Curiosity Expert: John Oliver
Senior System Architect, Intel
John's father always had cool tools which enabled John to act on his insatiable curiosity. As a child John was always tearing things apart to see what was inside… how things worked. The tough part was trying to get it all back together again, usually with leftover parts. John never liked school much; it could never hold his attention. There is a name for that now, its called Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). After years of tortured staring out the window during class, daydreaming, John finally found his gift, creativity. In high-school, with no previous art education, John was accepted into an advanced art class and blossomed. He learned to express himself in a multitude of media, and won a National Honor Society Gold Key Award with a small scholarship. After high-school John began studies as a commercial artist, and soon became disillusioned with his training. At the tender age of 19, John dropped out, got a job doing air-conditioning service work (a trade he learned from his father), and got married. After two kids and a lot of hard life lessons, John realized how limiting life can be without an education. He always wanted to land a big contract and take his small business into the "the big leagues," but couldn't land a decent bid without a PE (a licensed Professional Engineer). John decided he would become that PE, so with the support of his wife he sold all of his toys, his coveted tools, and moved out of state to study mechanical engineering. But John's insatiable curiosity got the best of him. During his studies, as he tried to figure out the magic of what was going on inside of one of those little "electronic chips", he fell in love with electrical engineering. John soon switched his major and never looked back. Two universities, another kid, and many years later despite relentless set-backs, John finished his crowning achievement and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (BSEE). He was the first in his family to acquire a college degree. Soon after, his wife would finish her degree too; again, the first in her family to acquire a college degree.
With a lifetime love of aviation, John landed a dream job at Honeywell Sperry helping to design avionics for commercial aircraft. This is where John truly learned engineering. A major economic downturn and John was compelled to change jobs, and went to work for VLSI Corporation. It was here that John got out in front of high-performance computer technology. And if you're going to be doing high-performance computer design work, where better than the biggest computer manufacturing company in the world, Intel. John soon moved over to Intel's Embedded Computer Group where he was constantly challenged with creative ways to make a Personal Computer (PC) work in something that was never intended to have a PC in it. Over the past 20 years John has designed custom computers from soda vending machines to the NASA International Space Station, and everything in between. While at Intel, now with four kids and the same wife, John was fortunate enough to be able to earn a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) degree, has acquired multiple patents, and is regularly published. Though Intel is a high-tech company, they value John's core gift, creativity. As a Senior Architect, John founded the Embedded Innovation Center for Intel which he now manages. John has come full circle and spends his days expressing himself in his artwork, through the media of high-tech computer electronics.