Four and a Half Questions with Tom Ballard

Name:Tom Ballard
Position/Job Title:Software Engineer
Degree(s)/Certification(s):BA in Liberal Arts from University of Evansville
BA in Mathematics from Indiana University
LT Team Member Since:1996
Main Job Responsibility:Software Development

Tom Ballard

One : How did your career path bring you to LT?

I spent quite a few years in a large corporate MIS (management information systems) department and was tired of doing the same thing over and over. I was tired of the rigid coat and tie atmosphere. LT was small, open, flexible, and employees got to learn new things. Software developers got to do a lot of different tasks. Employees were given a responsibility and turned loose to accomplish things. There was support and guidance if it was needed, but employees got to guide their own projects. This all really appealed to me, plus I enjoyed the interview.  Phil was entertaining.

Two : What’s your favorite thing about working at LT?

Being able to have my own projects. Being able to ride my bike to work. It’s a toss-up.

Three : Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in Evansville and went to St. Benedict’s Elementary School, Memorial High School, and the University of Evansville — all on the same street within 7 blocks of each other. I worked for two years for a Civil Engineer doing surveying and drafting, then went back to school and studied mathematics at IU and also took a number of computer classes. While at IU I played guitar and sang in several bands. I am married to Marcia, who was a math teacher at Castle High, but is now retired. I have two stepsons. Brent is a principal engineer with Intel and lives in the Portland, Oregon area. Brent is married and has 3 children: Zoe is 9, Annika is 6, and Joshua is 2. Being a grandpa is fun. Our other son Ryan is a realtor in Ojai, California, which is inland from Santa Barbara. We have good places to visit!

Four : What does life look like away from the office?

I am a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and I am president of the board of directors of the Mindful Heart Buddha Sangha. I like to ride bicycles and am a member of the Evansville Bicycle Club. I volunteer for Habitat for Humanity building houses, and for The Nature Conservancy. I like to backpack and hike and camp and canoe. I like to feed and watch the birds in our yard. (Right now the hummingbirds are lots of fun). I like to read. I like music of all kinds. I sang in St. Mary’s choir for 20 years. I still play the guitar every once in a while. I like to draw and paint and make things. With my wife’s help I sewed my own backpacking tent from a kit. I like sports, particularly basketball and football, although I almost always watch the playoffs  and World Series too. Marcia and I are both from large families and there’s always some kind of family get-together going on (lots of food!) or someone needs a hand painting or moving or babysitting.

Four and a Half : What’s on your iPod?

iPod? I have actually just ordered my very first one. I have a very large music collection.  Beatles, Stones, the Who, Steely Dan, Hendrix, Dylan, Cream/Clapton, Zeppelin, Lou Reed, Yes, Neil Young, CSNY, the Kinks, Van Morrison, Springsteen, Elvis Costello, the Clash, Greenday, Bela Fleck, Bruce Cockburn, Sam Phillips, Cake, the Chieftains, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, to name a few.