When I first started working in Technology, I have to admit that I had never heard of Citrix before. Then I got a job on a 60-acre private island resort in the Florida Keys, and working with Citrix was about to become a major life-changing experience for me.
My first mentor was really into Citrix. He had it running on Microsoft Windows NT 4 Terminal Servers that served all the applications throughout the resort. I came in, new to this enterprise technology, and not knowing anything about Citrix or Published Applications or Terminal Services.
For the next two years I would soak up as much information about technology, Microsoft and Citrix as I could – and that would basically be the groundwork for my entire career. Of course I had no idea this would be the case back when I started in technology as an assistant to the director of IT.
My mentor was a great guy who talked a lot. I had to tune about 90% of what he said out or my brain would explode, but the other 10% I devoured and filed in my brain – and to this day I can go back to the archives of my mind and pull up the information that he taught me.
During those first 2 years Windows 2000 was released, and with that, Citrix MetaFrame XP was released – and I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty. I learned Terminal Services, Citrix, Roaming Profiles, AD Policies and how to use all of these things to create amazing Citrix Environments.
It was an incredible time for me in technology. Everything was so new to me, and everything I did was trial and error. That was the great thing about my mentor: He put me to work. He let me fail, and research and try again until I learned how to do things. He was always there to give advice and point out the direction I should take to find my solution – but he never gave me the exact answer. I had to figure it out for myself; I had to learn, and most importantly, learn how to learn.
After 2 years my mentor left the resort and vacated the Director of IT position. I had been there for 2 years. I knew every aspect of that resort: The technology, the users and how everything worked. I went to the powers that be and told them I wanted the job, that I could do it and that I knew how to do it. It took a lot of major conversations, but I finally convinced everyone to give me a shot. They did, and for the next 8 years I would be the head of technology for the resort.
Ultimately I replaced and redid everything that my mentor created, until the property was completely transformed into my vision, my way. The backbone of that vision was completely enmeshed with Citrix Technologies.
I started taking on Citrix projects and consulting on the build of Citrix Farms. That led me down a road that would be an amazing journey. I left my job at the resort, kept my Citrix consulting gigs and took a job as a Senior Windows System Engineer specializing in Citrix for a large healthcare company based out of Tampa. The structured environment was not really my thing: I preferred working for myself and being a freelance consultant and my own boss. Commuting and sitting at a desk 8 hours a day was not for me.
I am more of a free spirit in life and in technology. I learn by doing, I retain everything I learn. I have a unique ability to remember issues I worked on years and years ago and what the solutions were. I have sort of a technical photographic memory, and I use this in every day of my life. It is something that I never knew I had until I started working in technology and troubleshooting system and network issues.
After spending years and years working in Citrix (specifically back then Citrix MetaFrame, Citrix Presentation Server and then Citrix XenApp), I setup so many web interfaces that I ran into a situation where the default web interface was no longer working for me or giving me the tools I needed as a Citrix Admin to do my job.
So I started a cloud technology company before it was ever named “the cloud.” Through this venture I wanted to create a Custom Citrix Web Interface that seamlessly integrated into my website, and with my website integrated into my customized Citrix web interface. After some time, it was evident that the business venture I started was not going to work out. What I was left with was a bunch of servers in my garage, Techstur.com’s website many, many versions ago, and a custom branded Citrix web interface.
I decided then that if I needed a custom Citrix web interface, then other people would need them too. So I put up a page on Techstur.com for Custom Citrix Web Interfaces, and ten years later this is the business I still work in.
Thousands of custom interfaces later, now we do Citrix Web Interface, Citrix NetScaler, Citrix CloudPortal, Citrix StoreFront, Citrix CloudGateway, Citrix Access Gateway, Microsoft Outlook Web App, Microsoft Outlook Web Access, Microsoft Remote Desktop Web Access and VMware View Portals. What started out as a good idea has blossomed, and we have expanded into a full-fledged Interface Customization company.
I still spend a lot of time working on Citrix Technologies, though. I specialize in Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix NetScaler, Citrix StoreFront, Citrix CloudGateway and Citrix CloudPortal. I build and scope out environments, and I support Citrix systems. I work with all Citrix products – both on the frontend and the backend.
When I am doing Interface Installs or Support Sessions, I use GoToMeeting from Citrix. I basically use Citrix in every aspect of my professional career. I have five Citrix certifications, but I really stopped working on certifications and now I focus more on the technology and using it, building it, architecting it and supporting it on both the frontend and backend. Millions of users a day work on systems customized and built by myself and Techstur.com.
It has been a long strange trip! Where I ended up is not where I started, and even the state I live in has changed multiple times. But my love for Citrix has always been present, from when my first mentor introduced me to the product right up until today.
I live and breathe Citrix Technologies on a daily basis. It is amazing to see how I have grown up around the technology, and amazing to see how the technology has changed and grown up in front of me.