Once again the team at NexPort Solutions has celebrated the holiday season by gathering together to enjoy each others company and play a few competitive games. This year, in light of the pandemic, we gathered virtually on Zoom. We started in the morning with a quarterly retrospective and gathered for the holiday party in the afternoon.
At the party, we played a combination Christmas Trivia/Scavenger Hunt and held an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. The winner of the sweater contest was selected by a vote and received 10 points. Each trivia question was worth 1 point and each scavenger hunt puzzle was worth 2 points. The person with the most points won a $50 Amazon gift card. This year's winner was our intern Will Hughes!
You can check out the trivia/scavenger hunt here. Look below for pictures of our Ugly Sweater entrants.
From the entire NexPort Team we hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
Brette Scott is the Senior Software Engineer for NexPort Solutions and has been working in the learning management field since 2009. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering with Magna Cum Laude distinction and a minor in Computer Science from the University of Oklahoma in 2009. Brette has always wanted to stay in Oklahoma to be near family, so she looked for local internships and applied for one of our internships. She was a little intimidated by the length and depth of the NexPort Solutions interview and was pleasantly surprised to be offered an internship. She began working with the company to refactor the Integrated Knowledge Elements (iKe) from ColdFusion to C#. Brette stated, “I’ve learned so much over the years, and I am so glad I landed here.”
Brette works on all components of the NexPort software suite and enjoys the freedom of developing solutions in her own way, secure in the knowledge that her colleagues and stakeholders can provide feedback and advice when needed. Her favorite project has been NexPort Reporting Services. She was one of the first developers of the framework, and she has every right to be proud of the major advancements she has provided on this invaluable system.
My proudest moments at work are when I am the first to find the source of bugs in the system.
When asked, “What is your proudest moment at work?”, Brette replied, “My proudest moments at work are when I am the first to find the source of bugs in the system.” She also stated that, “I’ve learned that it’s important to constantly be learning. Technology is always changing, so you have to keep up to be able to do good work.” Being part of a team that helps people to learn and improve themselves is inspiring to her. Brette’s expansive knowledge and dedication has earned her more responsibilities with each passing year; and now she has been “on-call” for certain weeks and even answering the phones on certain days, which is surprising since Brette is not a big fan of phone calls.
Brette is the seventh of eight children, and they are all very close. Her parents taught them the concept of hard work and determination to make good lives for themselves. Brette applied this concept early. Her very first job was repairing grant-funded laptops during the summer so that her classmates could use them in the following school year. Brette’s favorite thing to do outside of work is spending time with family, especially at Sooner football games. She also enjoys playing poker and playing with her dogs.
Brette’s favorite quote, by Mr. Magorium, is, “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.” She likes the quote because it is inspiring and simple. The phrase Brette finds herself saying repeatedly is, “Dan, you’re on mute.” The NexPort team uses Zoom meetings to coordinate their work. She is referring to Dan Pupek, the Chief Systems Architect of NexPort. If someone were to write a book about Brette’s life, she said that the title would be, “Sooner Born and Sooner Bred.” For those of you not in the know, Oklahoma is the Sooner state.
When asked, “What is the best vacation you have ever taken?”, Brette replied, “My husband and I did a cross-country trip to Las Vegas for our honeymoon, stopping for the Albuquerque Balloon Festival and white-water rafting the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.” The weirdest thing Brette has ever eaten is escargot when she studied abroad in France. Brette’s bucket list contains “Winning the World Series of Poker.”
Meet Billy Caldwell, Information Systems Operations Manager, from our NexPort Solutions Division in Oklahoma City.
What exactly does it mean to wield that title? Billy is the unsung hero who slays our data management dragons. He is responsible for managing day-to-day network operations and problem solving for more than 50 employees nationwide. It’s a job that crosses multiple divisions and departments.
Billy began at AST in 2003 as an intern from Cameron University while working on a Bachelor of Science degree in Instructional Multimedia Design. Once his internship was completed, he began working part-time in customer service, and by 2004, he was a full-time AST employee. In 2007, Billy’s position shape-shifted into Network Administrator when the NexPort Solutions office was established in Oklahoma City. For the next twelve years, he was pretty much a one- man-show, responsible for being on call 24/7 to manage and update the servers and to identify and resolve any issue that prevented employees from functioning in their job.
One of his current responsibilities is to lead the weekly Tier 3 synchronization meetings, where he tracks Fogbugz cases and facilitates communication for Smart Horizons, SHCOE, Dialogex, and partners. His main goal is to run consistent meetings that stay focused on an agenda and the highest priorities.
