He eats computer chips for breakfast; plus …

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Remember that guy in school who everyone referred to as “a brain?”
Sun Tzu Security’s Jim O’Brien is a certified whiz following his performance at a week-long certification process at Technologic, an Atlanta-based maker of computer network security systems.
In early February, the 24-year-old V.P. of information technology aced the Atlanta-based company’s practical test. Technologic makes the Interceptor firewall system, which protects private computer networks from unwanted intrusions.
In the six-year history of Technologic, O’Brien’s feat was a first, says Technologic’s Renee Landers. O’Brien actually scored higher than the engineers who developed the product.
“I don’t think he’d ever seen our product before,” Landers says. “Without being familiar with the interface, that’s pretty amazing.”
The average score on the practical part of the test was 74%. O’Brien proved that he is human, after all, on the written portion, scoring a mere 93%.
Sun Tzu is an authorized reseller of the Interceptor firewall solution.
Revenge of the nerd?
When Microsoft CEO Bill Gates visited here recently, local media coverage focused on his donation of an estimated $150,000 to Milwaukee Area Technical College’s computer lab. What wasn’t mentioned was Gates’ style, or lack thereof. For a man whose fortune has been estimated at $36 billion, Gates looked and acted the part of an understated software engineer in his rumpled blue suit, pinstriped broadcloth shirt and blue tie. The only thing that signaled this was a big-time guy was the small, but visible police presence and the Cadillac Fleetwood limo that whisked him away.
Heavy hitter
Two months ago in Small Business Times we noted that the new Midwest Express Center will weigh about 100,000 tons, according to engineering estimates.
Now, Miller Park officials tell us that the new baseball stadium will weigh about 500,000 tons, which may make it the heaviest structure in Wisconsin, equal in weight to a 50-story office tower. The tallest skyscraper in Wisconsin is the 40-story Firststar building in downtown Milwaukee.
The retractable roof alone at Miller Park will weigh about 10,000 tons, says Michael Morgan, communications manager for the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball District.
Not many other buildings approach the height of the Firstar tower. Miller Park’s height, by comparison, will be equal to a 22-story office building.
We are family
It’s not uncommon for business owners and employees to have pictures of their children on their desks or posted on the walls of their cubicles.
At Whittman-Hart, a national information technology consultancy with offices in Milwaukee, they go a step further.
Each office has a “Whittman-Hart Kid’s Wall,” displaying professionally-photographed pictures of employees’ children, notes Traci Kurtin, marketing director of the Milwaukee office. All employees with children are eligible to have a photo taken.
The Milwaukee wall has about 50 pictures, each shot by photographer Pat Goetzinger.
The pictures, says Robert Landgren, partner in charge of the Milwaukee office, reinforce the firm’s commitment to being family-friendly. Further, he notes, in an ideal world, people work because they like to. In the real world, people work to support their families; the pictures are a reminder of that reality.
“The pictures on the wall are there to remind management that there are lives outside of Whittman-Hart that we’re responsible for – such as college educations, mortgages and other financial needs of our families,” Landgren says.
The practice also gives the families an opportunity to order reprints of the photos and, Kurtin adds, bring an element of pride into the business.

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