Boston, Massachusetts
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Gray Watson

I have placed this document online as a CV and not as a calling card for search firms. I am not interested in moving away from Boston, MA to another part of the country at this time. I also have a plain version online without left-side navigation and some of the footer information.


I've been working as a Java/C/Unix software engineer for over 30 years with my own software projects, my own software company, and positions with universities, government, and corporations (small, medium, large, and non-profits). A core competency has been distributed systems and information retrieval – this said, I consider myself a generalist. I am an expert at high performance, distributed Unix backend systems and have extensive experience with search, database, and Internet delivered products.

I would say that I am a good manager with room to improve. I will never voluntarily relinquish all development and architecture duties and will continue to defer to others who are better in dedicated management roles – especially for larger teams that have many direct reports. That said, I consider myself to be an excellent mentor and development team lead. I continue to enjoy the art of software/systems architecture, design, and engineering with significant project leadership and mentoring.

Primary Work Experience

Achievement Network: Boston, MA – January 2014 to Present

Chief Architect for an education company whose focus is to improve the performance of under-performing charter and public schools. ANet assesses student performance to help schools track their progress and provides specific teacher and leader training to help improve their efficacy. I was hired in by the CTO to specifically address some of the the technical debt that the company has accumulated over the years of getting stuff done without the time to step back, rearchitect, and improve technologies. I've been meaning for some time to work at an education company and feel lucky to have found this position.

I converted them from a servlet to Jetty web stack, revamped their AWS instances / cloud configuration / automation, introduced code reviews, radically improved debugging and monitoring tools, introduced CI improvements, upgraded their source control and release processes, held many training sessions on different topics (JMX, multi-threading, serialization, generics, regex, etc.), significantly increased overall data and system security, and made many other code, systems, and overall software engineering knowledge improvements. Also spent a good portion of my time as a principal software engineer working on various core projects to improve their applications and systems so that the company could stay ahead of their growth and remove reliance on contractors.

Online Convergence: Waltham, MA – March 2007 to January 2014

Director of Software Engineering for an online sweepstakes and shopping web and mobile application startup. One of the initial 7 VPs and directors responsible for shaping the company and overseeing its technology and initial direction. Responsible for all backend software development and distributed database design and architecture. Managed a team of 7 developers and an integrated QA engineer who were tasked with developing a highly-available, distributed, linearly-scalable database infrastructure from the ground up in 7 months time using 100s of Java/Linux nodes and open source software components. Performed most of the system design and specification and also contributed to a significant degree as an individual contributor.

Technologies: extended network stack, custom SQL replication, multi-threaded database queries and automations, database security/performance, distributed data management/replication, custom Hibernate/JDBC drivers and query routing, distributed logging and monitoring, various cloud based services and systems to support web and mobile applications.

Iron Mountain: Framingham, MA – July 2005 to March 2007

Search Architect / Principal Software Engineer for Iron Mountain's Digital division specifically recruited into a premier internal infrastructure project tasked with storing, searching, and managing a petabyte (10^15) scale archive with billions of digital assets using commodity hardware. Responsibilities include distributed search system architecture, evaluation of component and overall system performance, as well as principal software engineering duties. Helped design and recruit other members of top development team which was incubated under semi-startup conditions to complete internal release within 14 months.

Technologies: ActiveMQ JMS, Lucene, multi-threaded custom document processing, custom query merging.

Lycos: Waltham, MA – January 1996 to June 2005

Software Architect / Principal Software Engineer for Internet search engine, consistently one of most popular Internet sites from 1996 through 2005. One of 4 engineers responsible for the initial design and development of all core Lycos Unix technology. Personally responsible for all initial backend search-engine technology. Designed, developed, and maintained Lycos Information Retrieval search engine running on high-end Unix servers. Migrated centralized systems to distributed, loosely-coupled Intel computers. Former titles include Infrastructure Engineering Architect, software engineering manager of Search Research and Development, team leader of Distributed Architecture, and Engineering Team Lead on Search New Product Initiatives. I have worked at Lycos the startup, the post-IPO excessive growth reactive organization, the merged international corporation, and then the strategic niche Internet service.

Technologies: C multi-threaded query processing, custom high-performance disk and memory sub-systems, custom network wire protocols, various custom index compression formats, performance testing and monitoring.



Extensive knowledge of:
Java, concurrency / threads, scalable high-performance distributed architectures, information retrieval, Amazon and other cloud services, software engineering practices, customized database systems, search engine optimization (SEO).
Unix/Networking knowledge:
Most unix system and network daemons, network hardware and protocols, and OS varients.

Secondary Work Experience

MAILNULL SERVICE (mailnull.com): – October 2000 to Present
Conceived, developed, and maintain a free anti-spam mail service for thousands of people on the Net. MailNull allows its users to create alternate email addresses to give to each online merchant or contact to protect their personal addresses from spam. MailNull addresses allow easy identification of the source of improper messages and they can be disabled with a click.
REMTECH SERVICES INC: Pittsburgh, PA – September to December 1995
Network engineer and consultant for the United States Bureau of Mines. Responsible for all Bureau online publications, system administration for Sun, HP, AIX Unix systems, and TCP/IP WAN operations until the bureau was disbanded in Congressional appropriations. Upgraded system security, revamped domain name service, provided national systems support assistance.
WEB COUNTER (digits.com): Pittsburgh, PA – August 1995 to 1999
Founder of what was once one of the more popular Internet services on the Net at the time. Web Counter servers handled millions of counter hits daily on over 500,000 web pages. Responsible for all technology including development of specialized multi-threaded Web and database servers which enabled a Pentium I Unix server to create 80+ realtime counter images per second.
USA ONRAMP: Pittsburgh, PA – January to September 1995
Systems consultant with startup Internet Service Provider. Responsible for initial system configuration: T1 network connection, POP mail, Usenet news, WWW, ftp, domain name-service, routing, network design, modem pool organization. Facilitated all user services, installed high speed frame connections, extensive system programming to expand product functionality.
ANTAIRE CORPORATION: Pittsburgh, PA – December 1989 to December 1994
Co-founder and CTO of small computer firm specializing in Unix software and customized database and network systems. Software operations manager, chief applications and systems programmer, technical officer for multiple projects and proposals. With business associates and small programming staff, successfully designed, implemented, and marketed nursing-home database system to facilities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Awarded and completed DARPA SBIR Phase 1&2 grants for Information Retrieval project entitled Loosely-Coupled Network Processors for Information Retrieval.
OFFICE OF BIOMEDICAL INFORMATICS: Pittsburgh, PA – March 1987 to April 1990
Systems programmer for 40 Unix computers: DEC, Sun, AT&T systems for University of Pittsburgh medical software development lab. Served 1000s of users in health center with distributed database services, including ten gigabyte (back then, this was a lot) medical periodical database and 100,000 hospital medical records.

Source Code Publications

Java Projects:

C Libraries:

Free Spam Protection   Eggnog Recipe   Android ORM   Simple Java Magic   JMX using HTTP   OAuth 2.0 Simple Example   Great Eggnog Recipe