A: Conoco had a strong safety plan, which inspired me to pursue a bachelor's in environmental health and safety (EHS) at UCO (University of Central Oklahoma), where I graduated with just one credit hour more than I needed. My wife Leigh and I married the summer after I graduated, but we stayed on there in an apartment for me to work in UCO's physical plant and at AutoZone, and pursue a master's in adult education. I thought I might want to be a teacher. The degree turned out to be a nice complement for the corporate training in EHS I went on to do. I learned to prepare lessons and speak in front of people.
Q: What was your first professional job?
A: After earning my master's degree, I worked as the safety guy for Flintco for one year, including three months on a project in Wichita Falls.
Q: And your transition to the technology sector?
A: I worked 11 years in EHS with Intel, including three years in Portland, Ore., and then eight years in a suburb of Phoenix. Portland was gorgeous. In the late summer and early fall, we enjoyed months of sun. Our second daughter was born there, and we made lots of friends our same age. We still keep up with them on Facebook. In Phoenix, I learned to golf. Our front yard was a putting green and backyard: gravel, palm trees and a swimming pool. As part of Intel's regional corporation, I traveled the world — to Europe, Asia and Central America — and got to see so many cool places.
Q: What was your favorite business trip?
A: Ireland. I visited a factory there twice. There's lots of Irish heritage on my father's side, so it felt like going home. My middle name is Shawn, which is what Leigh and I named our son.
Q: How did you come to move back home to Oklahoma?
A: A friend at Intel who knew I was an Oklahoman told me that Dell had an EHS position here, overseeing Nashville and other sites. We knew that if we were going to ever move home, we had only a small window of time when our kids would be young enough. Our oldest was just starting junior high.
Q: You and Leigh moved out of state in 1995. What did you think of Oklahoma City upon your return in the fall of 2006?
A: We were blown away. It didn't feel like the same city. We always thought that if we moved back, we'd live in Tulsa. When we left, things with MAPS and in Bricktown were just starting to happen. We were amazed with the transformation. I always say that what Oklahoma City did to turn itself around is a testament to gaining the favor of a company like Dell.
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• Position: General manager, Dell Oklahoma City Business Center.
• Birth date: Nov. 29, 1970.
• Family: Wife Leigh (they met at Ponca City High School when she was a 15-year-old cheerleader and he was a 17-year-old football player); daughters Jordan, a sophomore at Oklahoma State University, and Kaitlyn, a sophomore at Deer Creek High School; and son Shawn, a sixth-grader at Deer Creek.
• Education: University of Central Oklahoma, bachelor's in environmental health and safety, and master's in adult education.
• Home church: Quail Springs Baptist Church.
• Pastimes: Watching his daughter sing in church or act in school performances, and his son play sports. Also, restoring old cars, including a 1991 Mustang convertible Jordan drove to OSU this year and a 1928 Model A pickup.