrick found the urban life in Madison to be a big change. He missed being surrounded by nature, although he thoroughly enjoyed his college experience, participating in the marching and concert bands (he plays the euphonium), and playing ultimate Frisbee. He also took a fencing class, which he found to be a fascinating sport. And he finished on a real high note, spending his last semester of college in Leeds, England.
Patrick graduated from college in January of this year and moved to the Ann Arbor area when his girlfriend got a job here. He was pleased to find the job at ACS and has hit the ground running. He feels that ACS offers an ideal environment, offering the chance to work on a system with extensive code and yet being small enough so that all the employees know each other. So far, Patrick has done work on the advertising module and has also worked with Mike Hasey on Business Intelligence functionality.
Patrick lives in the Kerrytown area of Ann Arbor and likes that, while still a large university town, Ann Arbor is greener and quieter than Madison. There is even a small stream running by his home.
In his leisure time, Patrick enjoys reading (Stephen King is a favorite of his), music, art and occasionally writing. He enjoys debate and would like to join a local debate team. And Patrick is also a gamer, although he is quick to point out that he plays computer games, not console ones, and considers himself a gaming idealist, preferring the open source concept.
We're glad that he has brought his ideals here to ACS.
John Hughes has joined ACS as an analyst in the Client Services Division. He is currently working in the Support Center, led by Ev Acton, although he is expected to join the implementation services team later this year.
While John was born and raised for the most part in the Ann Arbor area, he had the opportunity to experience life in another country when his GM executive father took a 2 ½ year assignment in France when John was eight. John and his four siblings were forced to learn French as quickly as possible when they were placed in French schools. Fortunately, kids find it easy to pick up new languages and they all did just fine. John admits that although his French accent is excellent, since he learned it as a child, his vocabulary does tend to be rather elementary as well. He is working now to learn the more technical terms that he will need to know to communicate with French clients of Advantage.
A graduate of Dexter High School, near Ann Arbor, John completed two years of general studies at a mid-Michigan community college and then took a year off from his studies to do service work in England and Germany through a local Christian group. Upon his return, he enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he earned a BA degree in economics and German in 2007. John worked at a couple of different jobs before joining ACS in April.
He is engaged to be married, with a June wedding in the works, and the newlyweds will live in the house he recently purchased in Ypsilanti. In his leisure time, John enjoys working on the house, and his hobbies include playing soccer, and making and recording music (he plays guitar and piano).
We welcome John to the Advantage family!
ACS is pleased to welcome Derek Johnson as a new employee. Derek is joining the eCommerce and Enterprise Integration team headed by Matt Varblow, and comes to ACS with experience in software development in a .NET environment.
Derek attended Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, which is about as far north as you can go without falling into Lake Superior. (The college is 570 miles from Detroit, for example.)
Derek studied electrical engineering and after graduation, accepted a job in Ann Arbor for a defense contractor firm where he worked on inertial navigation systems. He moved from there to an automotive supplier, where he wrote control software for large machines that tested engines and transmissions. Before coming to ACS, his previous position was at a company that developed consulting-ware for companies that did not have an IT department of their own. Derek was responsible for both writing software and maintaining it. He describes this previous experience as "two years of hard-core .NET boot-camp."
A native of Dexter, Michigan, Derek married his high school sweetheart, Eva. She also attended Michigan Tech, but after marriage and graduation, they went back to their hometown area. Derek and Eva have two sons, Collin, 5, and Josh, 3, and they currently live in Ypsilanti. Derek greatly enjoys spending time with his family and their friends, and his hobbies include gardening and home-brewing his own beer.
Welcome, Derek, to the ACS family!
Postscript to story:
Several ACS employees knew Derek from high school and decided to make his first day memorable. They dug through the ACS archives and the business equivalent of an attic and managed to furnish Derek's work area as it might have been a number of years ago. On his desk was a word processing machine circa mid-1980's, a bottle of Wite-Out, a phone modem, and a"Cobol for Dummies" book. Windows 95--and older--manuals populated his bookshelf, along with several magnetic tapes, floppy disks and even some reports printed on green-bar paper. All it needed was Madonna playing on the radio for you to think you had stepped back in time.