I grew up in Salt Lake City, the oldest of seven kids. My parents divorced when I was 11, an experience that shaped my life in many ways. After graduating from Cottonwood High in 1991, I served a mission in southern Spain and north Africa. When I returned home I enrolled at Salt Lake Community College and soon married Lori Middleton, a friend from high school. After doing as much of my undergrad education as possible at SLCC, I transferred to the University of Utah and graduated with degrees in Political Science and Sociology. We waited a year for Lori to finish her Master's degree before moving to Concord, Massachusetts, so I could attend Harvard Law School. Upon graduation we moved to the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, so I could work at a DC law firm. In February 2003 my wife and I started a fetal imaging business. We have five wonderful kids, Jefferson, Madeline, Elizabeth, and two twins due to be born in this summer. You can see more pictures of them at our family website. At church I serve in the bishopric of the Rockville Ward.
My instincts are entrepreneurial. As a child I was very frustrated that no one was doing any of the great things that needed doing. One of society's omissions at that time was action figures that played by themselves. I really wanted an action figure set, kind of like a fancy model train set, only this set would have characters that walk around and do things of their own volition. They'd build campfires, climb the set's mountain, go scuba diving, and do everything else robotic action figures like to do. It chafed my six-year-old heart to realize that no one else even sensed this glaring hole in the world. One time when I was especially discouraged, I committed to make the set myself when I was grown, promising not to forget how important self-playing action figure sets are to young kids.
While I have sadly made no attempt to fulfill this childhood promise, the story shows my confidence that the world could be better if we only made it so.
One problem I perceived while a teenage piano student -- a lack of piano competitions for students of average ability -- I did something about the year I returned from my mission. I started the Joy Robin Piano Competition (named in honor of my neighborhood piano teacher, Joy Robbins) and modeled it on recreational sports tournaments I was familiar with, the basic idea being to have skill divisions within age groups. I ran the competition for three years, then persuaded Salt Lake County to do it with me the fourth year so they could run it when I left for law school. From what I've been able to learn, the 350 yearly participants make it the largest piano competition in the country.
Some of my other projects are ScriptuReference, Created Equal, Smile! Your Mom Chose Life, Operation Give and Times & Seasons. Last year I was appointed by Governor Ehrlich to the Maryland Commission on Infant Mortality Prevention.