Hi!

I’m Brad, and I’m a polyworking multipotentialite entrepreneur, software tool builder, information system engineer, photographer, event manager, and educator on a mission to connect people with the knowledge & tools they need to better understand themselves, their work, and the world around them.

After graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Computer Science & a minor in History in 2013, I spent a few years doing IT support, sysadmin work, technology integration, and teaching a couple classes at West Lafayette Jr/Sr High School, followed by a stint as a web developer for the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue and several years as an e-commerce developer & IT systems engineer at AndyMark.

I now have 3 freelancing & consulting brands - Sledgehammer Infosystems encompasses my business process, software development, information system, and organizational communication consulting work, Forgecraft Coaching is my educational/college/career coaching & tutoring service, and I do photography, video production, and event management & AV support as Copper Iris Creative.

I’m also a passionate supporter of FIRST Robotics. I believe that FIRST is one of the best ways out there for young people to explore engineering, computer science, marketing, entrepreneurship, and a ton of other fields while making real connections to expert mentors in their community to gain some skills & real-world perspective from. I’m the executive director & lead mentor for Westside Robotics, the non-profit that supports the FRC, FTC, and FLL teams within the West Lafayette Community School Corporation. Additionally, I’m the secretary of the board of directors as well as a member of a few state-wide committees for FIRST Indiana Robotics, where I’m also the AV & event production coordinator for our competitons & other events. I’m also an advisor for Purdue FIRST Programs, the student group at Purdue that supports the FIRST teams & events in the Lafayette area and got me started with FIRST when I was in college.

Want to connect? Shoot me an email, or you can get a 20 minute or 1 hour meeting on my calendar.

Writing

I occasionally try and write stuff - sometimes here, sometimes on the Sledgehammer Infosystems or Forgecraft Coaching blogs.

Education & Academic Interests

purdue university

Bachelor of Science, Computer Science, awarded May 2013
minor in History, focused coursework in security & databases

I love learning about new stuff and my interests are…​ kind of all over the place, ranging from developmental & organizational psychology to fault-tolerant distributed database technology.

One of my primary areas of study is how kids, especially gifted & talented young folks, figure out who they are as they grow up. I’m particularly interested in how young people find their place in society, including how their civic & political views develop and how they explore and decide on college & career paths. I’m also interested in finding better ways to support kids' social/emotional well-being and creating societal change to better support our kids.

I also enjoy learning about the history and philosophy of educational systems and how we can systemically improve the education system. I believe that schooling as we know is it is fundamentally broken, both in concept and execution, and isn’t really fulfilling it’s supposed purpose of preparing educated citizens who are ready to live successful lives and fully participate in society. I’m a big believer in the self-directed learning movement, and I believe that there’s a lot of untapped potential out there that we’re missing out on by forcing some of our kids to fit into the traditional schooling mold.

I’m also interested in the decline of small-town America and the rural brain drain problem. I come from a small town in a fairly rural area, and I’ve watched from a distance as most of the neighborhood businesses have closed, the schools have lost resources or shut down entirely, and the community as a whole seems to be on an accelerating downhill trajectory. This is a complex problem with many different potential causes - declining school funding and the corresponding drop in quality of education, declining availability of community activities & resources, a lack of investment in these areas, and a tendency for people in these areas to encourage their best and brightest to leave.

Another of my other primary focus areas is complex systems theory, particularly focused around organizational communication and the information systems and automated processes that make that communication work. I enjoy learning more about how different groups and organizations use tools and techniques to build & navigate these systems, and I love taking what I’ve learned and helping community organizations, small businesses, and non-profits figure out their problems in these areas.

Mostly in service of the above, I’m also fascinated by distributed systems and their applications in scaling systems and moving data & processing capabilities around to when & where they’re most needed.

I always enjoy learning more about history - particularly about scientific & technological development, business, education & young people, and American politics.

Presentations & Writing

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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