My Roots

I was born in London, England and lived in Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand before coming to America at the tail end of fourth grade. I mostly consider myself from New York since I lived 8 years there by the Finger Lakes and just north of New York City, although since arriving in the U.S. I've also lived in Phoenix, Denver, Ft. Monmouth (NJ), Ryadh (Saudi Arabia), Cambridge (MA), and now in Lexington (VA).


I was known as Jungle Jim as a cadet in West Point. I'd like to think it was because I went to Jungle School in Panama, but it was really a comment on my room inspections. I commissioned as a lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Corps and went to the Military Intelligence Officers Basic Course in Sierra Vista, AZ. My first assignment was in the Gulf War; here are some haunting images from postwar Kuwait.

High School Teacher

I left the Army to go to MIT, but had a six month interlude teaching science and mathematics in Central Jersey Christian High School. This school was incredible! It was amazing to see how much young men and women can learn in a centered, loving environment. I cherished teaching there and nearly decided to stay rather than go to grad school.

M.I.T. and Consulting

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology I began as a teaching assistant for Steve Burns, whose ability to fabricate low-cost biomedical equipment for third-world countries sparked my interest in bioengineering. I became a research assistant for Elazer Edelman and developed mathematical models and instrumentation to discover how endovascular stents expand. Stents are essentially pencil-lead thick hollow slotted tubes that are threaded inside atherosclerotic arteries. Most are then expanded by a small balloon (although some self-expand) and remain permanently inside the artery to scaffold it open. They have revolutionized cardiac health care; although approved by the FDA for only a decade they already account for nearly a million procedures per year in the US alone. Unfortunately, their very popularity has brought many legal suits in an effort to monopolize the stent manufacturing business, and towards the end of my doctorate I worked as an engineering consultant for legal firms to prevent this from occurring.

Virginia Military Institute

I teach in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at VMI, a four-year college known for its engineering program and for its history of graduating military officers. Like the service academies, academics are the primary goal and cadets are taught in a military environment that fosters teamwork, confidence, and personal responsibility. Unlike the service academies, nearly all the faculty hold doctorates and average more than ten year’s teaching experience. I teach Introduction to Electrical Engineering, Circuits II, Signals and Systems, Digital Signal Processing, a hybrid seminar/industry elective, and also advise many independent study projects including the ones shown here in pages created by cadets.

My Home

family photo

I married Laura on a sunny day at West Point in 1990; this is me and my best man (and best friend, apart from Laura) Frank Illuzzi waiting for her to show on the church steps some three decades ago. We have two boys, Kevin and Ryan, who are involved in more activities than I can possibly list. My sons and I earned black belts from the Lexington American Freestyle Karate Studio (now  MALTA); here are some of the katas for those affiliated with the studio. We also have Pattie the Pug who showed up on our driveway one morning and never left. We are members of the Lexington Presbyterian Church. For fun I invent things with my kids that occasionally don't explode, co-manage several startups, fly unnessarily large rockets with VAST, and volunteer as a certified EMT with the impressive people of the Lexington Fire Department. I played keyboards in the classic rock The Coprolite Band and I also have an interest in family genealogy.