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 communicate and work together more effectively and efficiently. My specialties include full-stack web development with Ruby & Javascript, Linux system administration, and information system / business process design.

Outside of my day job, I spend a lot of time working with young people. I'm a dedicated mentor and supporter of FIRST Robotics in my community and across the state of Indiana, and I'm always looking for new ways to help kids to build their skills and discover their path to a healthy, fulfilling 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 development and IT interns.

Executive Director

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 adult & 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 events, mostly as the Production Director or in other 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 FIRST Indiana Robotics 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 help run the football team's video recording system, manage content for and operate the videoboard system I developed for events in the high school gymnasium, and occasionally jump in as scoreboard/clock operator at basketball & football games.

Current Projects

HelioSystem

Born out of a piece of software I wrote because I got tired of keeping track of all of my robotics kids' info across a bunch of random spreadsheets, HelioSystem is desgined to be a single source of truth for your nonprofit, small business, or community organization. Put people in groups, send announcements, store & share information, keep track of funds, tag everything, and give people access to information they need. It's not customer relationship management, it's community relationship management.

HelioCenter

Ready to run, bare-bones reference implementation of HelioSystem.

ShiftyVerse

A modern, location-enabled, MUD engine.

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, helped faculty members build & maintain their research lab websites, 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.

Education & Academic Interests

Bachelor of Science, Computer Science, awarded May 2013
minor in History, focused coursework in security & databases
3.29 overall, 3.40 major GPA

These are just a few topics that I'm interested in that I can use to make cool stuff, help improve my work, & make a greater, positive impact on the people around me. In some hypothetical future where I have the time & can figure out funding, I'd like to go back to school and do some formal research into some of these topics.

These days, I'm much more interested in the working with kids than the hard STEM fields. Within the general arena of educational psychology & child/adolescent development, most of my interests lie around how kids figure out what they want to do with their lives. I'm also interested in emotion regulation & stress/anxiety management, especially in gifted or otherwise exceptional students, as well as rites of passage and how they affect adolescent development.

From the realm of sociology & social psychology, I'm interested in how young people impact & are impacted by the different communities & groups they're a part of, especially as it realates to them figuring out their career paths. I'm also interested in digging into the "rural brain drain" phenomenon & finding ways to help rural communities attract & keep talented people around.

When it comes to computer science & engineering education, I'm very interested in looking at how teacher subject matter knowledge and personal experience with their fields impact students' learning, motivation, & opinions about pursuing careers in those fields - and why, at least from my anecdotal observations, it seems that it matters more in these fields than most other subjects at the secondary level.

I do still maintain an interest in a couple of hard computer science topics, namely secure, private communication methods and distributed data storage systems.

Presentations

2019 Purdue FIRST Forums
2019 IU FIRST Forums
2019 IU FIRST Forums
2016 Purdue FIRST Forums
2015 Space Jamboree
bkt at brad-thompson dot com
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