Hi!

Brad Thompson

I'm a software & information systems engineer based out of West Lafayette, Indiana. I'm all about using technology to help people use technology to communicate and work together more effectively and efficiently. My specialties include full-stack web development with Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, NodeJS, & Vue, Linux system administration, and information system / business process design.

Outside of my day job, I'm a passionate advocate for computer science and engineering education. I'm a dedicated mentor and supporter of FIRST Robotics in my community and across the state of Indiana, and I'm always on the look for new ways to help inspire kids to build their skills and discover their path in life.

Current Work

Software & Systems Engineer

I oversee and support most of the company's internal IT infrastructure, lead development for our internal order management and business process portal application, work on our e-commerce platform, and oversee software and IT interns.

Executive Director & Program Coordinator

I interface with our parent board, school district administration, and other program leadership to keep all of the West Lafayette school system's FIRST Robotics programs and related activities funded and operating. I also oversee the college student volunteers that work with our programs.

FRC Team Lead Mentor

My primary job is making sure the 10 mentors and 30 high school students on our FIRST Robotics Competition team have the resources they need to keep our program running. I spend a lot of time working with the team's student officers and functional group leaders to set goals, manage projects, and keep students engaged. I also do a lot of the travel and logistics planning for our competitions and other events. Additionally, I work directly with students on C++, Ruby, and Javascript software projects, graphic design, public relations, and community outreach & engagement projects.

FTC Team Mentor

I help our 15 7th & 8th grade FIRST Tech Challenge students learn the basics of Java and how to program robots. I also help the students prepare their Engineering Notebooks and presentations for judging at competitions.

FLL Team Coordinator

I recruit, train, schedule, and support our crew of 10 volunteer FIRST LEGO League team coaches, supporting 4 teams with about 30 total 4th-6th grade students.

Webmaster & Media/PR Committee Member

I coordinate with organization leadership to keep our website up to date. I also create graphics, write software, and provide general technical advice to people throughout the Indiana FIRST community.

FTC Planning Committee Member

I work with the Indiana FTC Program Delivery Partner, FIRST Senior Mentors, and other key people from across the state to plan out the FIRST Tech Challenge competition season and help grow and support teams across Indiana.

Event Volunteer

I serve in a variety of roles at both official and off-season FRC & FTC events, mostly as the Production Director or in A/V or event managment roles. I also serve as a Judge at FLL and FTC events.

Advisory Committee Co-Chair

I help advise the executive board and organization leadership to keep this 50-member student organization on the right track. I also help lead a small group of alums and other members of the FIRST community to plan and arrange guest speakers for the Purdue FIRST Programs class.

Purdue FIRST Forums Planning Team

I work with the Purdue FIRST event planning team and the IndianaFIRST Mentor Training Committee to plan and schedule presentations for the annual Purdue FIRST Forums.

Athletics Technology Specialist

I work with coaches and other athletics staff to find or develop tools to meet their video and technology needs. I also manage content for and operate the videoboard system I developed for events in the high school gymnasium, and occasionally run the scoreboard for basketball & football games.

Previous Work

Web Developer

I developed several web-based tools to support internal department operations, worked with PR & marketing groups across campus to maintain the school's web & social media properties, and dispensed bits of software, electronics, and general technology advice to students & staff.

Technology Specialist & Teacher

I did pretty much everything IT, from web development and Linux server administration to desktop support and educational technology integration consulting. I also taught Programming I & Tech Support classes.

Presentations

2019 Purdue FIRST Forums
2019 IU FIRST Forums
2019 IU FIRST Forums
2015 Space Jamboree
2016 Purdue FIRST Forums

Academic Interests

These are just a few topics that I'm interested in learning more about to improve the work that I do. In some hypothetical future where I have tons of extra money and time lying around, I might like to go back to school and do some formal research into some of this stuff.

Computer Science: secure anonymous communication systems; distributed computing and data storage systems in unreliable network environments

CS/Engineering Education: long-term impact of short-term "drop-in" activities (i.e. the Hour of Code); long-term impact of teacher quality & subject matter knowledge on student motivation, learning, and opinions about CS/engineering; effective computer science pedogogy & curriculum development; developing & expanding access to high quality professional development & teacher training; expanding access to high quality programming in underserved rural communities.

Education: learning in non-traditional or out-of-school environments; community-based education; developing problem-solving and leadership skills; effective mentorship

Interior Design & Architecture: designing spaces in schools & workplaces to help people work more effectively

bkt at brad-thompson dot com