Kenneth John Mortenson

Contact me

Friday, July 30, 2004

Me and my wife. 

Monday, July 26, 2004

Cover Letter

To Whom It May Concern:

I'm looking to provide stability for my family. In exchange you will find a capable, friendly employee that will very often exceed your expectations.

Although I've developed and completed projects in a number of languages over the years, superior performance results when I use VB6 and SQL in a traditional client/server configuration to meet business needs... No task too small, no project too big. I'm very comfortable training and assisting other programmers as a senior developer. I relate well with people, even those that don't relate well with others. I have a keen insight into long term cost factors that are often overlooked in a major project. Generally I enjoy my work and handle pressures well.

I do expect a reasonable compensation and offer this web address as a guideline.

I'm a team player that is capable of significant performance and can work independantly to completion of objectives. A printed copy of my resume is available as well as letters of reference and awards I've collected over the years.

I hope you will consider me to be a member of your organization.

Thank you sincerely,

Ken Mortenson



Friendly, enthusiastic and productive in any task set before me.

A Client/Server Programmer-Analyst with over 20 years of documented proven performance.

SQL Server Database Architect with experience on a number of platforms.

Developer of custom ActiveX components that significantly increase productivity.

Innovative in testing and quality assurance.

20 years of data conversion experience.


Vehicle Tracker
Enterprise level fleet management. [6+ yrs. Senior Developer]

Point of Sale software
Development and installation on a number of projects

Telecommunications Geographic Information System
Contribution for FAA's TNAP

Telecommunications Network Architecture Plan
Landmark contract awarded

Automated Process Control System
Factory automation

Visual Defects Inspection System
Factory automation

Micro/Mainframe Fulfillment System
Publisher fulfillment; Sales and Service

Award Fee Evaluation System
USAF cost-plus maintenance contracting


Squarerigger Corporation June 1998 - now

"Senior Developer"

NextPOS Corp. Jul 2002 - Jul 2003

"Project Developer"

Family business operated until sold. Dec. 1992 - May 1998

Intuit for one tax season. Dec. 1997 - Apr. 1997

"QuickBooks Pro support"

Federal Aviation Administration Mar. 1990 - Nov. 1992

"GIS Analyst, A.T.C.S."

Brush Wellman, Inc. Jul. 1987 - Nov. 1989

"Software Engineer"

Programmed Computer Systems Mar. 1985 - May 1987

"Systems Integrator"

Comarco Data Services Mar. 1983 - Mar. 1985



I am an obsolete programmer. That is to say, extremely productive in application development using the tools of a client/server programmer... VB6 and SQL Server. I say obsolete because of a favorite expression of mine, "If it works, it's obsolete!" This alludes to the fact that the tools for software development change so fast (and I've been programming since high school in 1976.) It also alludes to the facts of risk assessment in that working with things that you've done in the past (even in new ways) is much less risky than attempting to use cutting edge technologies that haven't been proven by the test of time. While I'm never afraid to explore new technologies, I will not use them until I am satisfied that they can be used reliably and cost effectively.

What has not changed in all the decades that I've been working is peoples need for information which is best served by cost effective and timely development...

Timely Development

I've been involved with successful projects that were completed in five days as well as those ongoing for more than five years. Each was in it's own way timely in that it provided for users needs well in advance of their expectations. A user can not be expected to wait years for an application that is required in a few months. I have the knowledge and ability to determine at the initial stages the time required to complete a project. This is essential in making a cost benefit analysis before going ahead with the development of any project. I can also offer alternatives that can be completed in an alloted time.

Cost effective Development

Software development in terms of cost is mainly a question of the effective use of labor to produce an application meeting the users needs. Adding bodies to a project is often counter- productive. Managing a project by use of standards and establishing a framework upfront is the best way to reduce costs. It's not possible to always anticipate everything a project needs from the beginning (as the following example will show) but whatever can be done, should be done.

I've been in the position of accepting a solution to a problem that I knew was the wrong way to go. I made my best attempt to convince my boss at the time as well as a strong team of fellow programmers. It involved a late night conference call with half a dozen of us discussing the issue until well after midnight. I was alone in my position, but the 40+ manhours we lost that night was insignicant to the thousands of hours we lost in the next three years in spot fixing the intermittant troubles our customers experienced because of the solution chosen. One of the programmers that was in that discussion, after leaving the company we worked for, one day and out of the blue, apologized to me for that night and agreed that my solution would have been the better one (based on the fact that it actually would have solved the problem once and for all time where the solution they did in fact choose did not.)

Should I have kept defending my position for another 40+ manhours? Perhaps. The ethical question is how much do I protect my employers interests in the face of their opposition and determination to lose money (and worse, customer satisfaction?) My feeling is that as long as I make a good effort to support my position and present all the facts I have... I will do my best to support the final decision, and to the extent possible mitigate it's negatives, whatever they may be. In the end, the customer was still highly satisfied with the product but this came at a great opportunity cost (which is of course invisible to those lacking the intuition required to see it or alternatively having a report which makes the cost visible.)

Meeting Needs (and exceeding them)

Most people, when they think of software, mainly consider the user interface rather than the deeper underlying components of a project. This actually makes sense from their perspective. If the user interface is inconsistant and difficult to use then it's hard to justify that it actually has met the needs of the customer. So it's important in terms of ease of use to find paradigms that the user can quickly and easily understand.

However, there is a deeper level in which user needs should be met (and which the user may be much less aware of) which requires the acquired expertise of a developer to provide...

IPO in the dotcom era means 'Initial Public Offering', but for an old analyst like myself, used to stand for the archaic expression Input-Processing-Output.

It's important to acquire data (Input) as efficiently and with as little user involvement as possible.

Business logic (Processing) should be accurate and reliable, always.

Presenting the information (Output) should be flexible and meet the users needs. Actually, once data has been acquired, how it's then presented is where the opportunity exists to exceed the users expectations (often in ways that produce unexpected delight.) Well, perhaps not unexpected by me, as I've witnessed this effect many times over in twenty years of producing it!