About Derek

For anyone that wants to know, here’s my brief autobiography. I was born June 26, 1977. I grew up in Lancaster, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. I graduated fifth in my class from Lancaster Central High School in 1995, and completed my Bachelor’s in Information Technology from Rochester Institute of Technology Magna Cum Laude with a GPA of 3.65 in 1999.

In college I served as both President and Vice-President of the RIT Student Music Association (a club with a $20,000 budget), Communications Officer for the RIT Science Fiction Association, and a committee member of the Club Review Board. I acted and did tech work for the RIT Players, as well as serving as Composer and Music Director for their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

While at RIT I worked for a year and a half at Xerox as an Information Technology co-op. After graduation, I accepted a position as an applications developer with Praxair in Tonawanda, NY. Currently I’m an Information Architect for our Collaboration Support Center, where my main responsibility is working with our various departments globally to help them utilize our Microsoft Office SharePoint Server portal. You can peruse my résumé for more details.

Music has always been one of my passions. My first instrument was clarinet, which I began taking lessons in in 1985. Three years after that I began taking piano lessons. I played in the all the school ensembles I could – symphonic, jazz, marching and pit bands, as well as sang in the choir. My senior year in high school, I became a snare drummer in our marching band, which launched me into playing set drums throughout college. In November 2000, I began taking electric guitar lessons and bought a Fender Strat and amp shortly afterwards, bringing my instrument total officially to four.

Of course, computers were a hobby too, and once I figured out I could merge the two, I had a blast. I began composing with my Technics PX-33 digital piano, Korg Poly-800 synthesizer, and PC MIDI sequencer while in high school. For two of the piano recitals I was in, I did MIDI performances. In 1994, I arranged Europe’s “Carrie” to which I played an acoustic grand piano. In an attempt to outdo myself, in 1995 I composed my own piece in which I played both piano and keyboards, as well as designed and coordinated a light show.

In 1998 I was asked to compose music for the RIT Players production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I wrote several pieces, arranged them, formed an orchestra, taught the music, and directed as well as played with them for the six performances the show ran for. The show was a smashing success, and afterwards I sat down with the musicians and singers and recorded all the music from the show and produced my own CDs. The music has since been used by several school and community theatre productions around the world.

In the summer of 2001 I began playing with a jazz/rock fusion band called Modern Art, which greatly expanded my piano and performance skills. Although now dissolved, we played together for over a year and played in several venues and events in Western New York.

In November 2002, I tore my left ACL playing volleyball in a Praxair league. In February 2004 I had ACL reconstruction surgery. After nine months of physical therapy, I was able to ski again. While I’ve voluntarily ended my volleyball career, Amanda and I still enjoy camping, backpacking, geocaching, biking, and traveling in general. Amanda and I have also taken ballroom dancing lessons in the past, and we had our first dance elaborately choreographed for our wedding.

Since August 2004, Amanda and I have been volunteers for the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation, who’s purpose is to preserve, restore, and reuse the former New York Central Terminal, which was in operation in Buffalo from 1929 to 1979. In 2009 I was elected to the Board of Directors and as Treasurer, where I handle the daily bookkeeping and financial planning and analysis for the group. I’ve served on a number of committees, and have acted as Volunteer Coordinator and Media Relations Coordinator in the past, and still write for the website and provide IT support for the organization. It’s very rewarding to work with such great people doing their part to save a piece of Buffalo’s history, and make Buffalo a better place.

1 thought on “About Derek”

  1. WOW!!! and all I was looking for was a birthday wish list

    I am (can I be) so very proud of you and Amanda. I wish I was still working so I could brag about you two….ahem…four.

    Love you

Leave a Reply