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Resume: Ed Marshall


Resumes are the OkCupid of the working world: you describe yourself with an opening paragraph or two, and hope your call-to-action attracts the right kind of attention. :)

What I've done: I've operated two small businesses, worked for a few startups, navigated a large financial firm, a larger DOE contractor, and an even larger social media company. I've built infrastructure ranging from a handful of office machines and a bunch of cloud systems all the way past 100,000 systems spanning multiple countries, along with writing or configuring a good amount of the software running on them. I've written software in anger in a few languages now, from glue between systems to tier-0 services that can't go down.

What I'd like to do: build critical services in creative ways, make people and systems more productive through tooling and process, work with organizations that are changing the world for the better, and keep learning new things.

That last part? About learning new things? That's important.

I am also on LinkedIn, if that's more your cup of tea, and there is a printable version of this document available (that may or may not be working right now).


top ↑ employment

Work Status

I hold citizenship in both Canada and the United States, and I do not require sponsorship to work in either country.

Recent/Current Positions

Senior Operations Engineer, Twitter, Inc.
System Administrator III (Linux Administrator), Fermi National Accelerator Lab
Senior Systems Administrator, Subscribermail
Linux Administrator, Performics/DoubleClick
Senior Systems Administrator, Chicago Board of Trade
President, netlogic, Inc.
UNIX Administrator, Mercantec, Inc.
Senior UNIX Administrator, Tribune Interactive/Tribune Company
Senior Systems Engineer, XNet Information Systems, Inc./Winstar
Vice President/Treasurer, Common Internet Inc.

Older Positions


top ↑ certifications

My BrainBench transcript (#3036509) is available for viewing online at www.brainbench.com.

BrainBench Job Role Certifications

Unix System Administrator
Linux System Administrator

BrainBench Individual Certifications

Other Certifications


top ↑ education

Sun Fire High-End Server Administration Course (ES-421), Sun Educational Services
Computer Science, Brandon University
Accounting, Saskatchewan Education
High School, Fort Livingstone School
High School, Arran School

top ↑ references

References will be made available upon request for specific opportunities.


top ↑ q-and-a

I was asked a series of questions at one point in my career about my approach to certain topics, and how I felt about management in information technology; I have reproduced my answers below.

Have you ever hired anyone? What qualities do you seek?
As the owner of an Internet Service Provider, I was resposible for bringing on new employees in technical roles. I've become convinced over time that skills and experience are merely a starting point when seeking a new hire; while new skills can be taught, a solid work ethic and a personality pre-disposed to creative problem solving is much harder to come by. Give me a team of people who can think beyond their job description, and ferret out innovative solutions to the problems any business will face over time, and we can collectively achieve anything.

How can you help our company be more profitable?
I'm a stickler for the bottom line. With typical IT budgets being squeezed in response to current economic forecasts, I have a responsibilty to my company to be consistantly searching for more effective ways to perform critical tasks, finding and establishing relationships with more affordable vendors, and carefully reviewing technology spending requests that are channeled through my group to ensure that everyone is taking an equally-hard look at spending. This doesn't mean "never spend anything"; this means being frugal, and spending in such a manner as to maximize the overall benefit to the company.

How do you go about making important decisions?
Research, then debate, followed by "compassionate dictatorship". No major decision should be entered into without a solid understanding of the options involved. Those most impacted by decision must feel as though they are a part of the process, and be given a chance to interject their thoughts. Finally, an individual or a group must take all of this into account, and take ownership of the decision and it's ramifications. By ensuring that all three steps have been completed in a visible and credible manner, while you may never reach universal agreement, you will have achieved a consensus that those affected can accept.

How have your technical skills been an asset?
Having a broad set of skills to call upon has helped immensely in the past, usually to keep me from reinventing the wheel. While I specialize in UNIX and Internet technologies, having a software development education and an understanding of the business lifecycle are invaluable when making purchasing and deployment decisions. This quote sums up my feelings on the matter far better than I could state them myself:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein

Without the ability to adapt, and without a wide array of skills to draw on, you will never be an innovator.

How would you describe your philosophy about management?
There is no one answer to this question, despite the many pundits who would love to sell you a single all-encompassing approach. If a single philosophy is needed, it is this: "always remain flexible". Employees take on any number of different personality traits, all requiring slightly different approaches to help them find their most effective road. Projects within a company never fit a well-defined description; they change and improve over time, and so must those who oversee them. Budgets can change from week to week, so a competant manager will constantly strive to find the most cost-effective approach, while never compromising the integrity and vision of the company. Companies are constantly reinventing themselves; the management staff must be equally flexible if they are to lead the company to success.

Tell me something about yourself that I didn't know from reading your resume.
I'm an avid software developer and researcher. One of my pasttimes is getting involved in open source projects to "scratch an itch", and learning new languages and development methodologies. I am currently most comfortable with Python, C, Ruby, and the majority of typical UNIX "scripting" commands (sh, awk, sed, etc), and I'm comfortable navigating C++, Java, Perl, Tcl, Scheme, and few others. I'm familiar with the Agile/XP approach to the software development lifecycle, and am a strong proponent of the pair-programming and refactoring aspects of the model. I think "Design Patterns" from the "Gang of Four" was a wonderful book put to terrible uses by programmers who can't look beyond it, I understand the difference between forced-induction and naturally-aspirated engines, and I can do amazing things with a can of tuna, a pot of macaroni, and some white cheddar cheese. I've also been told that I have a somewhat odd sense of humor.

What aspects of your job do you consider most crucial?
The single most important aspect of good systems architecture and administration is planning, at both the project and technical level. Balancing time between multiple (often opposing) tasks is key, as well as being able to plan the growth and needs of your systems and users.

What do you do for fun?
You can usually find me doing a wide range of activities; playing video games, working on open source projects, camping with my wife, playing with my dogs, and scuba diving. I'm an avid hobbyist mechanic, finding new and usually expensive ways to squeeze a little more performance (along with a few broken parts) out of my car at the track. You can often find me sitting at a local bookstore in the evenings, usually with a pile of technology books and a cup of some highly-caffienated beverage.


top ↑ contact
Ed Marshall
Email: esm@logic.net
URL: http://esm.logic.net/