Actual writer. Rabble rouser. Community activist. Opens bananas like a monkey. (almost)barefooter. Has name on shirt. Knows all the words to Baby Got Back.
I never knew what I wanted to be as a kid. I was a smartass underachiever who seemed to be okay at everything, but the BEST at nothing of consequence. I played baseball, basketball and tennis, wrote and edited the school paper, helped out with the yearbook and spent my first two years in community college with hopes of becoming a journalist. I started as special projects editor, upgraded to managing editor and ended as editor-in-chief. We won awards. I dreamed in stories and leads and scoops and interviews.
Journalist or bust…I busted.
That dream ended the fourth day of my first week at Washington State University. That day I took an AP Style test and failed miserably. I hated AP Style. I hated being told I had to arrange my words in a certain way, use specific punctuation and tab and space. These restrictions took the joy and the flow out of my writing and I quit being a journalist on the spot.
School is for suckers
I eventually graduated with a degree in Sport Management, with zero desire to be an intern for the next decade. I worked at Ikea and even scored a training video assignment where I wrote and filmed safety procedures and best practices, but the footage was later stolen along with all my computer equipment. After a tedious seven months at home, I split for the sunny skies of Arizona State University, determined to get a Master’s degree while I ran the intramural sports department on campus. I lasted a year in the position and never finished my degree.
An Apple every day
Thank god for the Apple Retail Store. One of my goals had always been to work for Apple. The second I saw the Biltmore store on my first trip to Phoenix, I marched in with a resume, told the assistant manager Daniel I’d be back in three weeks and would camp out for a job and left. I got the job four weeks later and met coworker Don Crossland, who brought me on board with Sonik magazine, as an intern, to copy edit and write.
The luxury high rise
My time with Sonik ended while I was working at the Esplanade Place, a job I’d been recommended for by Ralph Ponce de Leon, whom I met at the Apple Store. He asked for help with his computer, I broke company policy by agreeing to do so, and the man virtually adopted me as his grandson. I worked in his building for almost a year, performing odd jobs including a well-received newsletter and left for a sales job nearly a year later.
That lasted only a few months, as Don came calling again with a new magazine venture. He wanted me as a editor/writer and sales guy (man I’m terrible at sales) and I was hooked on writing again. I wrote and wrote and edited and planned events and learned about architecture and suffered and hot damn we had a fun time. Then the economy collapsed, kontaktmag sputtered and I moved on to my very first corporate job with Pearson.
While I loved Pearson as a company, I was a terrible fit for my position. I never had enough to do and constantly looked for writing, editing and event planning gigs with other departments, often without manager’s approval. I even submitted a plan for a social media department to a national vice president without running it past any of the ten people between me and him. I’m surprised I lasted as long as I did and was laid off in company-wide cuts almost two years after I started.
Next step was Amanda Vega Consulting, where I helped with marketing plans, managed social media accounts, told company stories and met with prospective clients. This was awesome and I had a blast. We had some great times for over a year and a half and then my client contracts expired, leaving me once again on my own (I still do contract work with her).
It’s now now
And that’s where I am now. In the past few years I’ve organized two downtown Phoenix events, helped start a hyper-local Phoenix blog, presented at the first Phoenix Design Week, yelled at people while moderating meeting discussions, argued on Twitter about excellence and everything in between and done my absolute best to hold others to a higher standard than they ever though they were capable of reaching.
So why antiPRguy? Because I’m tired of the hyperbole and half truths, tired of the close-mindedness that pervades far too much of Arizona and tired of people settling for good enough. I may be the biggest critic you’ll ever meet, but I’m also the first guy to take responsibility to fix it. Throughout all this, I’ve told stories. Stories of me, stories of other people and stories that chronicle my time here. I want things to be better. I want to better. I want you to be better.
I tell stories. True stories. True stories about the people and businesses that shape my life, my community and my world.
And I’d like to tell yours. The world is listening.
I’m a storyteller. What would you like everyone to know?