One of the things I appreciate most about Billy is that he is such a great problem solver. Whatever pressing issue we have, I never question that he will take care of it. He takes whatever you throw at him then uses our nontechnical language and translates it into engineer-speak. - Jenness Hunter
Jenness Hunter from curriculum development at Smart Horizons says, “One of the things I appreciate most about Billy is that he is such a great problem solver. Whatever pressing issue we have, I never question that he will take care of it. He takes whatever you throw at him then uses our nontechnical language and translates it into engineer-speak.” Billy does something for Darwin Global that is vital to all operations—he provides a crucial conduit between key department contacts and engineering.
When not slaying dragons for Darwin Global, Billy’s favorite activity is competitive remote control car racing, a special interest that he has been involved with for 22 years. His most recent accomplishment is participating in Tulsa’s 2019 R/C Chili Bowl in three different classes: Midwest Modified, Outlaw Sprint, and Wingless Sprint. Billy progressed to finals in all three classes and finished 10th in the Wingless Sprint. Click to watch Billy’s victorious qualifier at the event: https://youtu.be/hsZAyk6ZvO4
Billy naturally gravitates toward activities where things can be built, fixed, or rebuilt. One such hobby is restoring vintage cars. He is currently working on a 1952 GMC truck. He inherited a love of cars and mechanical things from his late father, a drag racer who also enjoyed flying remote control airplanes.
Billy also enjoys spending time at gaming stores and events. For the past several years he has been a demo agent for Catalyst Game Labs at gaming conventions. His game of choice is BattleTech, a tabletop combat game set in the 31st century.
When asked what his “happy place” is, Billy says it’s when he completes a project, closes out an issue, or scratches off an item on his to-do list. Yet, a key lesson he has learned is there is such a thing as caring too much. It is important to recognize what tasks are urgent and what tasks can wait till the next day.
Thank you, Billy, for all your hard work and over 15 years of dedication. We dub thee, Dragonslayer, Realm of the Darwin Global.
Los Angeles Public Library offers high school courses, opportunity to earn high school diploma through NexPort Campus
Los Angeles Public Library is the first public library in the United States to offer an accredited vocational high school diploma for their patrons. The Career Online High School program, which is hosted on the NexPort Learning Platform, is now available in all 78 branch locations and 11 literacy centers. Read more ...
Walmart uses NexPort Campus, offers employees opportunity to earn high school diploma through Career Online High School
OKLAHOMA CITY – June 5, 2014 – Walmart has partnered with Career Online High School to provide a free online course to Walmart Stores, Inc, employees via the NexPort Campus learning management system. Upon successful completion of the first COHS course within NexPort Campus, employees 18 years of age or older will have the opportunity to request full access to the COHS program. The COHS program allows employees to complete their high school education and an industry skills certification of their choice. Read more ...
By Dr. Rob Miller
Chief Knowledge Officer
The previous post mentioned a vision for a family of interoperable products. Further clarification of that vision seems appropriate. First, do not assume that this is a pitch for “blended learning” technologies. It is my opinion (based on more than 30 years of instructional experience) that the “B-word” has become a hackneyed aphorism for throwing instructional products on the wall and hoping they stick. To quote the late General Norman Schwarzkopf, “Hope is not a plan.” Neither is it likely to be an effective instructional approach.
By Darcy Delaney
Documentation Specialist and User Experience Specialist
NexPort Solutions, Oklahoma City
Partnership with Children's Home Society of Florida
PENSACOLA, FLA. — June 27, 2013 — Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE) announces its partnership with the Treasure Coast Division of the Children's Home Society of Florida. This partnership enables homeless youth and young adults, ages 18 to 23, to access SHCOE's leading-edge online courses through CHS's transitional living program. Headquartered in Port St. Lucie, Florida, the Treasure Coast CHS serves more than 12,000 youth and their families each year in Okeechobee, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties. The SHCOE program is available to the 150-200 young adults who participate annually in the transitional living program.
Treasure Coast CHS's transitional living clients reside in a youth transition center, located in Vero Beach, FL, where they complete their courses in an onsite learning lab. The program is also available to nonresidential clients, who can access their online courses from any computer.
By Dr. Rob Miller
Chief Knowledge Officer
NexPort Solutions has come a long way from its rather humble beginnings in 2002. Back then, it was all we could do to keep the Distributed Content Management System (DCMS) up-and-running, and meeting customer requirements. However, the insights gained through that experience proved extremely valuable as we progressed from a hybridized platform to a model-view-controller architecture. With each release, NexPort matured and the NexPort Solutions organization matured with it. The pending release of NexPort 5.0 positions NexPort for compatibility with emerging technologies (e.g., cloud-based delivery, HTML5).
About NexPort Solutions
NexPort Solutions Group is a division of Darwin Global, LLC, a systems and software engineering company that provides innovative, cost-effective training solutions and support for federal, state and local government, as well as the private sector.